Blue River Fly Classic

Blue River Fly Classic
A One Pattern Fly Event

Monday, January 21, 2008

Every Dog Has His Day

He was born on Christmas day 1999 and instantly became my constant companion. Being a solid black miniature poodle the name Smokey just seem to fit and so he was so named.

The following year I decided to start taking him to Blue River with me because I have always believed that all dogs, regardless of their breed, inherently love the outdoors. Smokey was no exception.

It didn't seem to matter where I waded in the river, Smokey was always right behind me usually struggling against the current. He was never groomed as a poodle but was kept full and his thick curly hair collected a lot of water that simply caused him problems in the river's current. More than once, I had to dive almost face first into the river to assist the little beggar.

In 2002, Smokey started giving the weekly Trout Scout report on Silly thing actually, a poodle giving a fishing report, but the visitors to the website seemed to get a big kick out of it and it brought a degree of celebrity to Smokey's life. These days when Smokey goes to Blue with me someone will walk by and say "Hey look, it's Smokey the trout scout". And of course as all dogs do, Smokey laps up the extra attention from the folks.

About a month ago I begin to notice some changes in Smokey. We have a daily ritual of me offering a tidbit of people food from my hand and Smokey started struggling to find the offering right in front of his eyes. Then, in my fly tying room I have a foot stool next to my chair and each time I tie Smokey is on the foot stool. He has become unable to estimate the distance from the floor to the stool and now requires assistance. My initial fear was that he was losing his eyesight.

About two weeks ago I took Smokey to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area for a walk. He loves his walks. We had been there less than a minute and that's when Smokey ran head-first into the trunk of a rather large oak tree. That experience pretty much confirmed to me that Smokey is going blind, and the veterinarian has further confirmed this sad fact.

Dogs have always played a profound part in my life. Seems like I have always had a dog. There has been Black Labs, Irish Setters, Black and Tans, Blue Ticks, Beagles, and on and on. All of my previous companions were good friends but none to the degree Smokey has been.

Yes, dogs have been important to me. In college I was a good student but in junior high and high school I was terrible. My mind was always somewhere else, probably Rock Creek since it ran right by the school system. I only read two books completely through junior and high school and they were both about dogs. One was "Big Red" and the other "Weep No More My Lady".

I know that this will be Smokey's last season of Rainbows for he will no longer be able to go. It will be my job now to guide him through life in the days that remain. The fishing report he does may stay up because it's a vicarious thing anyhow and can be done by an alter-ego.

I plan on taking Smokey to Blue River one more time this season. We won't go to fly-fish because it will simply be his day and every dog has his day.

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