River Bottom Beagles

Rose’s last hunt

I’m listening hard but I cant hear anything. The spruce trees are all covered in snow, big snowflakes are drifting down. It’s getting dark. And cold. I don’t think Rose is coming back.

Pete is down on the south road waiting and listening. We covered all the roads looking for tracks, two or three times. No dogs crossed the road.

I’ve been in and out of this trail it seems like ten times. Under that dang jack pine that hangs over the trail. It’s branches slide up over the windshield. I swear it’s going to pull off my wiper blades next time through.

The woods are deep to the west, she could have gone a few miles that way. Even if she is right here and something happened, I could never find her in this stuff. Me and Pete have walked all over this spot looking for her.

When I was loading dogs this morning Rose was there waiting. I was going to put her in the house. She would have cried all day. She’s about 14 now. I loaded her in the dog box too.

I guess I would rather see her disappear into the spruce trees running a hare in the snow than live a long and unhappy old age.

This spot is loaded with hare. Thick heavy spruce trees, aspen and brush when they go out the west side with thick alder and willow swamps. The dogs ran steady all day long.

Rose hasn’t hunted much the last couple years, she mostly just follows me around. I didn’t think she needed a tracking collar.

She started a hare on her own. Her voice is just as loud and pretty as ever. I heard her a couple times after that. With all these dogs running it was tough to pick her out.

When we started catching them up we hadn’t heard or seen Rose for a couple hours. Now we are trying to guess what happened to her.

I need to be going. Time to move the whole pack back down south. I would like to go visit Cody in the hospital before I go. I tried to get him to go to the woods with me Friday morning but he wanted to go black Friday shopping. He hit a patch of ice and hit the ditch at 60 miles per hour.

I was making a loop down through the pines when my cell phone rang and Lisa told me Cody had been in an accident. The kind of phone call you never want to get. I told the dogs come on and headed for the truck. I was at the hospital before the ambulance got there.

Now I’m standing in the woods wasting time waiting on an old dog that isn’t coming back when I should be going. She’s just a dog.

Watching the snow fall and thinking back, she was more than just a dog. Showed me things about running a hare that I didn’t think a dog could do. Most of our pack carries her blood.

Rose lived in the house a good share of her life. She would watch every move I made. Spent more time in the passenger seat of my old green F-150 than anyone.

When Kila brought Irene home from the hospital Rose would watch over and mother that little baby like it was her own. She even slept under the crib when Reenie was in it.

Rose ran up until she was 12 years old. Even then, she would get the front a good share of the time. Not because she was faster than the other dogs, she just didn’t make any mistakes.

Talked to Lisa. Wasn’t easy telling her. I called Pete on the radio and said lets go. Back at the farm loading dogs in the dark, Lucy and Blizzard got away into the swamp behind the house running a cottontail. They brought it up past the beagle cemetery before I could get them called out. It was a long quiet drive home.

Roger Westerberg lives across the road from the spruce trees. He sawed a lot of timber for Lisa’s dad over the years. The people that live in the next place south of Roger brought an old beagle over on Monday. They didn’t have a phone and didn’t have gas money to drive it to town. Roger said I know right where that dog belongs.

Rose is spending this week sleeping on the couch at Lisa’s folks house with Cody.


12 responses

  1. Rose is part of your family, one of you. Not just a dog. My heart was with you as I read this as my thoughts have been, often, over the last few days.

    November 28, 2012 at 9:25 am

    • Thank you Dapplegrey. It’s been a rough couple weeks but the whole family is doing well now, even Rose.

      November 28, 2012 at 4:26 pm

      • Nicholas

        Thanks for sharing that, excellent piece.

        December 15, 2012 at 4:46 am

      • Thank you Nicholas.

        December 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm

  2. houndblogger

    I can’t even describe how much I love your posts, your writing, your pictures. Wishing you and the family all the best–and a speedy recovery for Cody. If you don’t mind, I’d like to reblog this post over at Full Cry: A Hound Blog. It’s just the most beautiful thing I’ve read all year.

    November 28, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    • Thank you for the kind words Houndblogger. Please feel free to share any of this how ever you like. I enjoy your blog a lot also and would be flattered to be a part of it.

      November 28, 2012 at 4:32 pm

      • houndblogger

        Thanks so much! I’ll let you know when it’s up. Many thanks for all of your posts.

        November 28, 2012 at 11:50 pm

  3. Pingback: Rose’s last hunt | Full Cry: A Hound Blog

  4. houndblogger

    I’ve posted it! Can’t wait to read your next one.

    November 29, 2012 at 12:52 am

  5. What a beautiful old girl!

    January 25, 2013 at 6:09 am

    • Thank you Sylvie. Rose is enjoying her retirement although she still begs to go with hunting.

      January 25, 2013 at 2:13 pm

  6. We lost Jenny, our wonderful black lab, and this reminded me of her. Thanks.

    June 5, 2014 at 5:39 pm

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