What Can You Do For a Dog Who Has Bad Back Legs?

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The hike into Cedar Creek in the Oregon Coast Range is steep, dropping almost a thousand feet in 3 miles.
I haven't always been willing to go to those great lengths to find a good spot for fishing, but I finally found the form of fishing that turned the attraction of the sport from a mystery to an obsession.
Fly fishing.
Growing up in South Dakota, fishing in the sloughs for bullheads (little catfish) with my dad on an occasional Sunday was my first experience of fishing, and I was not impressed.
It seemed like we spent all our time sitting still and being quiet, two things that do not appeal to a child.
I can see now why my dad, a farmer who worked long hours in summer, truly enjoyed sitting in a lawn chair at the water's edge, holding a rod in his hand and not doing much more than reeling in the line now and then.
But to me it was dull with a capital "D.
" Much later, in college, was my next exposure to a fishing technique.
A buddy took me ice fishing.
For entirely different reasons, I was once again not impressed.
On a bright winter day, there we were in a dark shack poised over a hole in the ice, waiting for a pike to swim into view.
Once again holding very still and keeping quiet except for the hiss of the pop-top when one of us opened another can of beer.
The main difference between spear-fishing in an ice shack and bullhead fishing was that instead of being a sultry summer day, we were sitting motionless in zero degree weather, our feet resting on ice, our rear ends in frozen lawn chairs.
One time in the ice shack was enough 'fun' for me.
I really didn't have much interest in fishing for a long time after that.
Not until a career change took me from Minnesota to the Pacific Northwest and I met the man who would later become my husband.
He was perfect in every way...
except for being an avid fisherman.
This guy, Greg, is so serious about fishing that he had one entire room of his house dedicated to housing his gear.
His drift boat, rather than his car, occupied the one bay garage.
You know how it goes in the first part of a new romance; you're willing to do things you would normally never even consider.
So, there I was, going fishing once again.
We stood on the bank of a lovely little creek, and I held the expensive, ultra-light trout rod in my hand as I stepped onto a mossy rock, slick with moisture.
I slipped, fell into the creek, and not only scared all the fish away, but broke the tip of the pole.
This was not a good way to resume my fishing career.
Next try.
Knowing I love the beach, Greg decided to take me fishing on the open ocean.
He put the Evinrude outboard on the drift boat and we motored over the bar and out of the bay.
The mixture of gas fumes and choppy water soon had me leaning sickly over the side of the boat.
Not romantic at all.
Trolling for bass came next.
Nice warm days on one of the Oregon Coast Rivers.
We got in the drift boat, put out a line for bass, and floated downstream.
I really liked being on the water in the sun.
Things had changed since being a kid.
These days, I appreciated being able to sit in the sun doing nothing..
...
until the fish started biting.
I didn't like being interrupted from sun-bathing and having to take them off the hook.
Catching and then releasing a bunch of poor little bass didn't make sense to me.
Why ruin both our days? So I was willing to be in the fishing boat, but not fishing.
I thought it was a good compromise.
Greg is nothing if not persistent.
He wanted me to be his fishing buddy as well as his wife, and I could see the value in the long run of sharing some hobbies, so I was game to give fishing one more try.
That's when he introduced me to fly fishing.
Bingo! It's impossible to describe why I love it.
I guess it has something to do with the rhythm and grace of it.
The mesmerizing experience of standing in rushing water.
And the power, the absolute thrill of feeling the fish strike.
Greg still has a room dedicated to fishing gear, but it's in a different house, and it's bigger now.
We had to make room for my gear, too.
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