An old fan of Jim Ramberg’s columns emailed me recently to fulfill a longtime goal.
“My wife and I moved to Topeka in 1982, and being a bird hunter and coming from a family that raised pointing dogs, I immediately got hooked on Jim’s Dog of the Year Contest,” said Jay Waechter, who submitted his nearly 12-year-old dog, Karma. “I had always wanted to submit one of my dogs but never had the time. Well, now I do, so here goes.”
Karma isn’t a typical pointer, though. For one, she’s a Dachshund.
Waechter said his little buddy loves to hunt rabbits and squirrels.
“However, that is not her super power,” he teased. “Karma has grown up and lived her life in canoes and kayaks. That’s nothing new because our Dachshund before her did the same thing. What’s different about Karma is the way she rides.”
In a pair of photographs he submitted with the email, Karma can be seen standing on the front end of the boat, scouring the waters.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s hot, cold or windy. If you are running rapids or floating in dead-still water, this is how she rides.”
Naturally, this has led to some frustration between Karma and her owners.
“She has been bounced out of the boat while bumping rocks and logs in swift current,” he said. “She has been flipped out of the boat when hit by big wakes or sudden change of direction. She even stood steadfast when my wife and I thought we were taking a leisurely paddle around Topeka on the Kansas River. All of a sudden a storm popped up and we had to paddle the last few miles into a gusty headwind. It seemed like it was raining because of the spray from the chop.”
But how does that relate to a super power, you might be asking.
Well, after enduring several years of frustration, chastising, trying to train her, building comfortable accommodations in the bottom of the boat and even leaving her at home, one day “it finally all came into perspective.”
“On a gorgeous October day a few years back, we were heading out from the boat ramp at Lake Shawnee,” he wrote. “As we paddled out, two older fellows in a john boat were trolling in from a morning’s fishing trip. As we slowly approached one another, the guy in the front of the boat said, ‘Man, I’ve always wanted one of those.’
“My wife and I, thinking he meant a Dachshund, smiled as we paddled by. As we just got past them, we heard him say, ‘If we had one of those Bass Pointers our fishing trips would be a lot more successful!’
“So there it was,” he added. “That’s what’s she had been doing this whole time! I finally had another pointing dog!”
I must say, I’m a jealous man. I have a hard enough time finding my fishing pole some days, let alone the actual fish. A Bass Pointer might be just what I need. I congratulate you on your success, Jay, and I also hope you’ve got many years on the water left with your fishing dog.
To submit your dog, cat, horse or other favorite animal for the Critter of the Year contest, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your critter’s name, breed (or species), photo and a good story about it. Don’t forget your own name and city of residence.