Rethinking Pet Insurance

toby and me

Toby helps me write a blog post

Two weeks ago our golden retriever Toby tore ligaments in both of his back knees. Toby had been favoring his right back paw for about a week and was due for X-rays. When he tried to hop in the back seat of our car to go cool off in the Battenkill, he missed the jump and tore the ligament in his other knee, leaving him hobbling gamely and painfully on both his back paws. 

Our veterinarian, whom we like a great deal, explained that Toby’s injuries were in part genetic. X-rays showed that the ligament in his right knee had been fraying slowly over time. The left knee blew out when he missed his leap into the back seat. Unless we wanted Toby to be limping badly for the rest of his life (he’ll be seven years old this fall) the only reasonable plan was to get surgery. 

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Fly-Fishing Week in Review

Cover of the Latest flymage magazine

The cover of the latest issue of flymage.

Welcome to our new weekly roundup of news from across the world of fly fishing. Every Monday morning, we’ll bring you up to speed on interesting stories, new records, important conservation news, and anything else we think you should know about.

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Gar-mageddon at the Ditch Pickle Classic

Ditch Pickle Opener

Ken Capsey with one of the skinny, slimy monsters that saved his team in the Ditch Pickle Classic on Vermont’s Lake Champlain.

photo by Drew Price

For a while I didn’t think that I was going to be able to fish in the Ditch Pickle Classic. I kept hitting up buddies to fish it with me, but everyone seemed to be out for that weekend or didn’t want to fish it. A last-minute cancellation left pike-nut Ken Capsey without a partner, too, so we joined forces to hit up Lake Champlain’s first and only fly-fishing bass tournament.

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Today’s Top Ten Flies: Tom Rosenbauer

We’re introducing a new feature at, in which we ask well-known anglers and guides to give us their Top 10 patterns. Sometimes the list will be species- or water-specific, but we’ll also feature collections of flies you should never be without, no matter where or when you are fishing. Obviously, these are subjective lists—based on. . .

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Three Conventional Choices for Canine Cancer Treatment

Orvis Cover Dog Contest - Tazz & Mica

Throughout the years, dogs have benefitted from improvements in veterinary care. More are living longer as a consequence of improved nutrition, better vaccination protocols, and evolving standards of care in both general and specialty practices. If there is a downside to living longer, it is that more dogs live to so-called “cancer ages,” late middle age to geriatric. If a dog reaches ten years of age, it has a 50-50 chance of developing cancer. How can a rational treatment plan be developed?

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The Vanishing Salmon of California’s Bay-Delta Estuary



The San Francisco Bay Delta is formed where the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers join in Northern California. The delta is an important resource for both fisherman and farmers. However, as with many rivers systems, far more water has been diverted from these rivers for irrigation than is needed for the farming, and the fish populations are being devastated. In this compelling video by the NRDC, we learn that salmon populations dropped from 1.4 million to 39,000 between 2002 and 2009, a 90% collapse. But action is being taken, and awareness of the problem is being raised, in part by videos such as this one above.

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Friday Film Festival 07.29.11

Welcome to another edition of the Friday Film Festival, in which we scour the web for the best fly-fishing footage available. This week’s collection has got it all: freshwater, warmwater, and saltwater action. From the chilly northeast of Norway to the marlin-filled waters off the coast of Australia, anglers continue to produce high-quality footage for the rest of us who can’t be there. But it’s not just entertainment: there’s educational value here, as well. Did you ever want. . .

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Master Fish Carver Commemorates Your Fish of a Lifetime

A wood carving by master carver Ellen McCaleb

In years past, when fly fishers wanted to commemorate a fish-of-a-lifetime, they often had to sacrifice the fish itself for a skin mount. In more recent times, catch-and-release has become the common practice, and anglers now rely primarily on wood carvings, fiberglass molds, and photos to recall that day and show the fish to other anglers. But many of us are not very good photographers, and, frankly, many wood and fiberglass mounts don’t bring the fish to “life” as much as one hopes.

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Fly Fishing for Bonefish in Cuba

Ok, so the video isn’t the best quality we’ve ever seen, and the narration is in Italian. But we all know the language of fly fishing the flats and that surge of a bonefish when it takes off and the reel sings.

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“Taking Your Chances” with Brown Trout on the Battenkill

Ghost Brown Trout

This is the picture I should have been posting this morning, but alas I didn’t “take my chance” when it presented itself. So I must be content with this imaginary brown trout.

photo-illustration by James Daley

In this country, the phrase “to take your chances” usually means to try something that may end up being a disaster—as in “You’re taking your chances driving on those bald tires.” But across the pond, they have another way of using this phrase. 

I watch a lot of English soccer (which they call “football,” of course), and they use slightly different wording to express something quite different from the American version. To “take your chance,” in this instance, means to make the most of the chances presented to you. So, for instance, if a player is presented with a good look at goal and buries the ball in the back of the net, the announcer will say that he “has taken his chance well.” Alternatively, the losing coach might say that the reaon his team lost was that they  “didn’t take their chances.” Because good scoring chances come infrequently in soccer, you must “take your chances” if you want to win.

This meaning of the phrase was driven home for me early this morning on the Battenkill. Eric Rickstad and I hit the water at 5 a.m., hoping to tempt some big. . .

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