Nonfiction—Gold Rush Dogs

Gold Rush Dogs by Claire Rudolf Murphy and Jane G. Haigh

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Dog lovers and history buffs will delight in this collection celebrating the beloved canines that offered companionship, protection, and hard work to their masters in the Far North.

I came across this little coffee table-style book at the library book sale and the dog-lover in me knew I just had to have it.  And it did not disappoint!

These are the stories of some of Alaska’s more well-known dogs from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  There’s Stickeen, the small but brave Tahltan bear dog who accompanied naturalist John Muir on many of his Alaskan adventures;  Patsy Ann, the homeless bull terrier who greeted the incoming ships at the Juneau seaports until her death in 1942; Togo and Balto, both having their parts in the famous serum run of 1925; Nero, the loyal Saint Bernard devoted to his mistress; and several others.  The stories are short but well-focused on the faithfulness and tenacity of these amazing canines.

There are side stories about some of the historical figures like John Muir, Soapy Smith, and Scotty Allan, as well as  historical notes and breed information.

And the photographs!!  These by far are the best thing about the book!!

At only 119 pages, this is a quick glimpse into some of Alaska’s lesser-known history, a great little read for a cold winter afternoon.  Highly recommend.

“Any man can make friends with any dog…but it takes a long time and mutual trust and mutual forbearance and mutual appreciation to make a partnership.”   From Gold Rush Dogs, page 46

5 out of 5 stars!

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