KillerA Dog’s Soul

Every dog must have a soul
Somewhere deep inside
Where all his hurt and grievances
Are buried with his pride.
Where he decides the good and bad,
The wrong way from the right,
And where his judgment carefully
Is hidden from our sight.
A dog must have a secret place
Where every thought abides,
A sort of close acquaintance that
He trusts in and confides.
And when accused unjustly for
Himself, he cannot speak,
Rebuked, he finds within his soul
The comfort he must seek.
He’ll love, tho’ he is unloved,
And he’ll serve tho’ badly used,
And one kind word will wipe away
The times when he’s abused.
Altho’ his heart may break in two
His love will still be whole,
Because God gave to every dog
An understanding soul.

By an unknown author

 

Carrying the Mail

"Blowing like the very Devil,
Cannot even see the trail,
Mush, Rex, Mush. We got to make it,
We are carrying the mail.

"Down this creek a little further
Lives a Mother, old and frail,
She just lives to see this dog team
Bringing in the 'outside' mail.

"Her boy is a big-town Doctor,
Think she said he went to Yale,
She won't live in 'outside' cities,
So she lives with him by mail.

"Froze a foot when but a baby
And the magazines we bring
Keep her laughing all the Winter
Tide her over until Spring.

"For the two old Sourdough miners,
Just below her on the crick,
We are taking digitalis,
Seems that one of 'em is sick.

"Frozen fish for you tonight, Rex,
'Outside' people do not know
How we postmen of the Arctic
Battle gales and drifting snow.

"There's no cairns to mark the places
'Long some drifted dismal trail
Where the old dog mushers cashed in
Carrying the winter mail.

"Mush, Rex, mush - we got to hurry,
Friends ahead we cannot fail,
Uncle Sam's damn well proud of us,
We are carrying his mail."

By Charles E. Gillham

Sled Dog

You conquered the toughest country
Ever created on earth
Where you led, man followed your footsteps,
And the North was given birth.

Mountains you scaled to the sky-top,
Slippery glaciers crossed,
Muskegs and barrenland traveled,
By thousands your lives were lost.

Trails of the Arctic are dotted
With the bones of your brave race,
No pillars are erected to you,
No stones mark your last resting place.

Brown-eyed, happy, and gritty
You slaved, and your only pay
Was dry-fish, blubber, or muktuk
Thrown on the snow at your sleigh.

Without you, the Great North Country
Would yet be unknown to man.
There are insurmountable barriers
That only a dog can span.

Who went to the Pole with Peary?
Who carried serum to Nome?
Who rescued out shipwrecked sailors,
From the ice pack, brought them home?

Who traveled the creeks to Dawson,
Hauled the mail and packed out the ore,
Left crimsoned tracks along the Bering,
Heard Aleutian sea lions roar?

Who struggled, helping his master
On traplines barren and drear?
Fought polar bears from the caches,
Stood guard over those held dear?

Struggled through the overflow
Of frigid white glacier streams,
Dragging the sledge of a Siwash-
Mush-Mush-to an old squaw's screams.

Cut feet, sore back, empty belly,
Tottering and struggling ahead-
Falling at last in his harness-
Then dragged down the trail stone dead.

Mankind has borne persecution
To strengthen the human race,
But never forget the sled dogs
Who gave - and died - at the trace.

Descendant of wolf ancestors-
Tempered by hardship and pain,
Fighting a raw, tough country-
These bred the Husky Dog strain.

Most amazing was God's forethought,
How wondrous was His plan-
Developing the Husky Dog,
The ally and friend of Man.

You on the creeks and the tundra,
You in the squalid igloo,
Give thanks to God for the Husky
Who gave the Great North to you.

By Charles E. Gillham

The Husky's Lay

He's a big husky fellow with widespread eyes
With a marking of timber wolf strain,
Over a hundred pounds of muscle and brawn,
And a Spartan for standing pain.
The sting of a whip as he strains on his trace
He takes with scarcely a flinch,
With a look of reproach he keeps at his work,
He never gives up in a pinch.

At night, on the snow, by the flickering stars,
While the boreal lights whiz by,
He lifts to the Heavens his clear canine voice;
To the Dog Gods, up in the sky.
He sings of the woes of that northern land,
Of starvation - suffering - cold,
Of his puppy days spent, tied fast to a stake,
And then to an Indian sold.

He croons of the raw fish, that poor daily fare
That's thrown in the sand at his feet,
A wriggling creature of sharp bones and scales, -
But even a sled dog must eat.
He first gnaws the head from the cold wet thing,
Thus ending it's earthly woe,
Then the body, entrails - even the scales,
Are all stowed down safely below.

He howls to his Gods of the summers so hot,
And the days staked out on the bench,
Of time without end, and with nothing to eat,
And water, just out of his reach;
Of the hole that he dug alongside his stake
To escape the merciless flies,
Of his ears blood-red from mosquito bites,
His tight-shut and raw-swollen eyes.

He moans of toboggans o'erflowing with meat
He'd dragged till he fell by the way,
Of caribou offal received as his share
For all of his work on the sleigh;
Of the crimson trail left by his poor raw feet
That the rough jagged ice had cut,
Of the fall, and the jerk on his harness-sore neck
In the spill when they hit the rut.

He chants of deep snows and tangled thick bush,
Of barrenland hummocks so rough
That the sled would upset in the hard sharp rocks -
The beatings when going got tough;
Of starving for days in some miserable camp
While his master, crazy with 'hooch,'
Gambled his fox skins, the frivolous wastrel,
Or gave all his goods to some "klooch."

Then he barks of the time that is sure to come,
When broken - worn out - though young,
He'll be led in the bush - and cruelly shot -
With that his sad ballad is sung.
By his stake he curls up on the hard packed snow,
And covers his nose with his tail;
There he sleeps serene through the long Arctic night,
Tomorrow he'll be back on the trail.

When you hear dogs howl, be they Husky or Feist,
Remember the sled dog's sad lay,
And give them a feed, and a pat on the head,
Such friends are not made in a day.
And remember the Dog Gods up in the sky,
That hearken to all canine prayers,
Then the God of all men may listen to yours,
At the head of the Golden Stairs.

By Charles E. Gillham

Your Guide

He packs you in with a cheery grin,
He cares for your many needs,
And listens polite to your bull each night
As you brag of hunting deeds.

When daylight breaks, full of pain and aches,
He arises, makes the fire
While you lie in bed till you are fed;
He's the guide, who works for hire.

He carries your gun when the day is done
And carefully cleans the bore,
He bakes and stews, while you drink your booze
Or lie on your face and snore.

When you shoot a moose, or bear, in the spruce
He is there close by your side,
When you overshoot and miss the brute
You know you'll be alibied.

If your nerves are shot and you shake a lot,
Cold sweat pops from your hide-
You shoot at the bear and have no care
You are backed up by your guide.

When your picture's made, you sit in the shade
And watch him remove the skin,
Then lashed to a pack, high up on his back,
He carries your trophy in.

With your hunting done, you ship your gun
And the horns and heads and hide,
And with tearful eye, you say goodbye
As you take leave of your guide.

It's a darn good bet you will forget,
When at home by your warm fireside,
Of the misses made, how you shook and prayed,
Will he tell? Hell, no! He's your guide.

By Charles E. Gillham

Breaking the Trail

There are great yarns told of the hardy men
Who travel the Arctic trails.
Of heroes - Doctors and Mounted Police -
Writers just dote on such tales.
But, while striving Doctors save a life
Or Police make criminals quail,
There's an unsung hero who does the work-
He's the man who breaks the trail.

There's a child to be born at Shingle Point-
A Doctor must come right away-
"Hook up the dogs, Joe, and spread
My eider-down robe in the sleigh/"
And poor native Joe's so sorry for Doc-
Two hundred pounds and so frail-
As he tucks him in his snug warm robe,
And runs forward to break the trail.

A patrol is made across the Polar Sea
And into the Barren Land-
The Royal Police bravely face their task,
For they "always get their man";
Wrapped snug and warm in their sleeping robes
They face the Arctic gale:
The Native dog driver mushes ahead-
He's the man who breaks the trail.

Wherever you go, you are always told
Of heros, brave and true-
Who conquered - or built - or found - or destroyed,
And maybe that man is you.
But regardless of who the great ones are-
Invariably without fail-
You will find that sometime, struggling ahead,
Was a man who broke the trail.

It may have been the plan of our Maker
For some men to go ahead
And break the trail and do the hard work,
While others rode on the sled.
Deep down in your heart you know very well
That if you succeed or fail,
To be to yourself a hero or man
You must learn to break the trail.

By Charles E. Gillham