Can Your Dog Retrieve Fish?

On the opening page of the "Campfire" section in the May 2009 issue of Field & Stream, you may have noticed a photo of Hunter, the trout-retrieving springer spaniel. Hunter's mom, Jennie Trull, captured the image last summer while fishing with her husband, David. As the Trulls don't eat lake trout, David tried to revive this fish that had been gut-hooked. Unfortunately, a few minutes after release, the trout floated back to the surface. Here's where the real story begins...Jennie Trull
According to Jennie, "Hunter saw an eagle coming down for it and would have no part of that." So the dog lept over the side of the boat and returned the trout to its rightful owner. The Trulls often throw fish around the boat for the eagles, and Jennie captures photos of the pick-ups.Jennie Trull
This bird had just grabbed a perch thrown overboard by David.Jennie Trull
Though Hunter's fish-retrieving ability is remarkable as well as amusing, we recently recieved an email from reader Morgan Bradley who writes: Dog-owners should be extremely aware of the potential for near certain death to their dogs from salmon poisoning (if not treated in time). My springer spaniel was afflicted with this deadly disease last year after contacting trout (which I'd taught her to retrieve) in my favorite northwest river. Salmon poisoning, as it turns out, is a potentially fatal condition seen in dogs that eat certain types of raw fish. It's caused by a parasite called Nanophyetus salmincola. Overall, the parasite is relatively harmless. The danger occurs when the parasite itself is infected with a rickettsial organism called Neorickettsia helminthoeca. This parasite is especially prevalent in fish that run upriver from the ocean to spawn. As a warning to anyone thinking of turning their dog into a fish-retiriever, if the illness goes treated, salmon poising usually kills within 14 days of contact with raw fish.Jennie Trull
Jennie Trull
Jennie Trull
Jennie Trull
Jennie Trull