|Mark with Half-grown Anoka|
My son Mark may hate me for publishing this picture from the early 80s but it really isn't for teasing him, but for showing you our pet, Anoka.
Her mother, whom I met, was an 80-pound Alaskan sled dog and her father, whom I also met when I went to pick up this warm ball-of-fur puppy, was a 90 pound Timberwolf. But as you can see, she didn't bear much physical resemblance to her mother. Most people took her to be all wolf.
She was an extremely sweet creature, most affectionate, and gentle as a kitten.
She did have one or two serious shortcomings as a pet, though. When you'd come home, if she were indoors, she would come and greet you with such delight that she'd lose control and pee all over your shoes. She never was housebroken; eventually we gave up and Anoka had to live outdoors in a kennel.
Not only was she not house trained, you couldn't train her, period. No "Sit!", no "Stay!" and most importantly, no "Come!" That's why Mark is holding her by her collar.
And that's why I should never have let her off the leash that evening when Erin and I, and my Cousin Ruthie, went walking. Cousin Ruthie had her dog, Brandy, and we were strolling in the pleasant early evening on the campus of Wake Forest University, after Anoka was fully grown. When we came to the Quad, Ruthie let Brandy off the leash, and she couldn't stand to see Anoka still unfree. So she begged and I gave in and unsnapped the leash.
It was a fine, warm, spring evening, and across the Quad, a set of French doors was wide open, giving onto a raised, stone patio. Up the stairs to that patio Anoka ran, following her nose, and through the French doors, straight into the student dining room.
By the time we arrived, she was standing on the nearest table, literally wolfing down everybody's suppers, while they shrank back in terror.
I was absolutely too embarrassed to go in there and get her. I made Ruthie do it. And with a heavy sigh, I confess I didn't so much as show my face, much less offer to reimburse anybody for his or her meal. We just fled.
There was only one other time Anoka got away. Her leash broke while I was walking her and she bolted into the road, right into the path of a monster truck. I'm happy to report she did not suffer, and sorry to report how relieved I was.
|Erin with Anoka, Still a Puppy|