For the past eight years Harry has been living in British Columbia’s isolated hinterland, braving the wild with only a handful of companions by his side. Now Harry is sharing his story.
Also, Harry is a dog.
B.C. author Chris Czajkowski has written 12 books since 1990 chronicling her life with her “wilderness dogs” in and around the remote southern end of Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park. Her latest book, Harry: A Wilderness Dog Saga, covers Harry’s time with Czajkowski and looks back on previous members of the pack.
Czajkowski will appear at the Nanaimo Harbourfront Library to discuss the book and show slides. Harry and her other dog Badger may also be in attendance.
This is Czajkowski’s second book from the perspective of one of her canine companions. In 2004 she published Lonesome: Memoirs of a Wilderness Dog, in which Czajkowski first dog, Lonesome, describes life at Czajkowski’s first cabin at Tweedsmuir South’s Lonesome Lake as well Nuk Tessli, a wilderness resort Czajkowski built in 1991.
“I looked at [Lonesome] a long time and thought, ‘Gee, your story is going to have to be written,’ and I tried starting it from my point of view and it just wasn’t working and I thought, ‘Do it from her point of view,’” she said, adding that the resulting book was her best seller.
“Now that I’ve got Harry it seemed very pertinent that he write the sequel, which is stories about all the dogs since Lonesome.”
Czajkowski described Lonesome as “rather a wimpy dog and very much a conservative kind of dog,” while Harry is “a younger, brasher sort of character and always wants to rush ahead and do things and not always with good results.” She said it was easy to imagine him telling the story as the central character.
Czajkowski appears as a secondary character in the story. She said it wasn’t difficult to write about herself in the third person, but conceded that “maybe I’m not doing it very accurately, but of course that’s the way I see myself.”
By writing from the point of view of Harry and his pack mates, the author is also able to comment on and discuss human behaviour from an outside perspective.
“Of course a dog is going to think what I do is odd because I don’t behave like a dog,” she said. “Things like, ‘Why do humans wear so many clothes?’ or ‘Why don’t they drink water out of puddles?’ or things like that. It’s a bit of tongue-in-cheek comment on society as well.”
WHAT’S ON … Chris Czajkowski book reading at Nanaimo Harbourfront Library on Oct. 5 at 6:30 p.m.