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Published on July14, 2020

Our ‘Lithuanian Fish-Finding Dog’ could smell a good catch

By Jan Edwards
The Bulletin

“What a cute little dog; what kind of a little dog is that?” asked the woman fishing with top water lures from an antique Skeeter bass boat.

That’s not exactly what my husband, Roy, our Yorkie, George Mutt, and I were expecting to hear as we broke out of the Cypress trees and undergrowth swamp we had been paddling through on Caddo Lake during our annual Easter trip with the Houston Canoe Club.

According to our map, we thought we’d be in a quiet clearing not far from camp. On that trip on Caddo Lake, we were re-energizing our souls, and George Mutt was looking for an excuse - any excuse - to jump in the water on his own fishing expedition.

George loved the water, and if I wasn’t paying close attention to him, he would be out of the boat and into the lake snapping up fish - reminiscent of Jaws. Roy and I were looking for our own place to fish – since we had not had as much luck as George in finding fish that day.

Roy and I were on the hunt for a good Bream hole so we could have our traditional fresh Bream and scrambled eggs for breakfast in the morning. George was busy running around on his “Mutt Butt Board” - his place in the canoe that Roy had fashioned out of plywood and outdoor carpet, which fit between the thwarts of our red canoe.

If you live right, and you’re really lucky, you might be blessed with a dog like George at least once in your life. He had a human personality and never met a stranger. So, when Roy and I greeted the couple fishing, George ran to the side of the canoe closest to them. He greeted them with his characteristic “smile” and tail wag. He knew an audience when he saw them – and George was always a ham.

Roy and I, in turn, greeted the couple in the Skeeter and asked them how fishing was. The man told us that they’d had a couple of bites, a Bream or two and a barely legal bass. Fishing was not good, but the couple was friendly, and we struck up a conversation. George, of course, was not going to be left out, and he barked and wagged his tail in his insistence to be noticed – hence the lady’s question, “What kind of a little dog is that?”

In our canoe club, there was another couple who owned an unusual dog who often went paddling with them. He was a beautiful soft gray dog with unknown parentage - but he looked like he should be some breed of dog. His owners were asked what kind of dog he was so often on trips that they made up a breed for him – a Lithuanian Canoe Dog. So maybe that is why when we were asked what kind of dog George was that I glibly answered, “Oh, this dog is a Lithuanian Fish-Finding Dog.”

“A WHAT?” asked the surprised fisherman at the controls of the Skeeter.

All my life, I have thought that fishing took talent, and just the right timing. This situation was no exception. At that moment – as if it were planned - George ran up to the gunnels of the boat, smiled, and pointed with his paw to a location just in front of the bass boat. Guess we’d been married too long because Roy picked up my line of thought, and replied, “Yeah, a Lithuanian Fish-Finding Dog. See, if we pass by someone who’s fishing, and George likes them, he’ll point to where he sees the fish – like a pointer shows where the birds are. Look, he’s on point now.”

“R-i-g-h-t,” says the doubting fisherman noting George’s posture, “and where’s that dog pointing to now?”

Roy wasn’t about to give up on a good tale, so he quickly shot a line down George’s paw, and using his best fisherman’s instinct, searched for a likely place in that general direction where a fish could be hiding. He saw it, and just as the lady fisherman drew back her rod to cast, Roy instructed, “Tell your wife to cast to that Cypress stump on your left.”

She looked, shrugged her shoulders in disbelief and cast that top-water lure directly over the Cypress stump in question. As the lure snaked out across the water between the boat and the stump, everything began to move in slow motion. The lure started its descent to the stump, and an eight-pound Black Bass exploded from the lake, engulfing the lure, which never had the chance to hit the water. George excitedly barked his approval as the lady reared back, screamed in delight and set the hook. Then the war was on. The lady reeled for all she was worth, and that Bass, who never saw what hooked him and never had the chance to go down, tail walked - gills flaring and water splashing - all the way back to the Skeeter boat. She landed the catch of the day.

Sometimes, the truth is just stranger than fish tales. Those of us who witnessed the event sat there in stunned silence for a minute – after all, we were just telling tall tales. The man in the Skeeter bass boat went slack-jawed and begged, “How much you want for the dog? I want to buy that dog!!” George, our loveable fish-finding dog, made believers out of a couple of fishermen, and I’ll bet to this day that there is someone in Uncertain, Texas, still looking for a Lithuanian Fish-Finding Dog.
Of course, George was not for sale – but that fisherman had a sudden keen interest in “that breed of dog” – and George, in particular. I imagine we could have gotten as much as we wanted for George that day – but, hey, you can’t sell your “trained” fish-finding dog.

(Write Jan in care of The Bulletin. Email: john.bulletin@gmail.com. Snail mail: The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton TX, 77516.)