The Ethical Tier

By Lynn Ashe (Fish Hunter)

Well, here I am in the Veterinarian’s office with my favorite dog, Sammie (aka “The Sampster”). She’s a beautiful Golden Lab and we’re doing what we do best – scaring small children in the waiting room. I’m contemplating the small bald area on her neck – will the Vet notice? Nah! It was whacked off for a good purpose – to be incorporated into dry flies. After all, Labs have a great water-resistant coat. Surely it will be great tail material. A pang of guilt sweeps over me again. What kind of a person machetes their dog? Have I crossed the line of animal cruelty? Is the ASPCA on “Red Alert”?

Soon we are in the Examination Room. The Vet, an older man I have not met before, is going over Sammie with a fine toothed comb.

I’m sweating. He tells me that she is doing great, is the perfect weight…..that I’m obviously brushing her teeth. And then it happens!

I blurt it out. “I was hoping you didn’t notice the chunk of hair missing from the back of her neck. You see, I fly fish and I thought it would work great in some dry flies I’m working on.”
He responds, “I noticed.” Busted!

To my surprise, he breaks into a fishing story. “I went fly fishing in Tasmania once. Have you ever heard about the trout fishing there? No? Well back in the 1800’s the British brought barrels of salmon and trout fry to the country to populate their rivers. The salmon just swam into the ocean, but the trout remained and their numbers grew! Now the fishing is great. I don’t get there often, but a friend of mine lives there.”

Did he just share a favorite hole with me? Where in the heck is Tasmania again? This is weird! Do I have any color left in my face?

On the drive home I ask Sammie, “Why do I do that?  What is it about me that I have to open my mouth and confess?” She doesn’t answer.

The next day I ran into Billy N. at Ft. Detrick. I told him about my self-inflicted ethical dilemma. In his comforting, wise way he told me “I have flies with poodle hair in them.” Simple as that – wow! I love Billy, and would have hugged him at that moment if weren’t for the fear of scaring him. It’s always a relief to feel that I’m not THAT weird!

I give Sammie a Milky Bone treat. Dogs love you no matter what. Now, about the parakeets…..