If you love dogs and wilderness adventure, you’re going to thoroughly enjoy the latest literary offering by local author Chris Czajkowski.
Written from the perspective of her two dogs, Harry and Badger, Czajkowski has found the winning combination of story telling in her latest book.
Harry, A Wilderness Dog Saga tells the story of all the dogs Czajkowksi has had with her during her years of adventures living alone in the wilderness in the West Chilcotin and is a sequel to Lonesome, the first book she wrote told through the eyes of her canine working companion 13 years ago.
“I knew her story had to be written,” Czajkowski recalled of her first dog-inspired book, Lonesome.
Currently on a province-wide book tour to promote Harry, Czajkowski, in a phone interview with the Tribune, described Lonesome as a medium-sized rescue dog from the Bella Coola area who “didn’t like the wilderness,” or the wet and cold but spent years in it with her.
“It was a given there would be a sequel.”
In Harry, Czajkowski’s current dogs Harry and Badger, write the book, airing conversations and insights the two have about life, humans and the history of their “pack,” most of whom were given a second chance at life after being rescued by various SPCA shelters across B.C. and then given a new home by Czajkowski.
In the first chapter, Harry describes what it was like to go from being picked up as a starving stray, to being moved from a home, to city shelter, transported through airports and finally, to arrive at Czajkowski’s cabin in the wilderness.
“A human cabin faced the river, but it was unlike any I has seen before. First off, it was small. Secondly, it had no lock on the door – it didn’t even have a metal handle. The door was fastened by a rough-looking wooden bolt. Thirdly, there were no electrical noises like lights or fridges. It was very, very quiet,” Harry writes in the book of seeing Czajkowski’s remote, off-the-grid home for the first time.
By all accounts, Harry A Wilderness Saga has been well-received by readers and Czajkowski, a person who cherishes her solitude, is enjoying her 22-city book tour.
“There are lots of enjoyable things about it,” she said of book tours.
“Standing up on stage having people tell you how great you are is pretty nice, but book tours are also a lot of work.”
Living off-grid with no power or hot water for the past “30 or 40 years,” the tour has given Czajkowski the pleasure of hot, running water, something she doesn’t have at her 40-acre Kleena Kleene home.
“I admit it’s been a luxury to turn a tap on and have hot water come out.”
That being said, Czajkowski wouldn’t trade her remote life for anything, where she enjoys solitude, sunshine and a view of the mountains near Nuk Tessli; the wilderness resort and guiding business she built over 23 years, with the help of her dogs.
“I found having dogs pack for me was of great help to my knees,” said Czajkowski, who chose her dogs based on size and fur thickness.
An author of several successful wilderness books, Czajkowski said this book tour is interesting and more labour intensive because she has brought her dogs, Harry and Badger, with her.
Czajkowski, Harry and Badger will be in Williams Lake this week to give a presentation, followed by a book signing.
The event is taking place at the Williams Lake Branch of the Cariboo Regional District Library on Thursday, Nov. 2 at 1:30 p.m.
The Open Book in Williams Lake currently has copies of the new book in stock.