I am taking you away from the Shasta for the moment to hold a moment of silence for my camping and outdoor companion of the last thirteen and a half years. Weiss was a good dog, he was a smart dog, and he must have had 20 lives because he was a damn lucky dog. He wandered up as a puppy my second year of college. He was weak and infested with fleas and worms but a quick trip to the vet solved all his woes and we were off on adventures from that day forth. I new he was lucky when after living at my house for only about a week, he was about 3 months old at the time, he jumped up onto the counter and ate an entire chocolate cake. I called the vet asking what I should do, “If he isn’t dead already he’ll make it.” he replied.
Then along came the fencing issue. Weiss didn’t exactly adhere to boundaries. He could clear a five foot chain link fence and climb a 6 foot privacy fence. We nicknamed him the Velociraptor, because he would systematically test the electric fence looking for an escape path. He visited the pound so many times in those first few years that they knew him and me on sight. Once he even went straight to the pound after escaping, hey three squares a day and lots of other dogs to sniff and bark at right? He was a party dog; we had to make sure we picked up the half full cups at the end of the night or he would clean up for us and sleep all day the next day. He learned to hunt squirrels from our neighbor’s pet wolf-hybrid, a skill he applied as often as he could. He dug a raccoon out of its den once and fought it in the water for about 4 hours before becoming exhausted, tattered, and sinking, while I called him from the bank. I finally waded out close enough to grab him. He had tick paralysis once and spent three days in doggy ER on IVs getting every test the OSU Vet School knew to give only to come bounding out later saying “Okay, what’s next?” My old roommate taught him all kinds of party tricks; we made him lay down, sit, beg, stand up, and play dead so many times that often times he would run through the repertoire just for fun. Once, when I was living in Jenks, he escaped and found a high school party. Some drunken teenage girls called and asked if I had a dog that liked to stand on his hind legs and then play dead for hamburgers. I told them he would do anything for a treat.
He made the annual trek out to the cabin in New Mexico every winter with my friends and me. He loved every minute of it. He would bound through the snow chasing any wild life he could find. He chased a herd of Elk in a valley once until we weren’t sure he was coming back. He went left and herded them right then ran right and herded the rest left. It was like a battle scene from an old movie as a hundred elk collided. He went on camping trips with me in Oklahoma and Arkansas.
I couldn’t have asked for a smarter or tougher dog. In the end, it was the tumor that got him. Had it not been for that, the damn stubborn dog might have just kept on going. On his last day we spent the afternoon together. He had a cheeseburger as we sat in the park before his last visit to the vet. Sometimes he drove me crazy, but I will miss him dearly.