Field and Stream

“Dog Years”

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Tess’s sole interest in life was finding gamebirds, with ground squirrels and eating dinner a distant second and third. The only food she ever begged for was the skin of a fried whitefish. Our last hunt together was a tearjerker. We were over a mile from the car in a rough canyon near the Mexican border. She gave me two points and then quite suddenly collapsed. I carried her out over my shoulder with some difficulty and a week later had to have her put down. I thought I was mentally prepared for this moment but then I simply broke down. This has been true of the death of all our dogs, I suppose because I have never had any impulse to rate animals in levels of importance. We are fellow creatures. —Jim Harrison, September 2004

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