Published May 7, 2023

The Puppy and the Ticket 

Written by
Kim Fundingsland
| The Dakotan
(Photo: Kim Fundingsland. /The Dakotan)
(Photo: Kim Fundingsland. /The Dakotan)

A Slice of Life

The tale I am about to reveal is worth a laugh, a cry, or both. I suppose the reaction will range from “hilarious”, to that “D___ dog!” 

I’m a member of the hilarious group but, admittedly, for a moment or two, I muttered a few four-letter words. One glance at my dog turned my frown to a smile and improved my vocabulary instantly. Now, on to the circumstances that inspired this “Believe it or Not” tale. 

As my dedicated readers know, I spend a considerable amount of time fishing. My dogs have always been a part of that. It’s their outing too, albeit sometimes a little too interesting. 

About 2 years ago I decided to fish in a two-day tournament at Lake Ashtabula, a lake I’d never fished previously. It’s located north of Jamestown, about 2 1/2 hours from home. I had a new dog, Sally, about 5 months old, who made the trip. It was sort of a break-in time for her. 

Not wanting to set up a formal camp at a lakeside campground, my son-in-law and I opted to sleep in my vehicle. What the heck. We were getting up before sunrise to get back on the water anyway. Sounds reasonable, right? I mean, we were only going to get a few hours sleep anyway. 

I reclined my driver’s seat, opened the window an inch or two. The long day on the water, combined with the cool night air, had me asleep in short order. It was my young pup’s first time spending the night in a vehicle and I wondered how it would work out. She was curled up on the back seat when I zonked out. 

Sometime during the night she woke me. I wasn’t completely awake, just enough to give her a few reassuring pats on the head before nodding off again. 

I can’t say how long I slept before she was nuzzling my side and woke me up once again. This time I let her outside, thinking the pup was telling me she needed to go out and do what dogs sometimes need to do. Smart dog, I thought. 

Oh, how things change. 

We got up, fished from sunrise to 3 p.m., and then gathered with other fishermen for the weigh-in, trophy presentation, and a prize drawing. The latter was of keen interest to me because I had purchased 10 tickets to the drawing the previous afternoon. 

It was one of those 50/50 drawings, with half the proceeds going to support the fishing club and half to the holder of the winning ticket. So, when the winning ticket was about to be drawn, a crowd gathered around to watch the drawing and see if they were the big winner. 

Like the others, I pulled out my string of consecutively numbered tickets. I had purchased 10 but only had 9. Strange. Oh well, I thought, I never win anyway. 

The winning number was announced and no one claimed the money. So, the number was announced a second time. Everyone was re-checking their ticket numbers, including me. That’s when I discovered the winning number was the first one in the numerical sequence of tickets I had left in my pocket. The problem was, I didn’t actually have the ticket. 

I quickly searched my vehicle, every jacket and pants pocket, and then realized what had happened. My dog ate the ticket. Really. 

Sally, the dog that ate the winning ticket. (Photo: Kim Fundingsland/The Dakotan)

When she woke me twice during the night, gently nuzzling me in what I thought was loving, dog-like fashion; she was really pulling on the string of tickets that I had, apparently, not stuffed into my pants pocket far enough. Just my luck. She plucked that ticket right off at the perforation.  

Knowing that claiming my dog ate the winning ticket would prove fruitless, all I could do was keep quiet while another number was drawn and somebody else claimed the $200+ prize. 

Quite perturbed, I opened my vehicle door and there was my young dog, crazy happy to see me. Also, completely oblivious to the fact she had eaten the winning ticket. There was nothing I could say or do. I just laughed. It was a slice of life of much more value than a winning ticket. Dogs are the best – usually. 

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