When I arrive home after each day on the water, I am pleasantly greeted as I approach the front door. Sometimes it’s by my beautiful and loving family. But all the time, without fail, it’s by my two Labs. I have one chocolate and one yellow Lab and every day they seem to be more excited to see me than the day prior.
I have often considered taking my two dogs out on the boat with me, but after short contemplation and visualization, the sheer chaos it would be becomes apparent. It would be like a bull in a china shop, as they would repeatedly smash every rod and reel. Also, keeping Labradors out of the water is nearly impossible and dragging 80-pounds of wet dog back into the boat wouldn’t be my first choice of things to do on the lake.
So, over the years while I’m on the various different bodies of water, I have begun to notice something: everywhere we stop, there are dogs that greet me, as if they know I’m missing my own. But these are not just ordinary dogs, they are Labs and more often than not, chocolate Labs.
I started to become aware of this happening one day on the California Delta. We don’t usually stop at a marina during a day of fishing, but on this day, we were feeling parched and an ice-cold beer sounded wonderful. We pulled into the closet marina and surprisingly, it was named Bullfrog, which is quite a fitting name, as we are from Angels Camp.
There on the dock stood an old white-faced chocolate Lab. He was lying on the dock getting some rest and I felt compelled to meet him. He was a friendly old guy and as I pet him and put my arm around him, I felt as if we had been friends forever. He reminded me of my own dogs and of my long childhood friend.
A couple of years later, I found myself on Clear Lake. This lake is a bit of a drive from home and leaving my family and canine kids is never an easy thing to do. As we loaded our gear into the boat, we realized that we needed to up our supplies. We were short on gas, ice and beverages, so it was time to head to the nearest marina. We tied to the dock and as my friend began fueling, I went into the store.
I was taken back and pleasantly welcomed by another older chocolate Lab. As I approached, I felt compelled to stop and visit with him. Once again, we found an instant connection and we engaged as if we had seen each other many times before.
It’s amazing how dogs, much like the ones I have and have grown with, have a deeper sense. They can understand intention better than any human, without speaking a single word. With a certain demeanor, look or gesture, we would agree that we were meant to meet and become best friends for that moment. These brief interactions make me miss home, but have also given me the feeling of comfort when I’m away.
John Liechty is the owner of Xperience Fishing Guide Service in Angels Camp. Contact John at 743-9932.