November 18, 2001
Post #1392 – 20011118
Several years ago, maybe 1988, I remember 7 (I think) wonderful pieces that aired on NPR called the Dog Days of Summer. The stories were about Jacque and Arnold among others. “Arnold” was a dog and story I have thought about thousands of times because at the time I had two 1 year old Alaska Malamutes, and was living in a cabin in Fairbanks where they were born and raised by me. People I know who heard the Arnold story driving home had to pull over and cry. It was so powerful. I now live in Boston (I am a television reporter) and yesterday, I had to put the second of my two, Elias, to sleep. It was the worst thing I have ever done in my life. I just can’t believe he is gone. 14 years is great for a 120 lb Malamute, and he was very special. He and his brother who died two years ago of cancer were left in a bag in a dumpster at 38 below zero Christmas eve 1987. I remember bits of the Arnold story like yesterday, “He would pull you up a steep hill if you were tired… the wrong stuff in the syringe…Arnold I release you..the vet and I went outside and cried for a quarter of an hour.” In Jacque’s story when talking about the pound…”the dogs that don’t get adopted die, and they know it.”
Now all these years later…I wonder where I might find those recordings. Can you help, Daniel Pinkwater? Wrangell and Elias were my best buddies ever. I grew up and became a man in Alaska and they were my last connection.
The Arnold story is in a new book, just published: UNCLE BORIS IN THE YUKON, (Simon and Schuster). Malamutes are supposed to check out at around 9 years, as you know. They stick around longer sometimes--I've always thought it was because they were enjoying themselves especially.