April 20, 2010
A Final Resting Place for Your Gun Dog
By David DiBenedetto
If you’re a fan of classic outdoor writing, the editors of Field & Stream have done you a favor. They’ve just posted Corey Ford’s masterpiece, “The Road to Tinkhamtown,” in its original form. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you do. It’s the story of the end for an outdoorsman who follows his former dog to a better place. Prepare to have your heart wrenched from your chest.
Reading it reminded me of another favorite from F&S, “And I Do Not Walk Alone,” by the late Bill Tarrant. Those of you who have read it probably remember this line:
I have seen men bury their dogs and not be able to stand up to leave the grave.
I’m not the first to say it, but there never has been a more true sentence. And I go weak at the knees thinking of the day that time will come for my pup. One of the hardest decisions will be where to bury her.
I scattered my last dog’s ashes on a barrier island off the South Carolina coast where we both grew up together. And as I stand there in the waves surf fishing I always spend a few minutes with Salty. I know other gun doggers who have their dog’s resting place picked out years before that final sad day.
My older brother buried his first Lab overlooking a pond where the two of them spent many a day training for field trials. He also had a headstone carved from a piece of granite. (See photo above.) It reads:
Feb. 28, 1985 – Apr. 4, 1998
A True Friend
No small amount of tears were shed when that headstone was laid in the dirt. And that is how it should be.
For now Pritchard and I are going to keep looking forward—but not that far forward. And we’ll cross that unthinkable bridge when we get to it. How about you? Have you chosen a final resting spot for you dog? Or does a past dog of yours now rest in a spot that means something to both of you?