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 The $2000 Hook

Gotta SmileNothing stirs up Americana nostalgia more then the Norman Rockwell painting of a young boy and his beagle down by their favorite summer fishing hole. However, I learned this past weekend that man’s best friend might not be his best fishing companion. Beagles and most other dogs, but especially beagles, tend to eat anything they can and they do it with lightning speed as not to be seen by their masters.

My two boys were excited down on the dock. One of them had just caught a puffer fish and it was beginning to inflate in an attempt to scare off these two curious captors. As their attention was diverted toward removing the fish from the hook, an idle rod with a fresh piece of shrimp baited on its hook laid upon the dock. It had been laid there in the boy’s excitement about 10 seconds prior. Enough time for the most mischievous of our three beagles to spring down and gobble up the bait and its hook whole in one swift movement.

Of course, it was Boomerang-Bruce. Boomerang-Bruce and his siblings had been born on an eventful Christmas morning. My wife had a fever of 104 degrees all Christmas Eve and into the morning as I delivered the litter over the duration of 10 hours. To make things interesting, a gathering of 40 friends and family members were scheduled to arrive for a Christmas dinner later that Christmas Day. Boomerang-Bruce’s birth was the start of his antics. He had been adopted by three different families, only to return in various time periods depending on the level of saintliness patience of the recipient – hence his nickname, Boomerang. However, he has now become a permanent and inseparable member of our family.

So it was with great concern that I ran to the dock toward the alarming shouts of my boys. Upon arriving, I found two gravely concerned boys holding Boomerang-Bruce who was attempting to look as innocent as a guilty dog could look with fishing line leading out of its mouth and through the eyes of the once idle fishing pole. Dang dogfish! Prying open the gluttonous, guilty dog’s mouth it was plain to see that he literally swallowed it hook, line, and sinker and there was no backing it out without major damage. A quick cut of the protruding line with my pocket knife and the dog was freed from the pole, if only he could now be thrown back, but alas, it was off to the doggie emergency room. I would have taken him to our regular veterinarian, but it was Sunday. These things always happen on weekends and holidays.

After a couple of x-rays it was apparent the hook would have to be surgically removed and quickly before the protective shrimp covering dissolved. After 45 minutes, the hook and shrimp were removed along with other past stomach ventures including a rock. I was half expecting the vet to pull out a southern license plate as well.

Boomerang-Bruce is now back at home resting and medicated to the hilt. My wallet took almost as hard of a beating. The final tally came to almost $2,000. A pricey lesson learned, fishing and dogs don’t mix. But hey, I did get my hook back and a cool x-ray image both of which are now displayed behind my tiki bar as one of my most expensive pieces!

And remember, friends don't let friends eat their fishing gear.

Posted On Monday, March 5, 2007

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