Any Three Rivers dog owner, and all the smarter-than-average local canines, will tell you that a dog who lives in Three Rivers gets to reside in dog heaven. That’s because most dog owners live on larger lots and remote properties where dogs may run unrestrained.
Although Three Rivers doesn’t have a designated dog park where the rest of the dog population may roam free within a fenced off piece of land, it does have outstanding public lands — Lake Kaweah, managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Salt Creek, managed by the Bureau of Land Management — where dog and owner can walk or run to their collective hearts’ delight. (In the national parks, dogs must leashed at all times and are not allowed on trails.)
But because the Lake Kaweah and Salt Creek areas also provide for other types of recreation, such as fishing, there can be hazards for pets. Just ask Karen Six of Three Rivers, who was walking her dogs recently near the ponds east of the Skyline Drive trailhead to access the BLM property.
One of her dogs picked up the scent of a plastic worm with an embedded barbed hook. The fake worms, commonly used to fool a bass, are scented and look curiously like a big gummy worm.
Not only will a dog smell the lures and easily mistake the artificial for a tasty morsel or a toy to chew, but it has been documented that toddlers have swallowed this type of fishing lure too. When Karen’s dog tried to ingest the plastic worm the barbed hook became lodged in her pet’s esophagus.
Karen knew something was terribly wrong by the distress the dog was communicating. She rushed the animal to a veterinarian where the fish hook was dislodged and extracted.
The bill for the hospital visit and surgery exceeded $4,000, Karen reported. And she hopes that by telling her story maybe another tragic accident will be prevented.
To all those who fish, be mindful of your tackle and, no matter what it is, always pack out what you pack in. The dog or toddler you save just might be your own.