Best Catch of the DayI have fished Lake Scugog since I was a boy in the 1950's, but on Oct 16th I got my best catch: two 75 pounders.
It was a cold, grey day and I was out fishing alone in my 14-foot aluminum boat. The only fish I had caught was a very small perch, but I can be happy fishing in a puddle as long as there is the possibility of catching something.
As I was trolling, I heard a couple of dogs barking on shore and thought they must be chasing something. About thirty minutes later, I was aware of one dog's constant barking but noticed the second dog only barked occasionally. Since it is not unusual to hear dogs barking while out on the lake, I paid no further attention to it. It was probably another half hour when I noticed this chorus of noise had diminished to one, lone dog; his bark now sounding distressed.
I could now see that two dogs were in the middle of a large swamp.
As I approached the shore, I called out, "Where are you guys?"
A black lab-style dog stood up against the trunk of a small tree, to get above the reeds. It looked at me and barked. It was then that I noticed that the bank dropped straight down about four feet from where he was and, at the bottom of the drop-off, I could see the yellow head of the second dog. He was stuck in the mud up to his chin and was trapped.
The water became very shallow as I boated closer. My boat and I became totally beached about ten feet from the bank. Using my paddle to measure the depth, the mud was as deep as my oar. There was no way I could get to him.
Meanwhile, the black dog was up on the bank and barking with a more aggressive yelp as if to say, "Don''t mess with my friend!".
I ignored her nagging and called to the yellow lab who made a final attempt to get to me. He gave up just as he was out of my reach.
I leaned out over the bow and managed to get two finger tips under his collar and pulled him through the mud. I pulled the tendons in the back of my hand while doing it, but finally got him to me and lifted him into the safety of my boat.
He was shivering and very weak with hypothermia since the water temperature was only ten celsius.
Not wanting to worry his mate by separating the two dogs, I remember thinking, "How am I going to get the black one off the bank that was ten feet away?"
That's when I heard a light thump behind me in the center of the boat. Somehow, she had gotten herself inside of the boat!
I don't know how she made that incredible leap, starting four feet higher, covering a distance of over ten feet of mud and landing about seven feet into my boat. She had gone right over me and the other dog. She was determined to stay with her friend.
Sometimes, when I can't get my head around how she landed so lightly in the boat that day, and how I had possibly managed to drag my boat out of the thick mud with an extra 150 pounds of dog aboard, I can only think the Lord was responsible for this miraculous rescue. I don't know how else it could have come to be.
After I got ourselves out of that predicament, I was able to find a phone number on the yellow lab's collar. When I rang, there was no answer. I phoned my wife and she managed to get an address for me.
It was a long ride back to the boat launch and the old boy just leaned his muddy body against my leg as we made our way across the lake. The yellow lab came and leaned her body tightly against her friend, comforting him.
By the time we landed, he seemed warmed up. A short drive later, I tied them up outside their home. The last I saw of them was two wagging tails watching me drive away.
I finally reached the owners around 9:00 p.m. that night. He said that the dogs had gotten away earlier that morning and they had to go to work.
The interesting thing was that I had not planned to go fishing that day. While praying during our devotions I had asked, "Lord what should I do today?". "Go fishing" was the answer I was given.
If I had not gone, the old dog would have never been found and I don't know whether the girl would have ever left him.
Let's all pray for friendships like that.
God is good.
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