September 20, 2009

Soapy Smith the half bear/half dog

(Click image to enlarge)
Soapy Smith the dog

April 1899, less than a year after my great grandfather's death, Soapy Smith, the half bear/half dog is shipped out from the Klondike and makes the pages of the San Francisco Call.

Soapy Smith, a dog owned by A. Carrillo of this city, will without doubt will be the greatest curiosity of any dog that will be exhibited in the coming dog show. Soapy is a recent arrival from the klondike region; in fact, he only arrived from the frozen north two weeks ago, and was sent down by express to Carrillo by a friend as a present. The owner says that he does not want any more canine presents, as he had to pay $125 express on the animal. The most curious thing about the dog is that he is half bear and half dog. His father was a big brown bear and his mother a genuine Klondike dog. Soapy has inherited his father's fine fur coat, the hair on his back being several inches long. He also walks with the clumsy gait of a young cub, but he is quite docile and tame. How he will stand the warm weather remains to be proved, but the hot spell of last week was very hard on the animal. If the temperature should be warm for Soapy out at the show his owner claims he will treat him to cold storage treatment by placing a big cake of ice in his kennel. Several Klondike miners who have seen the dog claim that the animal is a splendid specimen of his species and that this breed of animals, though only recently attempted in the north, has proved a great success and that for hard work drawing sleighs they have more endurance and patience than any other breed. — San Francisco Call, April 26, 1899.


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