It's a Saturday afternoon and a beautiful day outside. I am home for a fall visit complete with games, pumpkin beer, and relatives. Before company arrives, I have a spontaneous urge to head down the road to the creek where I learned how to fly fish. Recent rains have the water levels up for the first time since late Spring, and I haven't fished it since then. It being a short jaunt, I decide to take one of my two dogs, Riley. A female chocolate lab at about 60 pounds, she constantly plays second fiddle to her much larger sister, Sophie. Supremely loyal and obedient, she is following me around the house, sitting at attention, and usually just staring. Yellow eyes piercing into mine, I can't help but wonder what she is thinking, but I am sure it has something to do with playing fetch. It always does. I could tell she was anticipating something as I headed to my room to grab a pair of shoes.
Master, where are you going? To the bedroom? Please get a ball? A ball, a ball, a ball. Fetch time! He's reaching for his SHOES! Put them on! Put them on!. He's putting on his shoes!!! I'm going outside, I can't believe I'm going outside! I am so freakin' happy right now! Where are we going, Master? Where are we going?!
Riley is catapulting up and down in the air crying out in joy. Following me around all the time, she has become conditioned to react to my every move. It is somewhat annoying, but I can't help but find it utterly amusing. In this case, a pair of socks, shoes, and a jacket and she knows exactly what is about to happen. However, whenever I am about to leave and head back to Delaware she somehow knows that she isn't going along and lays down, staring into my soul. She lays a terrible guilt trip. We head to the door and I tell Sophie to stay and Riley cocks her head to the side, ears perked up, wondering what the hell just happened.
What? I can go and she can stay? Are you sure? Sophie is going to be sooooooo mad at me. Wait, really? Sweet! This never happens, I'm going SWWIMMINGGGG!!!! Screw you Sophie. HAHAHAHAHA.
Riley's demeanor completely changes once Sophie isn't around. Freed from the dominance, she literally prances down to the car with her head held high, enjoying the moment and the freedom. She knows the drill and patiently waits for me to gear up. On the road, she has her head out the window, ears flapping in the wind taking it all in. We hit the stream and she immediately heads down to the path sniffing and smelling everything she can. A few times she gets caught up on the scent and has to be reminded to come along but for the most part she never gets more than 25 yards away.
Oh boy! So many smells... Where do I go, what do I pee on? Have to mark my territory before Sophie takes it all. What kind of animal made that pile? Wait, where is Master? Stop, point, there he is! Hurry the hell up dude, I hear water!
The trail is already covered in leaves, a solid mix of yellows, oranges, reds, and browns. Above a canopy of green and the aforementioned fall colors breaks up the sunlight coming in over the hill. I break off the path and down to the stream bank where I find Riley already waiting for me. She gives me a look and begins to head into the water and I tell her NO!
WHAT?! No? Are you freaking kidding me? I thought I was going swimming. Wait a second, you brought that thing didn't you? Stupid fly fishing.... Not this again. Where's a stick?
Riley takes up position along the bank as I begin fishing the first hole. She wants to jump in so bad but thus far is obedient. I surprisingly don't catch a trout on my first cast, Riley must have spooked them jumping around on the bank. Nonetheless, I take a few more casts sensing Riley's frustration at my side.
Alright master, I think its my turn now. Another cast? Really? You suck. Your not going to catch anything! Water feels so good right now. I need a bath! Thats it, I don't care anymore. BANZAIIIIII!
Before I can thoroughly fish the hole, Riley is hurtling herself through the air and swimming to the other side. I can't really yell because she was being so good and gave me a chance to get a few casts in. I head up to the next hole, where I hook into the first wild brown of the jaunt, but Riley doesn't seem to care all that much. She was never really into fish, just water and sticks. It doesn't help that she has zero object permanence.
Thats a fish? Paaaaaathetic. I found a stick and it's four times the size of that thing. Wait a second, where did it go? Oh there it is. Where did it go? I thought you caught one. Look master a stick! Throw it! I'll go get it and then you can throw it again! Hellooooo?? Are you paying any attention to me? Fetch!
I fish two more holes and catch some fish but it's no where near the amount I usually do. I give in and start the endless game of fetch with Riley. I let her have a go at the deepest part of the creek and kept throwing the stick downstream. Sometimes it would drift away leaving her confused but most of the time, she swam all the way back upstream to drop it at my feet. More often than not, she spooked everything in sight, but I didn't really mind. I had company, the absolute best kind of company.
Man's best friend.