When you take your dog for a hike or a fishing adventure at most any RV park, you can be sure you’ll have a lot of attention. A lot of folks will smile and pet the pooches as they go by. A ton of their fellow canines will also greet them in one manner or another from windows and yards.
Traveling with dogs, however, is hardly a new idea. On our trip to retrace some of the Lewis and Clark trails, we need to remember that the iconic explorers had a pooch with them as well. It was probably the biggest dog to ever cross the Rockies.
Seaman, a huge Newfoundland, was an important part of their party. Not only did he serve as a good night watchman, causing alert when a bear or buffalo was getting ready to enter camp, but he also provided a huge mobile life preserver when things went to heck and a boat sunk. Bred to help fishermen, the dogs float high and dry. They also swim like a motorboat to get you to shore. Grab onto the dog means you were more than likely to survive.
Over the years I’ve seen a lot of great fishing dogs. My buddy, Tom, just lost his companion of 16 years. Sunny was a happy-go-lucky border collie. He loved to join Tom on his trips to the small brushy streams near us. If you went fishing with Tom, Sunny would travel between the fishermen, making sure everything was OK. If you lost Tom, just follow Sunny and she’d take you right to him.
I saw one fisherman on Gray’s River, who had a big shepherd and would really get involved. The dog would wade right out with his owner, and press against his leg, watching intently on every cast. The dog provided a good brace for his owner, keeping all four feet firmly on the bottom. When the angler hooked something, the dog went nuts, barking and running on the shore, making sure the other anglers pulled in their gear!
I met one fellow on a stream near here who did things a little differently. He had a nasty breed of dog who would growl every time anyone came near. That insured that the angler got plenty of space to fish. I did hear rumors that some young fishermen would deflate half of the air from the dog’s owners tires to protest against the unfriendly pooch (but I’m sure that never really happened).
Just last week I was out on the beach on the Columbia with my buddy, Mike. He has a big hairy Griffon who behaves wonderfully. He lies down next to Mike’s spare rod and his fishing gear waiting patiently. When it gets really cold, Mike takes a seat on the shore and Max cuddles up, letting Mike get his hands good and warm before he heads back out to the water.
My dogs never seem to enjoy fishing much. They love to hike and hunt all day but they just don’t have the patience. If I fish in the stream, they splash all around and howl and bark if I’m not moving every five minutes. If I put them in a boat, they act like they are doomed in the Titanic.
When fishing a big river, they find something to swim after. One day my big shorthair, Pawko, chased a flock of geese and was several hundred yards into the River before we could call him back.
During our trips we really enjoy the dogs. They seem to find pheasant and quail everywhere and are great companions. But while Lewis and Clark felt that their dog saved their bacon all the time. I’m afraid that my pooches would only eat mine.