Dogs, Man and Nature

by | Mar 28, 2009

The Wall Street Journal is offering a little lifestyle essay from novelist and short story writer, Thomas McGuane.

McGuane in many ways is a close literary relative of Jim Harrison. Interestingly, both hail from Michigan, where hunting and fishing are practically a religion. Maybe the fact that I hail from Nebraska–where hunting and fishing is absolutely a religion, along with football–makes me a prime candidate to be a big fan of these unabashedly western writers.

In the Journal piece, McGuane speaks eloquently about his two dogs, Abby and Daisy, the Pointer Sisters.

Bird dogs plead with you to imagine the great things you could be doing together. Their delight is a lesson in the bliss of living. As Bob Dylan says, “You’ve got to serve somebody.” I serve my dogs and in return, they glom the sofa. Too many hunting dogs live depressing lives in kennels with automatic feeders and waterers, exercised only enough to keep them ready for work.

This last bit makes me happy, as Darby and I have a new bird crazy dog and she’s logging some pretty solid “on the bed” time, something my two grandfathers would never have allowed. Their dogs were “strictly for hunting” although they were fed manually, run daily and well cared for.

[BONUS LINK FRIM THE GOOGLE] Here’s a 1984 interview with McGuane in Key West.