When I was Young No. 35 – Prince


Prince was our dog in Van Hook. One of our neighbor’s dogs had a litter and we got him after he was weaned the spring of 1947. He was mix-breed but looked and acted like a sheep dog. He was mostly black but had a few white spots.

Most people fed their dog table scraps. Mother made soup with ham bones but after the flavor was cooked out he would get the bone. If we had beef roast or pork chops with bones, he got them. Now and then he’d follow me to Grendahl’s store. Well, I didn’t discourage him because I could get a free fresh bone for him.

Prince, like most dogs of his day, was not a house dog. In the summer he slept anywhere he wanted to but always outside. Mother and I made a lean-to with scrap boards on the rail of the back porch for him to sleep in the winter. She put an old blanket on the lean-to floor and tacked an old blanket to the top and side away from the house for insulation. I had to dig snow away from his lean-to a few times so he could get out.

We imagined him to be a sled dog and tried to get him to pull the Trailblazer. He saw his role differently. He just sat in front of the sled or tried to climb on it with us. He wouldn’t even pull it empty for me.

Lowell and I tried to get him to pull the Radio Flyer to pull water home from the town pump. That didn’t work either.

He was nearly always with me when I was playing ball, cowboys and Indians, or when some of us would sneak off to the cave or try swimming in the alkali pond outside of town.

We were sad because there wasn’t room for him in our car or Uncle Elmo’s truck to take him along when we moved to Minnesota. Our neighbor Goff Olson said he would try to take care of him.

I had wondered where we left Jiggs or where he left us but I know about Prince.