There is something about a dog that affects me emotionally. Like most people, I anthropomorphize the actions of my dog as if he were literate, intuitive and highly philosophical. That’s why I love John Muir’s wonderful story about a stray dog who changed his life.
John Muir was an early explorer of Yosemite and an advocate for the preservation of wilderness in the United States. Through his efforts, along with Theodore Roosevelt, Yosemite was saved from mining and grazing and preserved as a National Park. Muir was the founder of the Sierra Club.
The dog that came into Muir’s life was named “Stickeen,” a name given him because he was adopted by the Stickeen tribe of Alaska. He was a special dog, smart, with eyes that made him seem very wise and knowing.
John Muir met Stickeen in Southeastern Alaska in 1869, where Muir was studying glaciers, those great slow moving rivers of ice. Muir theorized that ancient glaciers had formed part of Yosemite. He wanted to know about glaciers to see if his theory was true.
Stickeen was a kind of mascot of the exploring party, but he took to Muir….in fact he became so attached he followed Muir onto a dangerous crevasse covered glacier, where they became trapped!
John Muir wrote: “Of the many perils encountered in my years of wandering on mountains and glaciers none seemed so plain and stern and merciless as this. And it was presented when we were wet to the skin and hungry, the sky dark with quick driving snow, and the night near. But we were forced to face it. It was a tremendous necessity.”
Muir recounted his near death experience with Stickeen at campfires in Yosemite, time after time, until he had perfected the tale in his mind and finally wrote it down. It became one of his most popular books.
I have always loved the story and recorded Stickeen as a Listen2Read audiobook.
Stickeen is available from most places you download audiobooks.
There is a single CD version of the audiobook I have given out to friends as a Holiday present. If you’d like to give it too, it’s available from here:
Best wishes for the Holiday Season, with the hope that next year this terrible pandemic will end and we will all be safe.
If you subscribe to an audiobook download library, “Stickeen” is available with your subscription to Audible.com, I-Tunes, Apple Books, Google Play, NOOK, Scribed.com, Tune-in.com, Downpour.com, Audiobooks.com, Bibliotheca, Playstar, Folliett, and your local public library through the Overdrive system.