You will end up puppy soup if you’re born a pure white dog on the reservation, unless you’re one who is extra clever, like me. I survived into my old age through dog magic. That’s right. You see me, you see the result of dog wit. Dog skill. Medicine ways I learned from my elders, and want to pass on now to my relatives. You. So listen up, animoshug. You’re only going to get this knowledge from the real dog’s mouth once.
There is a little of a coyote in me, just a touch here in my paws, bigger than a dog’s paws. My jaw, too, strong to snap rabbit bones. Prairie-dog bones as well. That’s right. Prairie. I don’t mind saying to you that I’m not a full-blood Ojibwa reservation dog. I’m part Dakota, born out in Bwaanakeeng, transported here. I still remember all that sky, all that pure space, all that blowing dirt of land where I got my name, which has since become legendary.
Here’s how it happened.
I was underneath the house one hot slow day panting in the dirt. I was a young thing. Just chubby, too, and like I said white all over. That worried my mother. Every morning she scratched dirt on me, threw me in the mud, rolled me in garbage to disguise my purity. Her words to me were this. My son, you won’t survive if you lick your paws. Don’t be respectable. Us Indian dogs have got to look as unappetizing as we can! Slink a little, won’t you? Stick your ears out. Grow ticks. Fleas. Bite your fur here and there. Strive for a disreputable appearance, my boy. Above all, don’t be clean!
Like I say, born pure white you usually don’t stand a chance, but me, I took my mama’s advice. After all, I was the son of a blend of dogs stretching back to the beginning of time on this continent. We sprang up here. We had no need to cross on any land bridge. We know who we are. Us, we are descended of Original Dog.
I think about her lots, and also about my ancestor, from way way back, the dog named Sorrow who drank a human’s milk. I think about her because I know it was