Cover image for Colter : the true story of the best dog I ever had
Colter : the true story of the best dog I ever had
Bass, Rick, 1958-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Co., 2000.
Physical Description:
xv, 188 pages ; 21 cm
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 7.0 8.0 41132.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
SF428.5 .B336 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
SF428.5 .B336 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Colter was the runt of the litter, and Rick Bass took him only because nobody else would. Soon, though, Bass realized he had a raging genius on his hands, and he raided his daughters' college fund to send Colter to the best schools. Colter could be a champion, Rick was told, but he'd have to be broken, slowed down. Rick "could no more imagine a slowing-down Colter than a slow-motion bolt of lightning in the sky," and instead of breaking Colter he followed him. Colter led him into new territory, an unexplored land where he felt more alive, more intimately connected to the world, than he'd ever been before. In the course of telling us Colter's story, Rick Bass also tells us of his childhood fascination with snapping turtles and dirt, and of the other animals - including people - that have shaped his life. COLTER is an interspecies love story that vividly captures the relationship between humans and dogs. Like all of Bass's work, it is passionate, poetic, and original.

Author Notes

Rick Bass is the author of sixteen acclaimed books of fiction & nonfiction, including "Where the Sea Used to Be" & "The Sky, the Stars, the Wilderness".

(Bowker Author Biography) Rick Bass has authored works of fiction & nonfiction, including "Colter", "The Ninemile Wolves", "Oil Notes", & "The Watch". He lives in Yaak, Montana.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

"How we fall into grace. You can't work or earn your way into it. You just fall. It lies below, it lies beyond. It comes to you, unbidden," writes novelist and essayist Bass (Where the Sea Used to Be, etc.) of the arrival of his "goofy little knot-headed" genius of a pointing dog. As they roam the remote western Montana valley where Bass lives, and hunt the golden autumn plains in the eastern part of the state, Colter unfailingly ushers Bass into "an unexplored land" where the two become "as alive as we have ever been: our senses so sharp and whittled alive that we could barely stand it." Their prolonged hours of "wanting only one thing, a bird, wanting it so effortlessly and purely that [we] come the closest [we] will ever come to a shared language" are a blessing. But always, for Bass, there is the undertow of paradox: of living for the hunt but being a comically rotten marksman; of being a hunter yet an environmentalist; of his tendency to love with "a passion so intense it borders on gluttony," inevitably followed by the crushing numbness that marks the loss of what he loves. Bass's exhaustless appetite for natural beauty and his propensity for "bragging on" his dog occasionally lead to exuberant repetition ("It was just so damn great to be out in such open country with my dogs"), but more often result in luminously transcendent passages on the education and sorrowful loss of a brilliant and mischievous chocolate brown pointer that will transfix anyone who has ever loved a dog. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This delightful book is really a love story about the special bond and level of understanding that can exist between a man and his dog. It is also a story that celebrates nature, describing life in the Montana woods and the thrill of hunting in the never-ending fields at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. In his latest book, nature writer Bass (The Sky, the Stars, the Wilderness) tells the story of life with a very special hunting dog. Colter is the runt of the litter, and Bass ends up buying the pup because no one else wants him. But as he grows, Colter's instinct takes over, and his passion for hunting is unequalled. The dog's abilities are so outstanding that Bass, admittedly a poor shot, feels guilty when he misses a bird because he feels that he is letting his dog down. His enthusiasm is contagious and somewhat amusing: Bass loves to hunt, but does not particularly care whether he shoots anything; it is the thrill of watching his dog work that he finds exciting. Recommended for public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/00; BOMC selection.]DDeborah Emerson, Monroe Community Coll., Rochester, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



One After that first miracle season-miraculous if only for one grouse at dusk, in which flame leapt from the end of the gun-I had a hard decision to make. I didn't know much about birds, or bird-hunting, but I knew that I had a raging genius on my hands. And I'd bragged on him to my friend Jarrett Thompson, the best trainer in the world, who was anxious to see Colter and to work with him. Jarrett's Old South Pointer Farm was in Texas, though, and it seemed inconceivable to me to separate from Colter. To not be the one to feed him twice a day-to not have him bounding ahead of me on walks. To not see him for weeks at a time-as if he had cast too far out in front of me, working some thin ribbon of scent. As if he were up ahead, hunting without me. I went back and forth in my mind, tortured. It took about a month before I finally decided to do what was best for Colter, rather than for me. I flew to Houston with him in the spring, and then my father and I drove him up to Jarrett's place. Jarrett complimented Colter on his good looks: he was the only brown dog on the farm, amidst perhaps a hundred other white dogs-white and lemon pointers, white and liver ones. Colter's muscles stood out deeper than those of the other dogs. I said my good-byes to him and left, and I carried with me that huge and strangely empty feeling of having made a life-changing, or life-turning, decision, but having no clue whatsoever whether it was the right one. Some people say pointers are crazy, others say it is their owners. Jarrett's too diplomatic to take sides, but he has some stories. One of his favorite's is about this big hunter from Florida-big in the sense that he weighed three hundred pounds. The guy came to Jarrett's farm to drop his dog off, and at the moment of parting, he hugged his dog-a monster itself, an English pointer weighing almost eighty pounds-and then he took Jarrett aside and handed him a gallon of Jack Daniels. "Now Thompson," he says, "Old Buck and I each have a glass of whiskey in the evenings after we get through hunting, and I expect y'all to do the same." Then there was the oil man from west Texas, Odessa, who decided he wanted a bird dog-one of the best-but he wanted a friendly dog, one he could keep in the house. So he flew to Rosanky in his Lear jet and picked out one of the dogs Jarrett had raised and trained to sell. It cost him about three thousand dollars to bring the jet over there, and another twenty-five hundred for the dog, Ned. Jarrett drove him back to the airport in Austin, where the jet was waiting, oil derricks painted on its tail. The oil man put Ned right up there in the front seat and strapped him in with the shoulder harness next to the pilot, Ned looking all around and wondering, perhaps, if he would ever hunt again. The pilot, says Thompson, was rolling his eyes-dog hair on the seat and Ned panting, Ned slobbering. A week later Thompson got a call from the oil man. "I think Ned's homesick," he said. "C Excerpted from Colter: The True Story of the Best Dog I Ever Had by Rick Bass All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.