I’ll always remember the final days of my childhood dog, a white lab named Duchess who could damn near swim underwater like a polar bear to chase down crippled ducks. I was living with my brother and a couple of buddies in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula when her health started to fail. The saddest thing was that she could no longer get up and about. We’d come home from class and she’d be on the floor in a puddle of urine. Her sense of shame about not making it outside in time was palpable. Being low on money and not particularly educated in the ways of veterinarians, my brother and I asked a friend to put her down for us. He took a spade and dug a deep hole in the Hiawatha National Forest and then dispatched the dog with the same pump-action 30-30 that he used on whitetails.

I was reminded of this story a few times in the last couple months. The first time was while interviewing my friend Bart George on the MeatEater Podcast about a recent and bloody run-in that his dog Nosey had with a mountain lion in Washington. The second time occurred last month while filming down in the jungles of Guyana in South America. We were staying in a Makushi village of about 300 residents and they reported to us that a jaguar had been coming among their homes at night and carrying off dogs. In all, it had killed 24 dogs over the past two months. It killed another while we were there. The final and third reminder was just a few days ago when my friend Ronny Boehme told me that two of his most prized dogs, Oscar and Katie, had died under strange circumstances at a training event in southern Indiana. As you can imagine, he’s devastated.

Taken together, all of these coincidences seem somehow to be more than coincidental. Considering it all, we’ve decided that it’s an appropriate time to share footage of an interview with an Amerindian hunter and fisherman that we recorded a couple of years ago while traveling with the Tsimane people of Bolivia. In remembrance of all those dogs who have broken our hearts…