Friday, April 27, 2012

Bringing Home the Pups

I got Jimmy and Will when they were eleven weeks old, from people in California. I didn’t know about a lot of things in my life, but at the time I had just turned forty and I was so ready to take on the challenge of raising two Airedale terriers. I didn’t know how much raising them and having them as adults would change my life – no idea. But one thing is certain; I wouldn’t change the experience for the world.
Here’s an excerpt from Afoot in the Midnight Sun, a book I wrote about my dogs and hiking in Alaska.
I was housesitting when I first brought the pups back from California. Jimmy and Will almost destroyed my parents’ back yard. I had a summer job for the Oregon Fish and Wildlife in Roseburg while my parents were on a road trip to Alaska enjoying the glory days of retirement....
     I slept outside all summer with Jimmy and Will. It was safer for the inside of the house. But the backyard took a huge punishment from those two little tykes. They chewed on everything: wood, sticks, dirt, clothes, my shoes, and most of all they loved to devour cardboard. If they got hold of cardboard they’d chew it up and eat the entire thing. And earplugs. They must have thought they were some sort of dog treat. “Don’t eat those,” I’d say to them as they plucked them off the table. “It’s not food.” They probably liked the shape and texture, but if I left some earplugs sitting out, they’d be gone. I used to find earplugs, cardboard, clothes, and other things in their poop. It was astounding how they ate just as many inedible objects as they did food. “Don’t you guys ever get stomach aches,” I’d ask them, but they usually kept chewing on a stick or something, occasionally glancing at me out of the corner of their eye. When they got older and were cutting their permanent teeth, they chewed all the corners off the picnic table. “You crazy knuckleheads,” I’d say merrily. I liked them the way they were, outgoing and without inhibition. “You guys can do anything,” I would tell them sometimes when they fell asleep for the night. And when they finally slept, they slept like the world had stopped.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dog Packing With Airedale terriers

After three months, I get more supplies - Brooks Range, Alaska.

This is a video shot during my fourth-month trek across the Brooks Range with my Airedale terriers Jimmy and Will. Will is wearing the pack. Jimmy passed away from lmyphoma when he was five - so very sad to see him go.