“The Call of the Wild”

Like most of you, I imagine, I read “The Call of the Wild” by Jack London years ago. I remembered the short book to be about a sweet dog who returned to the wild and lived happily ever after. This week, while riding the Beast, a.k.a. my Cardio Strider, I decided to listen to the audible version of the book. How could I have forgotten the cruel abuse this dog endured?

Buck was a one hundred and forty-pound St. Bernard and Scotch Collie mix who lived on a nice estate in California. A worker there stole the dog away from his owners who loved him and sold him to be used as a dog to pull sleighs in Alaska. Buck knew nothing about what was expected of him but he finally learned through many beatings by multiple owners. He eventually ended up in the Yukon area of Canada where the Klondike gold rush was taking place.

Again Buck learned cruel lessons from both the dogs he was forced to work with and from various men who owned him for a time. Finally, mercifully, he was rescued by John Thornton, an experienced frontiersman, who had a heart and a fierce love for Buck. They traveled the frozen country-side for a few years until Thornton was murdered by Native Americans. Buck was furious and savagely attacked the people until many of the Yeehat tribe were dead. Buck then followed his primordial instinct which had been calling him for some time, and he joined a wolf pack to live out his life in the wilderness and his wolf heritage.

The author, Jack London, published this animal fiction tale in 1903. He realistically gave this magnificent dog human traits and thoughts that were easy to accept as authentic. “The Call of the Wild” has been adapted into over one dozen films and remains an all-time favorite.

The Arctic Refuge

The Arctic Refuge in Alaska is home to polar bears and migrating caribou. It also promises wealth from oil. After over sixty years of protection, the current administration has just finalized plans to open the area to drilling and fracking. “I do believe there could be a lease sale by the end of the year,” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said.

Republicans since Ronald Reagan have worked to claim the fossil fuels in Alaska’s coastal  plains. The current Democratic presidential nominee does not favor drilling, but if it passes now, undoing it will be difficult if not impossible once the lease rights have been auctioned to energy companies.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge spans 19 million acres in northeastern Alaska. Alaskan lawmakers support drilling. Because of its likely effect on climate and wildlife environmental activists including Native Americans are strongly opposed. In this time of pandemic and civil unrest, it is easy to miss such actions that will affect our children and their children. We need to be vocal about our concerns by contacting our lawmakers whether we are for or against this and other actions.

 

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Photos by Pixabay