By DARREN HANDSCHUH
It was supposed to be a pleasant trip to a provincial park to watch the salmon run, but it morphed into a journey of horror and disgust.
Well, more disgust than horror.
The biggest salmon run in 100 years happened this fall, much to the surprise of 'experts' who never saw it coming.
How do you not see millions and millions of great, big fish? Sure it's a big ocean, but aren't these guys supposed to be the authorities on this type of thing?
The ability to keep an eye on the fish should be part of the skill set for a job where one of your main tasks is keeping an eye on the fish.
Anyway, millions of the gilled swimmers made their way up area waterways to spawn and continue the cycle of life. Reproducing for humans is quite easy in comparison. Some flowers, a few drinks, take the wife to dinner and viola procreation is well on its way.
These fish have to swim hundreds of miles - up stream the entire way - just to reproduce, but I bet if man was required to do the same thing, swimming would be a national obsession.
Anyway, we loaded up the van, and headed to a river that was literally overflowing with bright, red salmon.
It was an impressive sight and was fascinating to watch.
Because the area we were heading to was a wooded park, we decided to bring the family hound for a walk and give him the chance to pee on trees he had never peed on before.
We strolled along the banks of the river while the mutt pulled at his leash and tried to sniff and pee on just about everything he could reach.
Then he spotted dog Nirvana - a giant, rotting fish at the water's edge.
He immediately tried to roll in it. Why do dogs do that? A cat would never roll in something that smells that foul, nor would most people I know, but to a dog, a rotting carcass is too great a prize to ignore.
He almost made it too, but a quick tug of the leash saved us all from a nasty ride home.
That's not so disgusting you may be thinking. Wait for it, when it comes to a young, energetic dog and dead creatures there is no other option than a disgusting outcome.
We managed to keep the hound away from a few rotting fish, but somewhere along the line he managed to eat a small piece of said fish.
OK, now we are getting into the disgusting area I was mentioning earlier. Rolling in it is bad enough, but why in the name of all that is holy would you want to eat something like that?
Dogs truly have no barriers when it comes to their culinary cravings.
Nobody actually saw him eat the piece of fish. It wasn't until he barfed it out that we learned of the riverside snack. C'mon, you knew it was coming, and I did warn you it was rather disgusting.
Forever seared in my memory is the image of a foaming pile of dog upchuck the beast deposited smack in the middle of a busy trail.
With dozens of people watching, we tried to figure out what to do. I had a doggy bag, but there was no way it was going to work on the pile o' barf, and we knew we could not leave it there, so my wife stepped up, grabbed a stick and pushed it off to the side of the trail.
My wife has been an RN for more than 23 years and has seen some really gross stuff over those years, so she has built up an amazing immunity to stuff that makes me want to join the dog in a barf fest.
Often she will ask, "Do you want to know what I did at work today."
The answer is always, "NO, I do not."
While I did everything possible not to look, my lovely wife took care of the incident without so much as a change in facial expression.
Once the pile of goo was cleared out of the way, we headed back to the van with a story to tell of a river full of fish and yet another reason why I do not let dogs lick me - ever.