November 19, 2017

Badger’s Escape from confinement leaves Indelible Mark upon Town, Part I

Badger, the Husky Dog of Local Legend

‘Badger’s Escape from confinement leaves Indelible Mark upon Town’ is the first of a two-part story you’ll need to commit to tuning back into on tomorrow’s post to discover its ending. Believe me – if you’ve got a single funny bone left in your body, that’s a commitment you won’t regret making!

In another story stolen from my past life stream to entertain my avid readers here’s the one about Badger, another four-footed critter who inhabited my life for a time.

One of the sheer pleasures of living in the smaller communities of the North Land is the ability to own dogs. For some people, as many damn dogs as they want, come to that. But this particular tale starts out with only one of them in mind.

I’m working as a guard in the Whitehorse RCMP lockup when I show up one day for my shift to find a four month old Husky pup running around the cell block, enthusiastically dropping his nuggets and pee all over the floor. It seems he was “arrested” downtown for wandering around without any tags on, and they’re going to keep him under the care and supervision of the guards until a public plea to locate his owner gets him sprung from the jug.

Needless to say the owners are never found, and rather than see this pup wind up on the short end of a needle putting him to sleep, guess who elects to name him and take him home? Yup, that would be me. I name him Badger because of the mask-markings on his face, and judging by the disposition he displays from time to time I’d have to say he was well named.

Strangely enough I only ever took one picture of this gorgeous mutt to be able to prove those markings to you, so what you see of him here is all you get.

Badger grows quick and beautiful and lives with us at an old transplanted WWII house the wife and I are renting for a while in the community we’ve moved to – him in the fenced back yard on a wire run, and us obviously in the marginally better quarters inside the place. I say marginally because, considering the walls are composed only of skinny two-inch thick tin-test walls in the Land of -40 Below, it’s no wonder it takes fourteen cords of wood to survive the first winter in it.

True to his breed, Badger develops some peculiar characteristics and quirks – one of which is the way he decides to respond, or not, to the flat of my hand whacking on the inside wall of the house telling him to shut his too-often barking mouth. He’s pretty much decided to adopt the approach that at least one or two solid whacks is the required norm before his jaws close from barking and start their grinning back at me through the window.

This particular day begins in just that way. I’m sitting at the kitchen table, looking out the window and grumpily trying to siphon down my first cup of morning coffee, when Badger decides to start a barking campaign. I whack hard on the wall expecting he’ll hear me and shut his yap, but no such luck on the first time out. He keeps up his barking while staring at me through the window and daring me to hit the wall again.

So I do just that – over and over and over again as it turns out – but he still keeps his motor-mouth running full bore. Finally, in utter frustration and a fair bit of morning anger at his stubbornness I hit the wall so hard with my fist that it sinks halfway through it, leaving a significant dent in our ability to keep the next winter outdoors. He hears the  clear difference in impact on that one though and immediately parks his butt on the ground, his tongue lolling from his mouth between grinning jaws as he looks at me in sheer animal delight at having provoked me.

I’m staring daggers at him through the window while simultaneously admiring his absolutely gorgeous hide, when the first two lines of a Robert Service poem begin parading through my head. They go like this…”Me and the boys were whooping it up, one night at the Malemute Saloon…”

And then these lines suddenly begin to transmute themselves in my mind while I’m glaring at Badger, and I begin to laugh uproariously at what they’re saying back at me. It turns out that I can hardly grab pen and paper quick enough, let alone keep up with the lines of it as this one pours out of me – or out of Badger, you might say…

If you want to know the rest of the story of how a Badger’s Escape from confinement leaves Indelible Mark upon Town, you’ll have to come back first thing tomorrow morning…but be sure to put your coffee cup down before you begin reading it!

Comments

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