Posting vignettes based on great postcards found in my mail box and elsewhere.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dog Team 1920; uncanny resemblance

I bought this postcard at a flea market at our neighborhood mall a couple of weeks ago. A wonderful find for a retired dog musher and postcard collector. The card is postmarked from Juneau, Alaska, July 19, 1921. Published by the HHT Company, the card was addressed to "Mrs. Wm. Watson Jr., Monto Rio, Calif." The message reads: Dear Jean, We're having a wonderful time & lovely weather to-day. Ruth"

This postcard caught my eye for several reasons: a watercolor like composition, a good image of an historical dog team, and the good condition of the card. Yet the clincher was that the lead dog in this scene is a near spitt'in image of the hardest working and by far the most bizarre sled dogs I ever owned. His name was Lauper. He was a cast off dog from another musher. After a fight in which he was malled by an entire dog team, his heart stopped on the operating table. Six weeks later he finished the Iditarod. He was an unusual sled dog with a small head. The tip of his right ear was lopped off, thus the name, and his snout, legs and torso was crisscrossed with scars. Yet even in defeat he was never defeated. He had a swagger to his step, the kind that said, "Come on, give me your best shot." He was a committed fighter, a stupid fighter to be sure, who always picked fights with bigger and tougher dogs and he always lost. Yet, he'd never back down and even go out of his way to challenge another male. I swear, he could antagonize another male dog who was minding his own business on the other side of the dog yard. He was an idiot but I think that is what made him a great sled dog. I don't think he had enough gray matter to imagine anything other than his current condition. Had he just got drug beneath overflow or kicked by a moose he didn't remember it the next moment. Therefore his work ethic was off the charts. When traveling down the most bone-jarring trail he was unfazed. His tug line was always stretched like a banjo string. The greatest thing about him, like many dogs, is that you were the center of his universe -- the fixed and perfect star in his warped universe.

Lauper 1990-2004


  1. Thank you for sharing the story of Lauper. Yes the lead dog in the card is so much like him. Uncanny.

  2. I like your unusual, nostalgic blog...

  3. Hello Kris - you've been quiet lately!
    I would like to feature this postcard in the December Festival (White issue),
    Evelyn in Montreal