As I Remember It: Teachings (Ɂəms tɑɁɑw) from the Life of a Sliammon Elder

My Dog Patsy

Patsy was my little dog. I got Patsy as just a puppy, and I was so fond of her. And it was time to go up to Rivers Inlet. And I was quite young then – gosh, I don’t know how old I was – maybe I was about seven or eight. And I had to sneak her on the steamboat under my shirt, ’cause she was just a puppy. I was so afraid they weren’t going to let me take her, if anyone saw me taking her into the boat, steamboat. So I managed to get her – snuck her aboard.

This elderly lady didn’t care for my puppy: “Gets into everything! Leave it outside!”

Oh, I didn’t want to leave her outside! So it started to pour rain, and I was so worried about my puppy. So I got out the door, and I went and sat right up against the building and I was holding my puppy. I think I must have been crying, real sad, holding on to my dog. She came out, and she looked, and she said, “Okay, get in here. You can bring her in, but make sure you hold on to her. She gets into everything.” [chuckles]

So me and my puppy are called back into the house and sitting there, I’m all soaking wet, so is my dog. [laughs] So while we’re there, the puppy got bigger, and of course it grew. We were there for about four weeks, five weeks. And we came back home, and they let me take her onto the steamboat. Managed to get her on.

And we got back here in the community, and they used to kill the dogs here. The police would come and shoot the dogs when there got to be too many dogs in the community. So they were coming anyway to shoot all the dogs. And I couldn’t convince anyone that, you know, “That’s my dog. I look after my dog!” I had to go tie the dog myself to a post. And so the police wouldn’t chase the dogs all over, we all had to have our dogs tied to a post down towards the beach. And the police would come and just shoot them off, pick them off – shoot them. Oh, I was so upset about my Patsy. I loved that dog! And I don’t know who took care of the remains. Probably the parents or the grandparents took care of the remains. I don’t know what happened after that. But they came and shot my dog.

The things we had to endure. Yeah. Yeah, it’s a wonder I’m still sane, if I am – I don’t know. [laughs] Traumatized for life!

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