the Tailout July 2020 - Page 5

EDITOR’S LETTER 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 assistant. 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 snoring. 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 will tell. 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. PAT HOGLUND Publisher, Executive Editor