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The Alaska Series: The Dogs

3 of a 5 part series. Read part 4 here

The dogs, Cambu and Hera, were a bigger responsibility than I’d thought. I’d never been in charge of a pet before (except for an unfortunate incident with a fish) but I was ready to learn.

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Hera: the most spastic and youthful dog I’ve ever met. She’s always ready to play.

I was a little concerned with all of the directions I received about them.

Approach them from the side. Don’t look them in the eyes. Don’t reach out your hand to pet them. Don’t approach them while they are eating. Show dominance. They probably won’t like you. Be prepared to lock them up if they try to attack you.

I was a little nervous.

However, in the end, they became my wild and vivacious best friends. I would whisper secrets in their fur and they stayed by my side. But they were a lot of work. They were territorial, untrained and strong. They were raised as sled dogs and even if I rooted myself to the ground with all of my strength, they could yank me a dozen feet away in seconds.

They figured out how to break their leashes, run away and eat/destroy everything in the path. They terrified strangers. Once, while I was walking the dogs, Cambu broke free to circle a distant neighbor’s house. I spent almost an hour chasing after him. The neighbor, watching from us from the window, shouted at me,

“If I were any other neighbor out here, you would’ve been shot already for trespassing!”

“Thanks for not shooting at me, sir,” I called back as flatly as I could manage.

I eventually gave up on Cambu, turning back and getting the car and slowly driving down the dirt road with the back door open. Cambu came hurdling at me within minutes and jumped in the backseat, exhausted.

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Cambu’s guilty face.

Hera, on the other hand, was untrained. She chewed up the seatbelts in the car. She pooped in the house and smeared it across the floor. She climbed on top of the trash can, then the counter and ate all of her dog treats from the top shelf. Whenever we went for a walk, she constantly stopped to eat grass and play in the dirt.

But the dogs pulled me away whenever they sensed danger was near. They slept at the foot of my bed. They fought each other for my attention whenever I petted one of them for too long.  I loved them.

 

3 of a 5 part series.
Read part 4 here.

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