Arctic Animal Adventures & My Journey to a Roommate with Paws

I’ve been on the search for a dog since 8th grade when Babe, our family Rottweiler, passed away. Babe had been my pal. I had been her human. I also forced her to pull me around in a harness and sled, fulfilling my dogsledding dreams.

My family has had multiple dogs since Babe, but I long dreamed for one of my own. Having a dog however doesn’t fit with a lifestyle of travel and living abroad.

Last winter, during the middle school basketball season, a group of young students showed up at my door carrying a puppy.

“Do you want a puppy? If you don’t take her they have to shoot her.”

I have always had the softest spot for animals, especially those in need of care. So after talking to my roommate, I brought the puppy into the home.

But she was too young. I was too busy. We didn’t have the resources to take care of a puppy that we estimated to be 3 or 4 weeks old.

48 hours and no sleep later, I gave her back to the family, telling them that I would take her in a few more weeks, that she needed a mother dog’s milk. They never did bring her by later.

Then there was the kitten. A kitten that had been found in the middle of the road and needed a temporary foster home.

She was a he. And he was wild. And I had an air mattress. And my roommate doesn’t care for cats much.

We’d been on the lookout for a dog, preferably a retiring sleddog, one that would be older and calmer, enjoy being outside and we could give a good end of its life.

Then, Bering popped up on our Facebook feed. My roommate was in a village and had minimal Facebook access, but for some reason, that post loaded.

She didn’t send it to me until she got back into town, and I decided that I’d just reach out and see if the 11-12 week old lab/shepherd mix pup was still in need of a new home. She was…and before we knew it we were arranging to send a kennel to a village, buying insurance, and getting our paperwork ready to keep her.

Originally, Qiitmik (Iñupiaq for dog), Bering joined us the Monday of Thanksgiving week, flying in from Selawik on Bering Air. Lucky enough for us, both my roommate and I had the day off on Tuesday because of a blizzard. We also had Thursday and Friday off for the long holiday weekend.

Routine set in after that…and the new routine has been a lack of routine in our lives and location, but one in her daily habits. She is smart and sweet and full of energy.

The month with her has helped us get outside more. It means we take longer walks and get more fresh air. It also has helped us join the secret club of dog owners and connect more with our neighbors.

Stay tuned for Bering adventures…and hopefully her pulling our groceries and packages around town in a sled.