Man’s best friend had sticky paws

Thieving pup gave a new meaning to the term “hot dog”

My friend and neighbor Murray Martin brought me an article he once wrote. “Just a dog” reminded me of a very smart and loyal little dog that we had many years ago.

He was the runt of the litter, born without a tail. Chuck Charchuk, my brother-in-law, told me to pick the runt of the litter as they are generally smarter than the rest of the pups. We never taught him to do tricks, though he shook hands and sat up for a treat. At that time, Watson Lake was an unincorporated community. There were no animal bylaws, so dogs could run at large.  

His only problem was that he became a thief. His first attempt at larceny was $3.48 in packaged short ribs. He brought them home and deposited them at my feet. Marjorie, my wife, said I should spank him, but he was looking for a pet and a “good dog, Jim” rather than a spank. 

Over the next few years he brought home several slabs of bacon, three sirloin steaks, a cooked roast from a neighbor’s barbecue and plenty of other stuff to share with us. The meat was usually wrapped in butcher’s paper, suggesting he stole it from someone’s vehicle.

It was remarkable that he never put teeth marks on any of the meat that he brought home, nor did he eat the goodies until we got our share and then told him to take his. Gerry Amann, one of the partners at the grocery store, said that Jimmy Jack hung out in front of the store during the summer and when Gerry chased him away, he ran behind the building, through the open back door, where he’d steal something from the butcher shop.

I worked as a clerk for CN Telecommunications in Watson Lake, Yukon. Jim went to work with me five days a week. The other staff members liked Jim and sometimes brought him treats. In 1967, I changed jobs and drove a freight truck for the department of public works. Some weeks I was away from home for two or three days. When this happened, Jim waited for me in the back of my pick-up. Marjorie went and got him, took him home and fed him, but always ran back to my truck to wait for me.

Jim liked Chuck Charchuk and went to visit him monthly. Charchuk owned the Cedar Lodge Motel, restaurant and gas station. He also had two big German shepherd dogs that didn’t like Jimmy Jack. Jim dealt with that in an interesting way. One day our horse, Red, who was Jim’s friend, was out of his corral and loose in our yard. Jim and Red went to the Cedar Lodge, about two kilometres from our place. Jim stayed near the horse, so the large dogs couldn’t attack him. If they got close, Red would kick them.

We had Jimmy Jack for 14 years. One day he just disappeared and we never saw him again. As far as I know, no one else did either.

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