Dog Shots

My collection of fly-fishing photos dates back to the 1980s and mixed in among them are hundreds of images of my two Labrador retrievers, Moose and Shadow.

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Those dogs are long gone now, but I still enjoy looking at photos of them and remembering all the interesting times we had together. When I had those dogs I was on the water for a 150 or more days a year and they were with me at all times. When I wrote books about fly fishing, I told stories about those dogs and included photos of them in the mix. By the late-1990s, when the dogs were in their primes and the books were circulating well, people started recognizing Moose and Shadow on the water, which was always a nice way to start a conversation and make new friends.

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This particular image dates back to the first trip I took to Montana’s Bighorn River. It was winter, late January I believe, and Moose was just a big, lanky puppy, maybe a year old. He loved being in the boat but was even more at home while running the banks and digging for squirrels, or trying to root pheasants out of the heavy cover. This shot shows him near the end of a float from Afterbay to Mallards, dirty as can be and absolutely worn out. When I look at this, as I’m sure photos of your dogs do, I get a smile just knowing that Moose was having the time of his life, hanging with the boys, floating for five straight days, and getting to chase things that tried to get away from him. Isn’t this the way you want your dog to look after a day on the water? To me, this says, “Ah, he’ll sleep well tonight.”

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Greg Thomas grew up splitting time between southeast Alaska and Seattle, Washington . . . and never moved away from the Pacific Northwest. He lives in Missoula, Montana with his two daughters and serves as Editor-in-Chief of North 40’s creative department. Thomas has penned five books on fly fishing, including Fly Fisher’s Guide to Washington and Fly Fisher’s Bible Montana. His byline appears in regional and national publications, including the New York Times, Forbes, Outside, and Field & Stream. He has no trouble admitting that he’s a steelhead addict and loves pursuing these fish with two-hand rods wherever they swim.

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One thought on “Dog Shots”

  • Kaylee Neu

    Absolutely love this. Dogs may be around for a short portion of our lives, but to them, we're their whole lives. Nothing better than a happy dog doing the things he loves with the people he loves most.

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