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Sometimes It's Not About The Ducks
Author: Jason Peak
Categories: Best of
Nov 6, 2013
Duck hunting isn’t always about the ducks. Sometimes it’s about helping a friend say goodbye.

I got the text late Friday. ”Any chance you’re free tomorrow morning? Wanna take my pup out for one last hurrah before she gets put down next week?"

I had too much to do, and said so. Then I caught myself. What on Earth could be more important than helping a good friend say goodbye to such a great dog?

Remi is the sweetest dog you will ever meet. She is friendly and calm, and the family she watches over includes two little boys running around. So she has to be.

The birds flew early, but literally shut off about five minutes before legal shooting time. But that was okay. This was about getting Remi out for one last hunt. She had a great time staying warm in our gear, fetching decoys and posing for great photos.

Saying goodbye to an old friend is hard. We have all done it. Dogs never live long enough. Especially the good ones.

There was some light-hearted talk, and then long pauses. Knowing that Remi was on her last hunt seemed to set the mood. She romped a bit, then laid down. Then went for a walk with her dad one last time to try and find some ducks to jump shoot. I initially thought about tagging along, but knew it was more about Joe and Remi having some time alone.

Dogs like this remind us that they don’t have to have nationally-known bloodlines to be true field champions. Remi, to those that loved her, will be missed. But the Rainbow Bridge awaits.

To be there and watch a man say goodbye to his dog is hard. I have been in Joe’s shoes, and I don’t know if it is harder knowing the end is near or not. Losing a dog stays with you; I still save the last bite of every sandwich I eat in tribute to the latest dog I had to let go.

And it’s frustrating watching a friend go through this. There is nothing you can say to make it better and nothing you can do to cure the illness. The best you can do is tag along, help capture a few moments, and just be there.

Goodbye, Remi.

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I don't think I'd hunt ducks if there wasn't a dog involved. It's why I got started hunting ducks in the first place. My hunting dog in the only thing in the world that has me so frustrated one minute and so proud the very next.
Posted by Jeff Davis on Jan 16, 2015 11:00 AM
Wow, what a great tribute and story! Tears streaming down my face as I think about my Beagle, Skeeter, that we had to put down one year ago this past August. I don't think my wife fully understands the bond we had and the deep hurt that comes with losing such a close friend. Our dogs are special! Remi was a beautiful dog. Sorry for your loss Joe.
Posted by Todd Fencil on Dec 2, 2013 7:26 AM
Well written, Jay. Joe- sorry for your loss.
Posted by Dan Peak on Nov 7, 2013 4:25 PM
That was a truly beautiful tribute. Thank you so much for sharing.
Posted by Joe on Nov 7, 2013 12:39 PM
What a great tribute. My black lab Lexy is in her final week before we have to put her down and this post hit me hard. It's tearing me a part as I wrestle when to say goodbye. She's family. Loyal, loving, obedient, kind, gentle. Nothing like her laying at my feet, playing with my kids, or greeting me at the door. She will be deeply missed.

Here's to you, Remi and Lexy. May you have unending fields to run, play and hunt.
Posted by Jon Livingston on Nov 7, 2013 11:00 AM
"Gulp" that's all I can musture right now. Great piece.
Posted by Brent Cherry on Nov 7, 2013 10:51 AM
Great post and what a cool dog!
Posted by Blake Brinker on Nov 7, 2013 9:54 AM
Great tribute. Thanks for sharing. As a dog owner, I can appreciate the bond there.
Posted by Gary Wilson on Nov 6, 2013 8:28 PM
I sincerely want to thank Sitka for putting this up. Many can relate. This is about Remi, but so many other dogs fit the story. I can't put into words how appreciative I am for you guys to post this.
Posted by Jason Peak on Nov 6, 2013 4:31 PM
They never do last long enough. Hang in there Joe.
Posted by Luke Johnson on Nov 6, 2013 4:02 PM

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