Friday, May 25, 2012
RIP "The Rook"
I was introduced to the boy the first time I visited the VOR's home in Bismarck several years back. I walked in the split entry and was confronted at eye level by this barking, seventy pound black beast with a bull neck, triangular head, and wild look in his eye. I offered the back of my hand, told him he was a pretty good looking boy, and the barking ceased and the tail wagging began. That was the end of any guard dog instincts, we were buddies from that time on. Independent, singularly focused, and poorly behaved at times, it was pointed out that the reason we got along so well was that we were identical in so many ways. Both of us have a very mixed lineage, are willing to eat damn near anything, and can normally only focus on one thing at a time. We are both at our very best when we don't have a roof over our heads and are very comfortable and happy with a few feet of snow on the ground.
Rookie and I enjoyed a number of mutual activities but the annual Packaging of the Venison Sausage was probably a mutual favorite. We butcher our own deer and anything that doesn't 'look like a steak' goes into the trim container and is taken to either Jim's Meat Market in Iron River, WI or Kramarszyks Sausage Co. in Northeast Minneapolis. Typical trim weight is around 25 lbs, so 50lbs of various sausage is returned once pork, beef, or veal is added. When the call comes that it's ready, the happy villagers break out grills, homemade buns and a copious amount of beer as the sausage is packaged, frozen, and of course sampled. There have been notable incidents at Venison Sausagefest, especially the famous "It's just a f-ing blind" scenario, also entitled "Russian Imperial Stout Gone Wild", but Rookies assistance and participation was constant and unwavering. As soon as the big box of sausage is hauled in and the smell of fifty pounds of smoked goodness fills the house, our boy was sitting exactly in the spot he occupies on the photo. He sat very patiently, eyes never wavering from the sausage stash, with the only movement a tongue that frequently circled his lips and the steady drip of drool as his tiny brain and all it's reasoning capacity was focused, laserlike, on the sausage. I'd flip him a piece every now and then and when we sat down I'd cut one up and put it in his bowl. If I didn't cut it up I was afraid he would just inhale it whole and suffocate.
He was not much of hunter, only one grouse to his credit, he didn't listen worth a damn (unless you were holding sausage of course), and his usefulness pretty much ended at keeping peoples feet warm as he pestered them for head scratches. His main interest in water was drinking it and laying in it, although there he is at the mouth of the Brule in the above image. Yet he was the best buddy that a guy could have. He was also similar to me in that he had the 97% accurate asshole radar, a thin slicing skill that allowed for snap, accurate judgements when meeting people. If he liked you, he never forgot you. If he didn't.......well, in any event he will be missed by his family, extended family, and most of the other dogs in the immediate area. He was affable with his fellow canines and a tail wag and quick ass sniff were always offered as a greeting. We all hope that his spirit is in a place where the ground is littered with sausage, the rabbits all have three legs, and the head scratches are readily available and unceasing. So long buddy, you will be missed.