One beautiful warm sunny day last July, the family decided to load up our quads and have some fun out in the boondocks. As luck would have it, it was also huckleberry season, which, to everyone in the our family, means stuffing yourselves full of those purple sweet gifts from heaven until you just can’t eat any more…. We do bring the buckets, but there’s hardly been a time when we’ve actually just picked enough to eat later in a pie…. We end up looking like berry vampires, with purple fingers, stained teeth and lips.
We had a really fun time, riding up past some old mines behind Ainsworth Hot Springs, stopping to explore. Our goal was Loon Lake, a tiny mountain haven, surrounded by millions of huckleberry bushes. We were all hot and dusty by the time we reached the lake. We went and mooched some R&R off the cabin’s dock. It was absolutely perfect for swimming.
We noticed all these cute and fuzzy ducklings darting around the shallows. So we laid on our tummies and watched the baby mallards do their thing. Unbeknownst to us, a killer was lurking. Madness clouded over his sanity, murderous desire overshadowed common sense and with a splash, Tutter plunged into the water, and before we could even grab at him, he had the baby duck in his mouth.
Oh, there was screaming. Elisabeth was expressing her horror by crying “OH NO, OH NO, OH NO!!!!!!” Nicholas was shouting at Tutter, I was screeching at him to STOP!!! Dan jumped in the water and hauled the dog up onto the shore. I didn’t witness the Canine Beat Down Of Epic Proportions, as it were, as I was too horrified to see the wee duck floating face down in the water. I plunged in and picked the baby up. Knowing full well that in my hand was a bit of fuzzy cuteness, lifeless and mutilated, I swam back to the dock and heaved myself up and opened my hand. Elisabeth was sobbing, Nicholas was grim, I was deeply saddened and really, really pissed off at my stupid dog.
Well. That little duck shook his head, droplets of water flinging onto us. He looked about as if to say “Holy shit dudes! THAT was a close one!!!” We all laughed through our tears. After looking over the duckling, to make sure he was okay, the kids each got a turn to hold him. We marveled at his cuteness, his black and yellow fuzzy markings and the miracle that we had been witness to. Gently, we released him into the water, and he zipped off into the marshy edge of the water.
I can only imagine in his duck world, quacking to his siblings about the time he almost died in the jaws of a monster.
Tutter sat up on the deck, morosely watching us. It surprised all of us. He listens to us all the time. But the killer wolf instinct came out that day.That instinct said “Fuck all of you, I’m getting me some duck for dinner”. I did have to forgive him eventually. But not before I told him that I hated what he had done. He looked at me with his soft brown eyes, and apologized in his doggy way, tail down low and licking my hands. And so, I forgave my dog.