When I pulled in the driveway, there were puppies running around the house. There were yellow puppies and black puppies, and laying in the shade was the momma dog.
Kat greeted me and told me there were two yellow and two black pups that hadn't been claimed. They were only 5 weeks old, so the whole litter was still running around. I expressed interest in a yellow male, but before I could even finish my sentence, a tiny little bundle of whitish - yellow fluff and skin jumped on my leg. I picked him up. "Is this guy looking for a home?", I asked Kat. "I think he just found one," was her response.
He squirmed around in my hands as I lifted him over my head. He licked my face as I brought him closer. When I set him down, he did figure eights around my legs before running over to play with his siblings.
|Trout's first day at home was a tiring one.|
|He was a little guy.|
Trout came home a few weeks later. He was a day shy of being eight weeks old. He was my buddy. Within a few weeks, he went on his first fishing trip. I had to carry him pretty much the whole time, but when we got to the river, he was curious and when he wasn't passed out while wrapped up in my blanket, he was busy getting used to his life as an angler dog. He went for a quick swim in the cold water of the Ellis River. My hands held his little shaking body as his legs kicked. He was going to be a great swimmer.
|Nome and Trout taking a break from fishing.|
Trout spent a lot of time with me on the road. By the time he was a year old, he had logged some serious miles. He loved sticking his head out of the window with his ears flapping and his nose twitching with all of the smells that Northern New England had to offer. We took a ride out to Colorado and when we arrived in Summit County I found a big dirt lot and threw a stick for him to chase. He was felling the lack of oxygen one might expect at 9000 feet just as much as I was. He got the stick, but he walked after it. That was a short game of fetch.
|I'm sure we were heading out to go fishing.|
Fishing with Trout was sometime a real pain in the ass. He loved swimming so much that he would follow me into the river. If I was past knee deep, he would swim in a circle around me as I was fishing. When I landed a fish, he was always there to bark at it and sniff it. He never hurt the fish, just wanted to say hello. They had the same name.
Trout died on January 5, 2010. He became extremely ill on New Years and the vet told me that even with successful surgery, he would live a painful life. That morning I sat with him as he passed. I held his paw and he winked at me before closing his eyes that one last time. He was less than two years old.
His collar hangs in my car. Every bump in the road jingles his tags and I think of all of the miles I went with him at my side. His photo hangs on the wall in our cabin. He will forever be my best buddy and the lead dog of my fly fishing family.
|Trout on the bank of the Saco behind Stephen's house.|