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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Saying Goodbye To My Best Friend

They say all good things must come to an end, but when it happens in a blink of an eye you gasp for breath, trembling, and find yourself asking "What the hell just happened"? My trout dog Madison, a pure bred Australian cattle dog, redefined the definition of a fishing buddy. This post is a tribute to his life and the good times we had.

My friend turned me on to the ACD breed in the mid 90's, he had owned several dogs and after spending some time with his current dog Ivan I said to myself "I gotta get one of these"! I wanted a female to mate with Ivan, but when I showed up at the Becka Ranch in Corning, Ca the owners pointed over to Big Blue, as they called him. There he was all alone, and even at 6 weeks he was the dominate male of the litter.  I paid $80 for him and headed for home what would be the start of a journey between man, dog, and trout.

At 4 months he was growing like a weed and pushing the envelope, like falling out of the boat while trolling and not coming up for over 10 seconds - Which seemed like an eternity to me! He then one upped himself by falling out of the truck passenger window weeks later at a slow speed, and walking away wagging his nub of a tail. The toughness of a ACD is remarkable, They only know to put out 110%!

I began taking Madi on fishing trips when he was 6 months old, showing him the life style of camping out, and enjoying the flora and fauna. The ACD is known not to like water, but this dog adapted to the lifestyle of fly fishing for trout and became a water dog. He knew the game that I was playing, trying to catch a wild animal. Having the Australian Dingo in him he was a hunter, and very smart. Queensland Heelers have the brain capacity of a 6 year old human child, and they know it. He knew when I was tying flies at the bench it was for the trout. I'd call out the name of the pattern and the location it was intended to be used at, and his legendary bark would ignite like gasoline on fire, deafening the room.

This was his favorite corner high up on my deck at the Mohawk Vista property. He was the ultimate watch dog, nothing got past him. His sniffer was so good he could smell the bear coming miles away and sound the alarm. Sure enough, 20 minutes later the bear would show up looking to raid the trash cans. He treed 3 bears in his lifetime, one of which he chased down and bit the ass of. He knew dozens of words and their meanings when it came to animals; bear, deer, coyote, bird, lizard, bug, bee, and on and on.

His true love in life though was to be my shadow where ever I went, which most often was on a river or lake. Fishing was a way for us to spend quality time together and an excuse to find adventure. He traveled to many places with me including his name sake "The Madison River" in Montana.

The East Walker River, Nevada.

Mills Peak lookout, Ca

Lake Davis, Ca - His home turf.

Madison loved boats more than anything, he would lean off the bow and let the wind whip over him, sniffing and searching...

Or go fishing with Grandpa and kick back.

He also loved motorcycles of all kinds, and would get so revved up when I would twist the throttle. I took him and my dad to a race at Honey Lake.  He was so smart and observant he would follow my pace around the track, and as I came ripping by he would let out a string of barks, then resume watching me make another lap. If he had thumbs he would have been out there too.

Madison did more in the last ten years than most people do in their entire life, and that makes me at peace with this great loss in my life. He was spoiled, had the best of everything, and was loved by many humans. Up until the end he was in great shape and blazing down the trail full of piss and vinegar. On 12/5 we learned that Madi had cancer of the spleen, and it had spread to his heart and lungs. His vet did not think he was going to make it through the night but I wanted to spend one more night sleeping next to him. After more tests, it was confirmed that it would be a painful death and not wanting Madison to suffer anymore, we had him put to sleep. I'm sure he's somewhere in the spirit world chasing a squirrel, or stalking a trout, and thinking of me.  God speed Madi boy - I'll never forget!

Madison Baiocchi 6/22/2001 to 12/6/2011

1 comment:

  1. Very nice tribute to a great friend! One lucky loved dog he was, full life he had, no regrets!


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