Dog comes to man in dream, inspires fishing trip

Tina Harbuck
Paris, a French herding dog, was a beloved pet of Bob Wilder.

Whether it was a dream or apparition, Bob Wilder’s beloved dog and friend Paris, who died a few weeks ago, has passed on a good idea – take dogs fishing with kids.

But not just any kids. The idea is to take foster kids with foster dogs.

“I don’t know where it came from; I just woke up with that on my brain,” Wilder said. “Paris came to me three nights ago and said to take five dogs from a shelter fishing with the kids.”

What better time to go than during the Destin Fishing Rodeo in October.

Wilder, who splits his time between Memphis, Tenn., and a condo in Destin, is president of the board of directors for the Larry Hatchett Fishing Foundation, which has taken more than 100 foster children fishing during the rodeo the past couple decades. The children fish aboard the New Florida Girl and the New Florida Girl’s American Spirit with Capt. Jim Westbrook and Capt. Jim Green.

Since the dream, Wilder has contacted Alaqua Animal Refuge, which handles rescue dogs and pets that are up for adoption, to take five of the rescue dogs on the fishing trip.

“We would be taking five dogs with handlers,” Wilder said.

The Larry Hatchett Fishing Day this year is set for Oct. 15 and Wilder is anticipating taking about 105 foster children fishing.

“I think having the dogs and kids will be good,” Wilder said. “Our hope is that one of the families will adopt one of the dogs.

“Sometimes dogs are better than people,” he added.

Wilder’s dog Paris was a Briard, a French herding dog – thus the name Paris.

“Also known as a heart wrapped in fur,” Wilder said. “She was my No. 1 child, faithful, obedient and highly intelligent. … She had a capacity for 200 words.”

However a few weeks ago, Wilder had to have Paris, who was 12, put down.

He had taken Paris to the vet after she had developed a limp and couldn’t standup. It appeared to be a spinal problem.

“I asked if her quality of life was going to improve,” Wilder said.

When the answer was no, he knew what he had to do.

Paris was not his only furry friend. They have a pair of cats and an 18-year-old blind Havanese named Chrissy Cringle.

“I got her for the kids as a Christmas present 18 years ago,” he said, adding that she’s “healthy and happy as long as I don’t move the furniture.”