Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dog Named Blitz, Chapter 1, Part 2

For background on this serial, please click here.

For those that missed it, you can start at Chapter 1, Part 1

The memory was clear as it if it had happened yesterday. We stood there in the cold wind, taking it all in.

Next stop was to an old, reliable spot for holding birds. "Wood Island" is a small patch of trees and cover just off the driveway to the property. Measuring about 30 yards by 40 years, it is the one place where there always seems to be a bird lurking. It had paid off consistently for Blitz and me, and I wanted to see if it would again for old time's sake.

We were experiencing a big south wind, so our approach would be from the north. I pulled the truck into position, and wondered if we would be so lucky as to flush a bird from this honey-hole one last time.

I stepped as quietly as I possibly could, but the snow was firmly crusted, and crunched under my feet. My pace was slow but deliberate, with my goal being to drive through the middle and hopefully flush a bird from the south end. As I approached the cover I noticed a wealth of pheasant tracks, and I smiled broadly. It was good to see such great sign here in the dead of winter, as it meant the birds were surviving well.

I wasn't but two steps into the cover when the big rooster exploded about 10 yards ahead of me. "Thanks buddy!" I said aloud, half sarcastic for being scared to death by the sudden activity, but completely appreciative for one last flush for Blitz.

We turned and departed for the last stop. We were headed to "Gucci Point," a dry land point that nearly bisects the lake on which we hunt, and a favored hunting spot for all of us. It was named by one of the partners because, as it was configured. you could walk out to it and hunt in your finest footwear and not have to worry about them getting muddy or wet. For a duck hunter, while we'd likely never hunt in our Cole Hahn's, it was nice knowing we could if we ever needed to do so.

The point stretches for nearly 200 yards, and the snow drifts caused by the cattails made our going slow. The exposure to the south wind stung my face, and I tried to shield it from the direct blow. As I marched slowly toward the end of the point, I was comforted my the weight that nestled in the small of my back in the game pouch of my hunting vest.

We finally arrived at the end of the point, and I turned my back on the cold wind. I reached into my game vest, and pulled out a velvet bag with the words "We'll Meet at the Rainbow Bridge" written on it. I could no longer hold it, and like so many times in the months prior, I stood there and allowed the lump in my throat to develop into a full blown cry.

For the first time I opened the velvet bag to glimpse Blitz's ashes. They were packaged in a clear plastic bag material. While I was taken aback by the lack of dignity with the configuration, there was utility, and that made sense to me. I slowly tore at the plastic, exposing the last earthy remains of the dog I loved do much to the elements.

I thought of all of the time her and I shared on this ground. I thought about our last hunt together here on my 40th birthday, and how that day went from one of sorrow to unmitigated joy. I also thought about hunts to come. "Blitz," I said aloud, "I'll be down here a lot with you. Keep watch for me, girl." And with that I flung her ashes high into the winter air.

The strong south wind caught the ashes and deposited them onto the snow in the north, which created a beautiful grey design on top of the snow. I stood there and thought about Blitz, my dad, and why I got a dog in the first place.

"I miss you so much!" I sobbed out loud, alone, in the frigid morning air.

Go to the next chapter


  1. Hey, what gives. Thanks for making me cry at the office, again. If I wanted to read a sad dog story I would re-read "Old Yeller".

    How about picking up the story line with recalling incredible shots made by your hunting partner, best terminal beverages, great Boston songs to not wake up to, etc.


  2. Couldn't we had a few more happy stories before you blindsided me like a pheasant perched on a tree limb???

  3. Yeah, a tear did enter the corner of my eye when I read this as I think of my Kaya that I had to put down a few years ago but it also made me think of the great hunts we had together. Sometimes we need to feel sadness to realize how lucky we are to know such a great animal.

    My new hunting partner Marlee (yes both were yellow patrol partners) bagged 39 roosters last year in MN & SDAK. While this is not a feat Kaya ever achieved the love for my first dog will never be equaled again.

    Yellow Patrol partners live forever...

  4. Keith, thanks for the kind words and for stopping by. All the best to you and Marlee this year. I spent most of the day up at our farm, and conditions look really good for a great pheasant year again in MN this year.


Please feel free to include any thoughts you may have. Know, however, that kiddos might be reading this, so please keep the adult language to yourself. I know, for me to ask that language is clean is a stretch...