Best-ever dog poem, dog update

According to the Chinese I was born in the Year of the Dog. Can’t argue that fact, since canines have been a vital part of my life since before I can remember. I’ve played with them, trained them, hunted with them, cherished them and mourned them.

And I’ve written much about them and read even more.

By far, the best I’ve heard or read comes from an unlikely source. It’s a poem actor Jimmy Stewart wrote and read aloud on The Tonight Show in 1981. It’s about his dog, Beau, and is more touching and masterful than anything I could write in ten lifetimes.


Hank, with the last bird of duck season. It was a big, drake pintail.

OK, speaking of dogs on Jan. 27 I ran a column about Hank, my aging Labrador Retriever. Here are a few more details.

– The story mentioned we’d do a hunt on a favored wetland the last day of duck season. We did, and the hunting was fair with three of us shooting ten. The last bird of the season, which I shot and Hank retrieved, was a stunning drake pintail. If a season has to end, that’s a good duck to end it on.

– Unlike the story predicted, we did not make it out the last two days of upland bird season for pheasants, quail and turkeys. I had to head to Austin to help our daughter, Lindsey,  with her sweet Australian Shepherd, who had been badly mauled by a pit bull at a dog-friendly restaurant last Sunday. Lady Bird will, thankfully, be fine and narrowly missed being a fatality. The man who brought the pit bull to the place crowded with dogs, and where the scent of food filled the air, did so even though the rescue shelter, Austin Pets Alive, had warned him the pit bull had problems dealing with other dogs.

– Hank and I will probably make a trip or two to a shooting preserve for a few pheasants. He’s also never retrieved a chukar, so I may buy a few of those to see what he thinks, too. Hopefully we’ll make it out a time or three before goose season ends next Sunday.

–Oh, about he photo we ran last Sunday of Hank looking skyward… He wasn’t watching ducks pass overhead. Instead, he was staring at the hand of a nine-year-old boy, Brett Wiggers, who was waving a piece of jerky in the air. Where Brett’s hand went, so did the dog’s gaze. Hank’s as addicted to venison jerky as he is fetching turkeys.