Up North with Gary Talarico – May 2009

Gary Talarico is an Editor at Fish and Game Finder Magazine.  His monthly column, “Up North”, can be enjoyed by picking up a copy of this great magazine at any store that offers fishing, hunting or outdoor products, or by downloading it from their website.

I got my man dog!  If you read last months meanderings you know that my wife’s small little ball of white fur just wasn’t fulfilling my yearn for an outside companion.  It’s no fun having to watch constantly for the occasional owl or bald eagle that has mistaken your sweet lovable cotton ball for its next rabbit dinner.

So I got a 5 year old black lab, kind of a rescue dog.  I know! They shed you say.  And my wife say too!  But wait, it will be ok!  I made promises!  My new best friend’s name is Sportt.  I changed it from his given name of Spike.  He doesn’t look or act like a Spike.  He has a calm, submissive attitude with short, labby lay-down fur.  See what I mean?  My other half came up with the similar name, thought it would be easier for Sportt to adjust.  I liked it.

Now Sportt came from a non-active home setting without much in the way of manners.  Apparently, the remedial task of teaching your dog to come, sit or stay was just too much.  The good thing is both my wife and I are huge fans of ‘ol Cesar Millan, the “Dog Whisperer”.  His methods DO really work.  Sportt wasn’t getting the right diet so he is also a big lover of “Scooby snacks” and good food.  Kinda like me! Now we have this 80 pound eatin’ machine who loves to learn, especially when it involves a tasty treat.

Here’s the thing.  I had a yellow lab years ago.  Kiko turned out to be one of the best duck dogs in Northern Michigan in the eighties and early nineties thanks to my pal Danny.  I have always loved labs.  I had forgotten everything! I forgot how much they eat!  Furball eats the equivalent in dog food to the amount of peanuts I grab out of a bowl to pop in my mouth.  Sportt eats a big dog bowl of dry food lovingly laced with some dog delectable canned fare twice a day plus a goodly amount of biscuits.

You should see what Sportt leaves for me in the yard by the lilac bush to pick up, one of my promised daily chores, especially with a easterly wind.  Their HUGE!  The friend that hooked me up with Sportt wanted me to stop on the way home the day we picked up my new pal.  Sportt thanked him by leaving the biggest thank you I have ever witnessed.  I should have taken a picture. It was a two tripper when I gaggingly cleaned it up.  Sportt must have been saving that one for a special occassion.

I am about out of space for this month so I will close with this advice.  Make yourself feel better. If you have a dog, go hang out together for a while.  If you do not have one, try to get one.  You’ll live longer and happier! We’ll talk more about my promises and Sportt in next months column.