I was sitting at a table in Bruno’s drinking one of their top one hundred beers. I had just finished a great bowl of soup and a crusty roll. I was missing my wife and my dog . . . or perhaps I was missing my dog and my wife. The priority was a little hazy. I cast my far-away look at the next table only to see an older version of myself with a far-away look in his eyes. “Are you okay?” “Oh, yeah,” he said, “I was just thinking about my dog.” “Lose him?” “Yes,”said the old man,”he died a couple months ago.”
Soon we were at the same table ordering more beer and strudels. We talked about dogs. It turned out we were both Labrador retriever lovers. More than that, it turned out we had both bought dogs from Circle B Ranch in Graham. Our dogs might well have been related. Possibly, we thought that might even make me and the old guy brothers-in-paw. It seemed funny at the time. The old guy told his story first.
“I caught my dog burying bumble bees. He would come into the garden and dig a little hole under a large Rhododendron and then out of his mouth he dropped a bumble bee into the hole. After covering the bee, he tamped it down. I saw him do this repeatedly. Perhaps, he was trying to grow honey, but I really think he had been stung once and once was enough, so he was practicing “catch and release.” But when he released, they were done for.”
Well, as they say, first liar doesn’t stand a chance. I told him my story.
A number of years ago, a business associate had an old farm out towards the mountain. He invited me and my wife, and Burger Boy to stay for a few days, while he and his wife were visiting in the mid-west. Burger Boy was our chocolate Labrador retriever. Even though we had a large yard in Steilacoom, he didn’t get a lot of opportunity to run. The old farm wasn’t a working farm, so we had nothing to do but relax and take Burger Boy for a run. The second day there we ran into a young teenager wearing an extra large army field jacket and carrying a .22 rifle. We talked briefly and then in mid-sentence he brought this rifle up to his shoulder and fired. Fifty feet away a good-sized rabbit dropped in his tracks. Burger Boy took off immediately and snatched up the rabbit, retrieved it and dropped it at my feet. The young kid picked it up and stuck into one of the big pockets of his field jacket. We wished him well and continued on our walk and then headed back to the farm. My wife and I were talking about nothing in particular when we noticed that Burger Boy was nowhere around. Off to our left was a gravel road and we could see a moving cloud of dust coming our way. We intersected the road in time to meet Burger Boy dragging a rabbit filled field jacket. He must have felt that the rabbit was his. We had no idea where the teenager was, but we tracked back to his home. The kid walked out to meet us. I apologized and said, “At first I thought he might have pulled the jacket off you.” The kid just laughed and said, “No. He pulled it off a peg. I wasn’t worried, though. He left a note.”
Labradors are great dogs and so intelligent. Both the old guy and I left Bruno’s laughing and in better spirits.