Gold Rush Dogs

A Unique Perspective from the Dogs of the Gold Rush

Gold, Gold, Gold! What is it about this amazing mineral that causes people’s hearts to beat faster? A few nuggets and a person can be set for life, right? Not quite. Gold was usually not as easy to find as the rumors reported. But you can be rich in words by reading our stories about the women, children, and dogs who lived in the North country during the Alaska and Yukon gold rushes of one hundred years ago. On this page, you can read about Julian’s story from Gold Rush Dogs and find a list of further resources as well as teacher study guides.

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Hillside Press Alaska

This book offers a different perspective on the Alaska-Yukon gold-rush era by focusing on the dogs that played such a huge role in it. Each chapter presents the story of a particular dog. Readers may be familiar with some of them, such as Balto, a Norwegian reindeer dog that is famous for helping deliver diphtheria serum to Nome in 1925. However, there are many lesser-known and equally fascinating stories told here, such as that of Nero, a Saint Bernard that was the beloved pet and protector of the richest woman in the Klondike, and Patsy Ann, a bull terrier that made it her business to greet every boat that docked at Juneau. The chapters also feature insets with other information, such as discussions of breed histories and brief biographies of some of the people who worked with the animals. Lots of fine-quality, black-and-white archival photos add greatly to the book’s appeal. Action-filled stories; fascinating characters, both human and canine; and great photos should make this companion to the authors’ Gold Rush Women (Alaska Northwest, 1997) and Children of the Gold Rush (Roberts Rinehart, 2001) a winner with both animal lovers and history buffs. Teachers might also find this useful as a way to add some fun to their American history units.

~ Arwen Marshall, formerly at New York Public Library. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

This canine collective biography highlights the accomplishments of nine dogs from the Yukon that worked as “packhorse, transit system, security guard, and pal rolled into one.” Several have legendary reputations: John Muir’s Stickeen explored glaciers with his master; Balto achieved motion picture fame, and Nero and Julian were said to be the inspiration for Buck in Jack London’s Call of the Wild. Accompanying the main text are numerous sidebars on related topics, ranging from information on the Great Serum Run that took place in 1925 and the Canadian Mounties to background on dog breeds and the Iditarod. In fact, the sidebars sometimes threaten to overwhelm the primary accounts of canine loyalty and heroism. Still, there’s a wealth of information here, along with some great black-and-white historical photos, if readers’ eyes don’t glaze over as they try to take it all in. Source notes, a bibliography, and an excellent index are appended.

~ Randy Meyer. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.