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A moving historical tale and remarkable literary achievement, City Wolves is the story of Canada’s first woman veterinarian, Meg Wilkinson. Born in 1870 on a farm near Halifax, Meg’s childhood experience with wolves makes her determined to be a veterinarian. Supported by the seemingly eccentric Randolph Oliphant and inspired by the ancient Inuit who first turned wolves into sled dogs, Meg surpasses the horse doctors at vet college and becomes the notorious ’dog doctor of Halifax’ in the 1890s. After her unusual marriage ends abruptly in Boston, Meg travels to Vancouver and up to the Yukon, seeking the legendary sled dogs. Arriving at the beginning of the Klondike gold rush, she makes her way amidst Mounties, dance hall girls, Klondike Kings, mushers, priests and swindlers…all the mangy and magnificent people, dogs and spirits that populated raucous Dawson City.
Observed through the restless spirit of Inuit Ike, this is lively, insightful, historical fiction, subtly revealing the wolf-like nature of humans and the human nature of wolves. Both earthy and reflective, City Wolves is an important story told with compassion, humour and unflinching realism. In this her fifth novel, Dorris Heffron has created a wide range of unforgettable characters and achieved a breadth of vision exploring the deep conflicts and interconnection of social beings in a way that is uniquely Canadian and profoundly universal.
I’ll take two Indians,” said Mitzi. “I have two large bundles. ” “Come with us,” said Moore. “Your bundles need repacking, if not rethinking altogether.
Ordinary greylings, but so many the river couldn’t contain them. They were leaping into the air. Then suddenly, two giant, golden, gleaming salmon swam upstream in the midst of all the small greylings. These two salmon stopped, right in front of me. I was at the river’s edge. The eyes of these two salmon were pure gold, round like twenty dollar gold pieces. Their scales were golden nuggets. They stared at me like messengers. They were summoning me. ” “What for? ” asked Jim. “Don’t know for sure. Must be there’s gold.
I wouldn’t want to do that to you. Yet I already feel deeply unhappy in having to say this, the honest truth, to you now. I thank you for your letter, your good work and the great compliment of your proposal to meet again, with seriousness of purpose. Can we please continue to correspond? Yours most sincerely, Meg 18 LEAVING THE PACK MEG DID NOT EXPECT A REPLY by return of post, though she hoped for it and came home from work each day looking first to the hall table where her letters would be placed.
The chief clapped his hands together and laughed. Yukitu jumped back. Ike attempted to make him sit again. Yuki put up her paw, demanding more attention. “Now you have competition, fat wolf,” said the chief. “This will be good for you. ” “Welcome,” he said to Yukitu. “Our village is honoured to have two wolves. ” Piji had felt the chief ’s blessing. In walking back through the village with their wolf pups, Piji felt a new sense of pride in her husband and in herself. Ike was not a normal man. He had never really proven himself as a man.
One was McPhee’s Saloon. The other was The Northwest Mounted Police Headquarters, where claims could be registered, mail picked up, and disputes settled. George went there first with Charlie in tow. Charlie did not correct George in claiming to be the discoverer of the gold because he believed that Kate could not register a claim and he trusted George and the authorities in these unfamiliar matters. The police inspector had no reason to question George and thought justice was served in granting Skookum Jim and Tagish Charlie claims.