Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Cat, kitten, feline? No...Doggie and the Dock!

Tonight, our focus will not be on Nugget or Beaker. But, instead we will be telling an incredible story about a real life puppy dog that lived in Northern Minnesota in the mid 1960's as told by Louise.

Years ago when I was a teenager I lived across highway 61 from Lake Superior. The largest fresh water lake in the world. Highway 61 is the same two lane road Bob Dylan wrote about in his first album, Highway 61 Revisited. It is the most awesome unpolluted waters you will find anywhere. This magnificent lake also served as my brothers and sisters and my swimming pool in the summer months.

On the other end of our community lived another Minnesota family with four children. We in my family were five children. Our families were dissimliar in one important way. The Anderson children did not have the kind of restrictions my father placed on our playtime. If the activity was deemed unsafe the Pearson children (that was us) were not allowed to parttake in the adventure. For example: my father always tested the ice on "the Lake" before we could touch a skate to it. He'd bundle up against the chilly Minnesota winter. Toting his double-edged axe, he'd make a hole in the ice about 50 feet from shore. Then gage the thickness of the ice. If it was 10 or more inches thick the ice touraments commenced. Otherwise Carlson Creek served as the alternative.

Now the Anderson children's parents had no particular safety code. That is why the summer of 1966 became the year of the Doggie and the Dock! All of Hovland was buzzing about the Anderson dog. Everyone talked about him being the doggie sent from Heaven. Must be an angel most the towns people conjectured. Nobody knew the pups name. Some of the onlookers expressed utter disblief, a dog so SMALL could not do such a heroic thing.

Doggies adventure began one sunny morning in late August. While following along behind the inventive and somewhat overly curious Anderson four, he helped them locate drift wood along the lake shore to build a dandy raft. One capabple of navigating them clear out of Hovland Bay. After all school was starting in a few days and mostly the kids did not want to go back just yet.

Well, along about 3pm the gang decided to sit, take a break and lunch on peanut butter sandwiches, potato chips and kool aid. They needed to rest their sore limbs and slivered hands.

Not watching the mood of the lake they picked the wrong place and time for a picnic. Swish came a wave and washed one surprised Anderson boy into ten feet of frigid water. The child was eight years old and had not yet learned to swim. Back in that day children were not introduced to swimming at the local YMCA, Hovland had none anyhow. He floundered and flapped while his sibbling ran screaming to their mother about 150 yards away in the house.

Under went the water logged kid. The other children could still be heard as he dipped down with each wave. Not conscious of what was happening around him, a little black object dropped into the water next to him. Leaping into the ten-footers paddling striaght to his friend the pup with the white star on his chest grabbed the kid by his shirt and held on. Not only did he keep the child from panicing further, doggie managed to elevate him enough to keep his head above water.

Suddenly, a hand reached out pulling the child higher out of the water. The father had jumped in helping our doggie savior. He lifted the child in one mighty thurst to the mother waiting arms. Blackie the doggie, watched his human buddy reach safety. The strong hands again lifted another to safety. This time he felt himself being scooped out of the icy waters to the warmth of the oldest boys arms.

The Anderson children had been taking their lunch break on the historic Hovland Dock. A famous dock built circa 1900 which had been used for pulp wood transfer. The dock is rather long and extends out far enough to accommodate tugboats that transported the pulp wood. So, at the end of the dock which was made of cement the depth was over twenty feet. Luckily the kids did not choose to picnic at the end of the dock. They sat with their legs dangling over the side about a quarter of the way out.

A rather fightening wave broke near the children, scaring the youngest boy. His reaction was to lerch forward. In doing so he mearly sliped in and down to the water. The dog immediately followed the boy in without any worry or concern about his own safety. Intelligent little kanine! He was of no particular breed. In fact I don't think anyone could even guess at his pedigree. But, pedigree does not make a hero! And that little black doggie with the white star on his chest is still talked 40 years later!

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