Saying Goodbye To
My Office Pal
Thirteen years ago I hired a
personal assistant, and she
was the best gal I’ve known.
Some of you may recall my
dog Midge, who I have written
about in previous issues of the
magazine. In late June she died of
acute kidney failure. Anyone who’s
ever had a dog knows that they give
so much to you and then take even
more of you when they die. Midge
took a bite out of my soul and left a
huge hole in my heart.
My thoughts race back and forth
from the day we brought her home,
until the day she left us. So many
good memories flush through my
head with only a few regrets. I never
hunted her as I originally intended.
She was never really a fishing dog,
either. The fact that she hated boats
was a frustration of mine. I had
visions of her chasing steelhead and
salmon with me, which she did for
the first couple years of her life. But
she eventually grew tired of it, and
preferred to stay home with my wife
and kids. At first it bothered me, but
eventually I accepted who she wanted
to be. Midge was perfectly content
being a family dog, and my personal
Midge was every bit of Salmon &
Steelhead Journal as I am. She worked
with me every day. She listened to
interviews, watched me work on
every issue, waited patiently for me
to finish writing so we could go on
walks, greeted the letter carrier, and
was perfectly content sleeping under
my desk. I can remember talking
with a writer about a story, and he
wanted to know what the humming
sound was. I told him that was Midge
Midge wasn’t an early riser. She
enjoyed her sleep, especially as she
got older. I, on the other hand, am
most productive in the mornings. I’d
leave for the office by myself, and
Midge would almost always show
up around 9 o’clock when my wife
came to work. At the time our office
was on the third floor of an office
building. Mary and Midge would
ride the elevator up, and when the
door opened I heard her gallop down
the hallway and wait for Mary to let
her in. Midge would hustle into my
office and say hello, usually by jumping
into my lap and giving me the
sweetest kisses a guy could ask for.
suzie puetz photo
We eventually remodeled our basement
and now I work from home,
as do most people affiliated with my
company. Even though my commute
is 13 stairs into what I refer to as ‘the
hole’, Midge took her sweet time to
greet me. But it was always the same.
An exaggerated tail wag and lots of
kisses. I miss those kisses.
After our morning routine, she’d
settle under my desk for another nap.
I miss her naps.
Most of all I miss not having her
with me. I still have a box of treats on
my desk, the very container that she
would stare at, and if I ignored her
long enough, she’d huff at me. It was
her way of letting me know that she’s
a Lab, and anytime is a good time to
eat. I miss her huffs.
Labs shed, and Midge was no different.
Her hair always found its way
into everything I own. My waders.
My boots. My clothes. My truck. You
name it. I always told myself that I
wouldn’t miss the hair. The other day
I looked down and saw a clump of
her yellow hair and burst into tears.
Instead of vacuuming it up, I just left
it. I’m content letting her hair linger
for however long it takes.
As she got older I tried to prepare
myself for the inevitable. You
tell yourself that it’s part of owning
a dog, but you’re never prepared.
Midge is my second Lab. Caddis was
my first, and when she died it was
every bit as painful. When Midge
entered my life, memories of Caddis
faded with time. With a twinge of
guilt I’ve begun the process of finding
a breeder for my next dog even
though I’m not ready. I suppose time
They say all dogs go to heaven,
and I would agree. When Midge
died, heaven got a good one. It’s a
better place with her there, and my
world is a lot emptier without her. I
miss my office pal.
Publisher, Executive Editor