Tuesday, February 28, 2006

As I said before, I am new to this blogging affair and hope to get better as time goes on. The below photo is of Douglas, my partner in practically everything I do. I used to work for TWRA (Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency) and was assigned to drive an eighteen foot Nitro boat powered by a 150 horsepower Mercury engine on Lakes Melton Hill and Ft. Loudoun located in East Tennessee. I made my lake runs summer and winter on a daily basis. This was a very exciting job and changed my life forever. The job was a blessing that brought me to a more complete and thorough appreciation of nature. At some point in winter out on a cold lake just after a snow squall; I had the feeling of loneliness. The intensity of the wind slackened and I became chilled to the bone. No one to talk to. No one to complain to. It would be great to have a partner. A dog would be just the ticket. Not just any dog, but a water dog. He would have to be a powerful swimmer as his exercise would be to swim in waters surrounding lake islands. He would have to have a temperment conducive to good public relations. And he would have to be smart. Golden Retriever popped into my mind. Enter Great Dog Rescue Of Knoxville. A phone call to them indicated that they had several puppies of varying ages for adoption. An appointment was made to visit a sort of puppy halfway house located in Greenback, Tennessee. The foster mom happened to own a baby clothes business named The Emperor's Nearly New Clothes. The puppy fostering was a way for the owner, Janet McKnight, to help needy dogs and puppies who found themselves homeless due to one reason or another. Janet brought out a dog named Romeo who was a darling. He was a Golden for sure, but appeared to be very sedate and a bit too laid back. He would have done just fine but she said she had another one and promptly left to get him. She came back with a beautiful young dog that came straight over to me and licked my hand. He was beautiful and I knew I had my new friend and partner. The adoption process was begun and I finally acquired Douglas. He was a quick learner. "Get in the boat". "Get in the truck." "Come." "Stay." "Sit." All those commands were quickly learned. His daily life was the deck of a boat and his exercise was running wild on the islands I would stop at or swimming in the lakes. His life was good. No traffic to put him in danger. His world was the gorgeous scenery that would pass us by as we cruised up or down the beautiful waters of East Tennessee. The green and flowered forests of Summer, the colors of autumn, and the chilly to cold gray of Winter. All these seasons were inhaled by Douglas. They were absorbed by him. He reveled in them. It was awsome to see his reactions to them. The boat would pass no creature without his inspection. The Great Blue Heron would catch his eye as it flew passed the front of the boat, the swimming deer was a temptation that I thought he wouldn't resist, but he did. And the Ring Billed Gull that dived down at him as we cut along through the water at fifty miles per hour received his undivided attention. He was in his element. There will be more about Douglas as this blog gains age. But for now I think you get the idea of what he means to me. He is not mine. I do not own him. I simply became his partner and with that a responsibility to keep him safe and to make each day of his innocent life as interesting as I can. He is a free spirit and my friend. And we have bonded. We shall have many adventures and travels together through the years and much to write about. And when the time comes for Douglas to take his final journey alone, without me, I will cradle him in my arms and gently lay his head against my shoulder until his breath is silent. My face will press softly against his muzzle and I will say farewell to my partner and friend.