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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.
few days, then were on their way, the rankness of their unwashed, sweaty bodies and clothes wafting after them. It was Christmas, when the days were closest to endless nights, that one Jon Teskey and his team of wounded dogs staggered onto Moore’s town site. Teskey’s parka was torn, his face, arm, and back bleeding. His four dogs were limping, ears torn, faces torn, their fur bloody. “What the hell!” Moore shouted. “Cougar attacked me from behind,’ Teskey managed to say. “Got two of my dogs.
their packs only at midday and the end of the day. They sat with their packs on, propped up against a tree, waiting for us to finish our rest. I checked my pocket watch. Jack has no watch but somehow he instinctively limited our rests to fifteen minutes. We got ourselves up and followed the path, quite soggy at times as we moved upwards through a lush green forest where every kind of leaf was glistening from recent rains and current dampness. Yukon lay down briefly in the cold-water creeks we
observing the street scenes in Dawson. Wiggins and the other constables were patrolling the streets like riot police. Restaurateurs were locking up, guarding what food they had left. People scurried to assess their stocks or clustered to discuss the situation. The dogs of Dawson were eerily silent, watching like wolves for what danger was at hand. Meg recalled stories she’d heard of the previous winter when some dogs were shot because their owners had no food for them. She looked at Yukon Sally
stood together on the train platform, the pain of parting gripped and twisted inside her. “I would try to change your mind about this dog business,” said Mick. “But I’ve got too much respect for your mind. And your person.” “Thank you,” said Meg, refraining from exhibiting her natural feelings publicly. “I feel the same about you and your police business.” She tried to smile. “This parting is very hard to bear. But, you are a man who must serve justice and I, the animals.” He could not refrain
a dead end and the coldest place on earth. She heard mention of it as the last frontier for gold, a sportsman’s paradise where the natives were friendly and their daughters free for the asking. “Gentlemen,” Meg got up her courage to approach the men. “Please excuse me for interrupting …” They looked at her, her armband, the ring she now wore on her right hand. “Ma’am.” They tipped their hats to her. She nodded. “I am a veterinarian. I wanted to ask about the dogs in the Yukon. Are any of you