Actually the dog’s name is Peg and she is our current canine companion out at Lake Laberge. We have had quite a number of canine pets that lived their lives out with us at the lake over the years. Only on a very rare occasion during the past 35 years have we gone on a river trip without at least one canine companion in the boat with us.
In our outfitting days a small black bundle of energy named Pepper came with us on most of the guided trips. She even came with her own tent – a manufacturer’s model dome tent – and she insisted that it be first up at the campsite.
Over the years we have had Razzle, a Shepard and Jake, a loose-jointed husky cross that presented us with six squirming black bundles of joy shortly after she arrived at our doorstep. We lost Razzle to a pack of wolves in her third winter with us and Jake after a particularly busy morning of fending off her lively youngsters, went walkabout and left us to deal with her just-weaned offspring.
Perhaps our most memorable pair of dogs were two waifs that I picked up at a downtown Whitehorse. The folks there simply had too many to deal with at one time and were glad to let me pick one from the litter of eight youngsters. I am prone to female dogs for various reasons but as I was leaving the place, a little light coloured male pup stood up against the side of the pen and gave me the most woeful look as if to say: “take me, take me please!” Of course I couldn’t resist the little newborn and took him along with his sister to their new home at the lake.
Now you’re probably wondering what a dog named “John” has to do with all this? Well, each of the four-legged creatures mentioned above, except for Peg, loved fresh fish – cooked mind you. When we went out on a camping river trip it was totally unnecessary to bring any kind of special dog food. They lived off the land.
John is a sibling of mine that, like Peg, would sooner starve than eat fresh fish. I’ve taken him fishing and he’s caught his share but will not eat the catch if it in any way smells like fish – think a can of Tuna or a Macdonald’s Filet-O-Fish. Go figure! Naturally, when Peg’s peculiar hang-up came to light, it immediately triggered thoughts of brother John.
Peg, like John loves getting involved in the action of catching the fish. She enthusiastically barks and launches herself into the river each time a lure is cast and wades in to help you retrieve the catch. She’ll play with the fish as it flops around on the beach, lick it a time or two. In the bottom of the boat she’ll sit beside it, play with it and subdue it if it shows any kind of life, but when it comes to dinnertime, Uh..Uh!
She’s a challenge. The next trip I plan to give her no choice in the matter and by taking along a companion dog that I know is partial to fish hopefully her peculiar dietary aversion will become a thing of the past.