Parting with a family friend

Feb. 02, 2013 @ 09:59 PM

It is with a heavy heart and much sadness that I tell you Susan and I lost our beloved friend and fishing companion this week.

Fred, our little 9-pound Maltese dog, had been very sick lately. We lost him this past Sunday after struggling with him through declining health for several months.

Fred was the best dog I have ever known in my life, and I have known a lot of good ones. He was the sweetest little man, and never displayed one ounce of aggression toward anything but a cat or a squirrel (he hated them both).

Besides being the best companion we could ever have asked for, he actually saved Susan’s life more than once when he revived her from an insulin coma while she was with him alone.

Fred slept with us every night for almost 12 years. He would always cuddle up around the top of Susan’s head on her pillow.

When we first got Fred I happened to awaken slightly one night. As I had often done before, I reached over to rub Susan’s head as she slept.

Half asleep, I was startled to feel what seemed to be two small lumps on Susan’s head.  Switching the light on I realized that the two lumps I had been holding were not tumors on Susan’s head at all, but were actually body parts on Fred that, well let’s just say they’re the man parts that the doctor cradles when he asks a man to turn his head and cough.

Fred and I had a special relationship from that night on (no, not that special) and I have cried many tears this week as I adjust to not having him around.

That first day home from work was tough on us both as we came into an empty house at a time of day when we were so used to getting the love a dog gives it master when seeing them after an absence.

We were blessed to have Fred in our lives for these 12 years. Goodbye Fred.  We had a good friend (one of Fred’s veterinary technicians) who gave birth to a beautiful baby boy at almost the exact same time we lost Fred. Where one life passes another begins.

On a lighter note, the Fifth Ice Bowl Catfish Tournament held last Saturday was won by the team captained by Shane Farrar, whose partner caught the winning fish weighing over 38 pounds.

Despite weather conditions that saw extremely slick roads from the ice storm and temperatures that barely rose above freezing, 53 teams comprised of 125 fishermen (and a few women and some children) competed for the top prizes.

Chris Bullock, tournament organizer, spread nearly 400 pounds of rock salt over the Occoneechee ramp in Clarksville to melt the ice so anglers could safely launch their boats.

North Carolina lost the challenge again as the Virginia teams won the overall competition for the fifth year in a row by 32.5 pounds.

Our state is closing the gap each year though, and at this rate should soon overtake the Virginia crowd.

It was a great turnout and there were lots of door prizes, including some gift certificates from Vanco Outdoor. Go ahead and mark your calendar for next year’s event. For more information on this year’s results and to watch for announcements on next year’s tournament, go to www.kerrcrappieandcats.com.

Kerr Lake fishing report – Catfish are biting.  The water has dropped 4 feet in a little over a week, and now stands at or above normal levels for this time of year.

Next week’s report – Kerr Lake striper and bass fishing report.

Tip of the week — See Robert at Roberts Airbrush on Highway 39 South just outside Henderson to get your fishing luers (an alternative spelling) the painted custom colors that you desire.  Just don’t ask him to paint any the special colors that he did for me recently. 

Contact the writer by email at waltbowen@yahoo.com, on Facebook under Walt Bowen, and on twitter at @WaltBowen.