Frosty, our beloved white Samoyed, spent 14 years on this earth. Samoyeds came originally from Russia to Alaska. Their thick fur and endurance were ideal attributes for their intended use as sled dogs. But their intelligence and good natures, added bonuses, made them family members. They were so valued by Eskimos that if a mother Samoyed died, an Eskimo mother would bring the puppies into the igloo to nurse.
Frosty moved to Maine with us. I never worried about a car breakdown in winter — Frosty would keep me warm until help arrived. Having read that Alaskans made garments out of Samoyed fur, I had Frosty’s fur spun into yarn and then knit our son a Frosty fur sweater to take to college.
Since Frosty’s lineage gave him the strength to run 40 miles a day pulling a sled, he had a tendency to wander. One October as my husband, the children and I helped a neighbor close up camp, Frosty disappeared. We called and called. No luck.
The sun sank low. Still no Frosty. What to do? We couldn’t stay on into darkness.
I decided to make one more pass through the woods. The crows set off raucous warnings as the trees thickened. Where they cawed loudest, I glanced at a thicket of juniper bushes. A patch of white fur —
Frosty lay heaving in the bushes, his face deep inside the opening of our old galvanized tin watering can, his head imprisoned by the handle circling the top. He had given up. Shortly after we’d arrived, he must have dipped his head into the can opening looking for a drink, then charged off frantically, bumping into trees as he spent the afternoon trying to escape that watering can.
I never again forgot to fill Frosty’s water bowl.