What is a ship without a dog? Not much, in my opinion. My grandfather had a fantastic dog named Gigi who was famous for her ability to spot fish deep below the surface. That dog could hold her breath for a good five minutes as she chased after those fish, she was tenacious. Oh, she wouldn't just leap into the water on a whim, my grandfather would never have put up with that. No, ol' Gigi would quietly sit beside my grandfather and gaze down at those fish as he was casting his line, still as a statue, the picture of patience. After all, you don't want your dog jumping in the drink just as that fish you've been chasing is about to finally go for the bait. Nope, Gigi would wait for the magical words "Git it!" from Pop, then she'd be after that fish faster than you could spit!
Now, Shep is as good a fishing and hunting dog as Gigi was...he just doesn't quite have the finesse that Gigi had. He lacks a little class I guess you'd say. Where Gigi would sit still as a statue, Shep tends to quake a little, shivering with excitement, barely keeping down the urge to get after whatever needs to be got. We were in South Dakota a couple years ago in the Valley of a Thousand Pheasants (beautiful spot) and I thought I'd tease old Shep a bit. We blindfolded the poor guy and led him out into the grass and told him to "Stay!". Then we whipped off the poor guy's blindfold. There poor Shep sat, surrounded by those pheasants, about to bust. He was staring right at me, waiting for me to let him at 'em. Petrus got a pretty good shot of it. When I spoke the words, there was only nine hundred and ninety-nine pheasants in that valley left.
As far as fishing goes, Shep is a "Hit 'em Hard" type of guy. He'll wait for my command just fine but as soon as he get's the go-ahead, he's after them like a bull in a china shop. He never misses though, not once.
You gotta love a ship's dog. Here's to Shep!
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