Mountain Vision #186

by Bob Chamberlain on February 2, 2012

Independence Pass, 1976Independence Pass, 1976

Love me. Love my dog. Oh, I do, I do! He was left behind with Karen when his owner left for South Africa to meet their boy-friend-in-common, ostensibly to finish sailing around the world.

His name was Bear, he had a displaced hip, and was about twelve or fourteen when he was shot by the Telluride town marshal, for being on the loose and chasing a Great Dane bitch in heat.

It happened in someone’s back yard, about two or three blocks from our house, with the dog catcher looking on helplessly and crying out, “Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!” — at which the plaintiff, also present, replied, “If he doesn’t, I will!” The marshal shot the dog over the back yard fence, but even at that didn’t kill him, only wounded his other hip, so he couldn’t stand. They loaded him, alive, in the back of the dog catcher’s station wagon, and drove out of town and threw him, still alive, over the steep embankment that drops right down to the San Miguel River.

The marshal immediately left town to attend a law-enforcement convention in Grand Junction, and it was a day-and-a-half before we could reach him by phone. When we finally did, he told Karen emphatically that not only did he not owe us an apology, but he would do the same thing again, if he ever had the chance.

We got the law changed, to prevent a recurrence, but they had Won the West. We are West of Dodge, after all. A dog is just an emotional “Sink”, we were advised.

Senior correspondent Bob Chamberlain lives with his dog at 8,000 feet in Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley. 

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