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Taking a dog fishing can create some memorable moments

Angus. Not quite a bull, but it won't be long until they rival in size. You see, Angus is a puppy. Right now his blue eyes and clumsy feet will melt your heart, but he's growing fast. Maybe too fast.

When Angus landed in our lives, he was small enough to fit in a shoebox, but the vet informed us of his sizeable potential. "Well," sighed Bill Isaacson as he examined the black ball of fur and administered a series of shots, "He won't be ride-able, but he'll be close."

I've already started to pack away all of our breakables that commonly sit at tail height.

So I stared at Angus one day and wondered what it might be like to take him fishing. How would he function in the boat or on the ice? Then my mind wandered in retrospect of the other experiences I've had while mixing dogs with fishing.

There was the time when a friend's giant Great Dane became a little too curious of the bucktail spinner tied to the end of a muskie rod leaning against his Leech Lake cabin. As the dog took off across the yard, followed by the muskie rod spooled with 80-pound braided line, I imagined what I might feel like in the same situation. Three loving adults and a sturdy pair of needle nose pliers removed the treble hook, but not before some discomfort to the dog and its owners.

Then there were the three long haired Pomeranians. Each one boarded my boat with such elegance, their noses high in the air as they pranced, tethered by their monogrammed leashes. Their personalized water dishes didn't take up much space in the boat, but all three aggressively yipped each time a lure was brought aboard for a new cast. In reality, that wasn't so bad, but combing the dog hair out of the boat carpet the following day was a chore.

I'll never forget the dog encounter on Spider Lake. A couple friends and I were on a late season ice fishing expedition and a large golden retriever was wandering between our holes. I laid down on the ice to peer into the clear water and no sooner had I done so than the dog was on top of me. Not aggressively, but playfully if that's what you'd call it. Unfortunately he was having more fun than I was and wouldn't allow me to get up. Much to my chagrin, my buddies weren't exactly helpful in aiding an escape.

But our family vacation to the Iron Range last summer topped all of those. Stated briefly, it involved a boat propeller, the left hind toe of a black lab, a trip to the 24-hour animal emergency center and a $1,200 veterinary bill. Fortunately the dog survived (minus one toe) and life eventually got back to normal.

So as I stand in the doorway, ice fishing arsenal in hand, Angus stares at me with those manipulative puppy eyes. You know, the ones that make you give him extra treats just because he's so darn cute.

Reluctantly, I give in. "Well, if you want to come along, let's go."

Angus lies down on the carpet, declining my offer. "Maybe in a few months," I add. "Then we'll really start having some fun together."