River Currents

by Free Speech on July 7, 2009

Lodi, WI~

Lodi Valley News serving Lodi, WI & the Lake Wisconsin area with local information since Earth Day 2008.

Gary's New Puppy

Gary's New Puppy

Lodi, WI Wisconsin

My New Roommate and Companion

Many of you readers have sent me wonderful and heart-touching letters and emails over the years when I have had to put a dog down and more recently when my last Labrador, Bo, passed away last December. Dogs and their stories, many of them sad and tear-jerking, strike a common bond with many people from many different walks of life in today’s world.

I have written about my Labs and their escapades both good and bad over the last two decades. My dogs are my family and only dog owners can feel the heartache and joys that they bring to you in a life that is way too short. Throughout all my writing, stories about losing a companion bring me more emails and letters than anything that I do in the world of the outdoors. Dogs of all breeds and kinds are a common thread between so many of us. Losing a life-long pet is one of the worst things that can happen to a dog owner and brings all of us to tears when facing this terrible time. You never completely get over the loss of a dog that you have raised and spent year’s together hunting and enjoying the outdoors. The bond is a strong one and many who don’t have dogs don’t understand this powerful relationship.

I’ve been able to get on after losing Bo, but she is never far from my thoughts. I will always have some fantastic memories and photos, but these things often bring you to tears remembering the time and place of these past and joyful times. I didn’t know if I would ever get another dog after learning (or trying) to live without Bo. I didn’t want to feel the pain and sorrow of losing another dog and recently I’ve had my own health issues.

But, some great friends and some people that I don’t even know got together and decided that I needed another Labrador in my life. I guess that the emptiness and sorrow showed even though I thought I had buried it in my hidden thoughts. My great friends, Bob Zownir and Wally Banfi, put together a “get Gary a puppy fund” and found enough wonderful friends and people to donate the money to buy me a just-born Labrador puppy. They, together with Jim Kelter, who found a couple of great breeders in Jane Esser and Billy Brewer, who just had a litter of Labradors outside Bangor, Wisconsin. Jane and Bill are not full-time breeders and will only have one litter from their female Labradors before having them spayed. They care and show respect for the breed and don’t run a “puppy mill” operation. They’re a great couple who just happen to love Labradors and have some wonderful dogs.

Kelter found out about the litter from Suzie Schwartz of Prairie du Sac who just happened to have gotten her male Labrador, Chance, from Jane and Bill. On Sunday, Suzie drove Wally and me to Norwegian Coulee outside of Bangor where Esser and Brewer have a beautiful organic farm nestled in the hills and valleys of southwest Wisconsin. A couple of weeks ago, their female Lab, Kniper, had a litter of 12 yellow and chocolate puppies. Due to some wonderful and caring friends, I picked out a yellow female puppy that will move to my Wisconsin River home in about a month. Kniper has some great bloodlines and I could tell from seeing her and meeting her owners that this was a litter with a puppy for me. You can imagine what 12 little balls of fur look like! The puppies had just been fed when we arrived Sunday, so they were “busy” taking a nap after their lunch.

I picked out a yellow female which I’ll be able to bring home in about a month. This two-week old yellow Labrador will have a great life and fill the void in my life since Bo’s death. I hope that Bo, who is up in “Doggie Heaven” will understand she is not forgotten. I’m sure she would approve of my future companion and realize that she will still be in my mind. I haven’t named the new girl yet, so I’m open for suggestions. Check out my web site for a few photos of my girl at http://www.garyengbergoutdoors.com/ . Now, I have to brush up on my puppy skills after not raising one in years. Thanks to Bob Zownir, Wally and Kate Banfi, Larry and Karol Wipperfurth, Wayne and Pam Whitemarsh, Chuck Theobald, Ron Ganser, Gary Brock, Jim Kelter, Bob and Dixie Lochner, Doug and Lucy Stamm, Dave Meyer, Jerod Meyer, Gary N-ski, Everett Thompson, and Mike Sivam for making me smile and cry again and bringing this new buddle of joy into my life!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Doug July 9, 2009 at 5:01 PM

It’s a lucky dog to get Gary as a teacher, friend and companion at home and in the field. A real lucky dog.

2 peg July 7, 2009 at 3:32 PM

Hey Gary! What a sweet face! Not yours! That darling puppy! Glad she is coming to live with you. Dogs are the best. I am at the juncture where I have to say goodbye to my terrier Keillor and of course I am grieving already. How kind of your friends to help you get this little furry face. I am living north of Butternut (with the black bears) and working at the paper in Park Falls.Your work looks good. Take care of yourself. Peg Zaemisch (Formerly of the Lodi Enterprise)

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