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Farley Mowat Dies
Farley Mowat, Canadian folk hero, author, environmentalist and activist, plays with his dog along the ocean shoreline near his Cape Breton summer home in this photo from 2006. (STEVE WADDEN)

"I believe in God the way my dog does" —Farley Mowat

Author Farley Mowat, chronicler of humanity’s relationship with nature, ardent environmental activist and dog lover, died at the age of 92. Mowat’s prolific writing ranged from the trailblazing Never Cry Wolf to People of the Deer and numerous children’s book. In Never Cry Wolf he recounts his experience studying Arctic wolves in 1946, living in a den close to them in the Keewatin Barren Lands in northern Manitoba. As The New York Times noted in their obituary:

He portrayed wolves as patient and gentle with their own, sometimes even fond of practical jokes. They adopted orphan puppies and babysat for other wolves’ pups. They never killed more than they could eat. In one passage he described the father of the wolf family, whom he named George: “His dignity was unassailable, yet he was by no means aloof. Conscientious to a fault, thoughtful of others, and affectionate within reasonable bounds, he was the kind of father whose idealized image appears in many wistful books of human family reminiscences.”

George, he added, was “the kind of father every son longs to acknowledge as his own.”

 

One of my favorite books of all times was his totally enjoyable, hilarious The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be a story of his boyhood on the Canadian prairies with a pair of owls for pets and a dog named Mutt who was an irrepressible playmate and fellow adventurer who could climb trees and road in the back seat of the family’s roadster wearing goggles. This is an unforgettable glimpse of country life in the 30’s where boys and their dogs roamed free. Many reviewers note that this is the most entertaining book they have ever read, I couldn’t agree with them more. Both of his classics, this book and Never Cry Wolf, are must reads for every dog lover. Even as recently as July, 2009, Nicholas D. Kristof, an op-ed columnist for the New York Times, listed Mowat's The Dog who Wouldn't Be (first published in 1957) as one of the best children's books of all time.

Farley Mowat died only days away from his 93rd birthday, and was working on another book at the time of his death.

 

See a story in Bark about a young family's adventure to travel across Canada to meet with Farley Mowat.

 

 

 

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Claudia Kawczynska is The Bark's co-founder and editor in chief. thebark.com

Steve Wadden

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