101: One Smart Yorkie

101: One Smart Yorkie

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dog Did What?

One Smart Yorkie

The fishing was good; it was the catching that was bad.

~A.K. Best

“Okay, I got his head out of the weeds. Now keep your rod tip up and reel like crazy—don’t let him go down again.” My husband Roy instructed his daughter, Shirlene, as she attempted to land a gargantuan catfish. Another good “pump and reel” from Shirlene and the fish was at the surface, “surfing” back to the shore. George Mutt, our nine-month-old fish-loving Yorkie, could no longer contain his excitement. He jumped in the lake and swam to follow the fish in. Swimming behind the fish and snapping at its tail, George Mutt became “Lake Jaws.” Shirlene had to reel quickly to keep the fish ahead of the Yorkie on the hunt.

We all had gone to Lake Texana on a weekend campout with friends and had decided to catch our supper. We had tried bream at first, but they were too small to make a meal. So we changed our strategy to catfish and started catching them almost immediately. First, we caught a two-pound catfish. George Mutt waited on dry land and watched Roy reel in the fish. As soon as the fish hit shore, however, George jumped on him, mauling his tail. He liked fresh fish and really didn’t care if we fried his dinner first. Roy defended his catch, unhooked him and—since one fish wouldn’t feed all of us—put the fish on a stringer. He then stuck the stringer in the ground near an oak tree’s roots that extended over the lake, and threw the fish into a deep hole. George Mutt watched this process intently. Some plan was being hatched in that little doggy head—but what?

Shirlene called out—she had a second one. George, excited, ran up and down the shoreline, barking encouragement for Shirlene. She had a hard time getting it out of the lake weeds, but after a brief struggle, she landed a three-pound catfish. As it reached the shallows, George jumped in and followed it. He grabbed hold of its tail and swam in with it. “You’re gonna have to let go, Mutt,” Roy said as he unhooked the fish, pried off George and went over to the stringer. Again, George was mesmerized by the process.

The next time Shirlene called out, the rod was bent over double and she was having trouble staying on the shore. The fish was trying to free himself in the weeds at the bottom of the lake. Neither she nor her dad could turn that fish’s head to the surface with just the rod and reel. So Roy told Shirlene to hold on as he waded out to untangle the fish. About chest-deep in the lake, he reached down and extricated the fish from the log it was caught on. Then he directed his daughter to keep its head up and reel like crazy.

With some effort, she accomplished this and the fish started “surfing” back. It was then that George Mutt jumped into the lake after that fish, chomping at the fish’s tail every chance he got. This fish was a nice eight-pound catfish—almost as big as the Yorkie, who was beside himself with anticipation. He REALLY wanted THAT fish. Again, Roy pried George off the fish and strung it with the other two. When Roy put the fish back in the water this time, George continued staring at where they had gone back into the water. He was intent on doing something—but what?

I was about to call George away from the water when he put his plan in action. George picked up the stringer in his mouth and tried pulling the fish out of the water. That didn’t work, so he quickly adjusted his plans. He walked to the edge of the tree root hanging over the deep hole and picked up the stringer in his mouth. He carefully placed the stringer on top of the root and backed up to the shoreline. The fish were not out of the water yet, so he laid down the stringer on the tree root, taking meticulous care to put his full body weight on the stringer. He walked back to the water, keeping his steps on top of the stringer to hold it in place. When he got to the end, he deftly picked up the next length of stringer and backed up until he got to the shoreline a second time.

George repeated this process two more times before he got the entire stringer of fish to the surface where he could see them. Then, unable to lift the thirteen pounds of fish out of the water and drag them to land, he jumped in the hole with them, trying to bite his dinner while they were still swimming.

Roy, Shirlene and I fell on the ground laughing before we could separate George from his “catch.” Who would have ever thought George would “fish” for his dinner?

~Janice R. Edwards

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