July 2021 - 47

wife had a beautiful baby girl, and another
and then another. They went from one ranch
to a higher-country ranch that didn't have
rattlesnakes (Pete's life No. 6 was a snake bite
to the snout while frozen on point of said
snake). While my buddy killed many big,
beautiful elk or mule deer with rifle and bow,
and caught many trout on fly rod and reel, he
never took up shotgunning for birds. So Pete
kept on being the most unique bird dog in
all the land, pointing his snakes and gophers
and living the ranch life.
One fine, fall morning Pete hopped into
the pickup and accompanied our ranch friend
to the high-country pines where dead lodgepole
after dead lodgepole was felled by an
ex-sniper wielding a chainsaw. Along came
Pete when an especially big lodgepole was
yielding to gravity in the cracking, popping
boom of falling timber that you only have to
hear once. Pete somehow didn't hear it and the
tree centered him squarely. Life No. 7. Our
animal doctor comrade thought Pete might
never walk again, but in a couple of weeks
he was staggering around weak-legged but
game as heck, moving like a 90-year-old on
a walker - but without the walker.
A year or two passed. Pete somehow made
it into old dog-dom with plenty of gray and
lots of wobble, but the hard-wire still in his
heart. The other day, my homie came by to
help me install a wood burner in my shop on
the farm and Pete came along with a couple
of his little girls. They know me as " Buddy. "
First thing Pete did was turn over a trashcan
full of two week old Chinese take-out and
various detritus of country living. Pete ate it
all up, including the aluminum foil on the
leftover egg rolls.
While we were in the crux move of attaching
the chimney pipe brace, my pal's little girls
came running over with some news: " Buddy.
Buddy. Pete killed one of your turkeys!!! "
We don't have turkeys, but we do own
five of the stupidest birds on the planet to
help with grasshopper control on our organic
farm, guinea fowl. Turns out old Pete, all of
12 or 13, somehow found the steam to point,
creep and pounce on one of the guinea hens.
We ran over and here was Pete, wagging his
tail to beat the band and delivering a stilllive,
but seriously wounded guinea hen to
hand - happy and doing his job as he saw
it. The guinea didn't make it and Pete got a
whuppin' but for a moment there, the birddog-who-never-was
thought he was in tall
cotton. Maybe a bit hard-mouthed, but hey,
it was a retrieve.
Something tells me old Pete would have
been one hell of a bird dog.
- Tom Reed is a sometime farmworker at Good Mama
Farm, www.goodmamafarm.com , an occasional bird
hunter and an amused observer of all things canine. His
books can be purchased in the Game and Fish Store.
- Lori Eslick is an illustrator, artist, presenter, children's
picture book illustrator, author and workshop leader.
She regularly creates illustrations for Wyoming Wildlife
magazine's Wild Country Dispatch column. More of her
work can be seen at eslickart.com.
Wyoming Wildlife | 47
http://www.goodmamafarm.com http://www.eslickart.com

July 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of July 2021

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