Having been a long time dog owner, no longer, watching Jennifer and Cody with theirs has been a lot of fun. Rather hoping grandchildren will be much the same. Where I get the opportunity to enjoy them, and send them home after they’ve been adequately spoiled.
Jen and Cody’s dogs are large, working breeds. Gunner’s a husky/Mountain Burnese mix, Chewy (short for Chewbacca) is pure Mountain Burnese. At eighteen months Chewy still has plenty of puppy ways about him, making him a bit of a handful at times. What does this have to do with fishing? Both are excellent sled dogs, making toting gear out on the ice a pleasure.
On our first outing with Chewy, we discovered he has a strong interest in fish. Letting him sniff and steal a lick did little to sate his curiosity. He wanted to investigate every fish caught, and when they were released he pawed at the hole. As the day wore on, he even took to barking at me every time I released my fish, apparently upset that he wasn’t able to get his “sniff and lick” in.
Our second outing was last Sunday at Loveland Lake, where Cody and I decided to brave the bitter cold weather for a couple hours, figuring warmer spots were close when needed. Cody brought the dogs along, not so much because we needed them, but to work with them on pulling the sleds.
Recognizing that not all enjoy the dogs as much as we do, we set up a fair distance from others. And in truth, I rarely care to fish with the “crowd” when on the ice. While I start the holes, Cody sets a couple anchors to tie the dogs off to, such that they can almost reach the holes, and are able to visit with each other. Towels with a waterproof bottom are laid out for them to get off the cold, wet ice.
Fishing was slow. After moving a few times, I finally managed a nice perch which I tossed on the ice as we were hoping to secure dinner. Not too long after that the dogs, being dogs, managed to get themselves fully tangled. In the process of untangling them Cody freed Chewy, rather than untying the tethers from the stakes.
Now Chewy has “always” come when called, while Gunner is a crap shoot, somedays yea, others nae. So Cody figured once he’d untangled Gunner from the rope, he’d call in Chewy and get back to fishing. Chewy, however, had another idea. Did I mention that Chewy is a chowhound and if it resembles food, he’s going to eat it or at least try.
Once free Chew made a bee-line for the fish before anyone could react. He barely broke stride as he picked up the perch and headed toward mid-lake. Calling stopped him, but didn’t bring him in. At this point Chewy decided to play the game of keep-a-way with us, as he does at home with bones and toys. No way was he going to relinquish his prize. Chasing him down was out of the question, so we just had to wait him out.
Perch sushi was to his liking and in short order Chewy munched down the entire perch. Nary a morsel was left for the birds and then he proceeded to investigate every nearby hole in hopes of finding another. Fortunately, we had set up far enough away from other parties that he didn’t take his thieving ways aboard. Finally, we managed to collar him by coaxing him in with a water bottle, an item he thinks is a toy and loves to shred whenever he can get his mouth around one.
During this entire time Cody was mildly frustrated. And me? Well, I couldn’t stop laughing. I've been there, done that so many times before. We now know that Chewy likes sushi, the fresher, the better. And life’s lesson is simple. No matter how well behaved dogs (children too) are, sooner or later, they will do something unexpected.