July 2021 - 46

WILD COUNTRY DISPATCH
Pete
L
Story by Tom Reed | Illustration by L. Eslick
et us first establish
that Pete was born
unique. He opened
his puppy eyes to
the fuzzy faces and back ends
of his kindred, yet his view was
unimpeded by hair of his own.
Pete was a smooth pup in a
field of thatch - a recessive
wirehair without the hair but
all the wire and then some.
Hard-wired one might say.
His new owner, a friend who was at the
time doing a stint guarding an embassy somewhere
in Afghanistan on a contract from
the United States government, was urged to
never breed him, a plea to which my pal complied.
The girlfriend stateside watched the
pup while my friend did his time - bored
out of his mind in a desert building fly rods,
dreaming of bugling elk and thinking Pete
might be a bird dog if he ever became a bird
hunter. The American West was all headspace
and concept. Occasionally, my pal would
hop in a convoy and follow a high-ranking
someone somewhere. Then he flew back to
the high plains and big mountains where
he belonged.
Life has its twists and turns, and my
buddy came home to a young Pete and a
girlfriend who became his wife. The dreams
of bugling elk were realized and the fly rods
were wiped clean of Afghanistan sand and
bent on Rocky Mountain rainbow trout. Pete
tore across pastures and busted skylines but
46 | July 2021
somehow the bird hunting never became
reality. Instead, Pete became a ranch dog.
No one told Pete he should have been born
a blue heeler instead of a smooth wirehair.
Pete jumped right into ranch life which is
a mixture of hard work and what some -
including myself - would call good fun.
Like you get paid to ride four wheelers, drive
pickups, shoot gophers, play in the water. Set
aside all the other hard stuff. Pete had fun.
There were Huns and pheasants on the place
my amigo managed and it's likely old Pete got
into a few. Somewhere in there, Pete put it
together that he was a gopher dog. You'd see
him out there on the skyline, hard on point,
a gopher 20 feet away chirping his alarm and
Pete frozen as if pinning down the biggest
cock rooster in all the realm and saying, " Get
the hell up here, boss. "
You'd go back to irrigating and look back
up and there was old Pete, frozen on point
but somehow 15 feet closer to the chirping
gopher, and the next thing you knew here he
came carrying a dead gopher and dropping
it at my buddy's feet. Maybe Pete was taking
revenge on all the world's gophers for the time
he got his butt kicked by a gopher as a pup.
Pete used up the first of his many lives
when he ate a poisoned gopher. Pete recovered
from that one, only to try a gopher-popper
on the neighbor's poisoned field yet again.
Life No. 2. Felis catus has nothing on Peteus
Smooth Wirehairus.
Between pointing, sneaking and killing
gophers, Pete galloped out on cattle roundups,
too far ahead to be much of a cow dog, but
out there anyway and without a whole lot
of street-sense. Life No. 3 was beneath the
tires of a stock trailer pulled behind a pickup
truck. Recovery. Life No. 4 was beneath the
frame of a four-wheeler chasing a calf back
to his momma. Life No. 5 was beneath the
hooves of maybe that same momma cow.
Did I mention a mutual good friend of ours
is also a veterinarian?
Life moved on and my pal and his lovely

July 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of July 2021

July 2021 - 1
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July 2021 - 48
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