Blue Berry Bribes

Aki just threw on her brakes. After sniffing the air over this mountain meadow she stopped and planted her four paws at the edge of the gravel trail. Now she refuses to take another step. I want to walk far enough into the meadow to get good views of the surrounding mountains. Remembering something that happened during a recent berry-picking trip, I pick two high bush blue berries and pop them in my mouth. Then I pick two more and offer them to the little dog. Out shoots her tongue and the berries are gone. 

           Aki wags her tail and trots along behind me, strike apparently over. She freezes ten minutes later and again refuses to move. I offer her two more high bush berries but she refuses them. I offer her some low bush blue berries, which she snatches out of my hand. As long as I can offer her more of the sweeter low bush berries, she will follow me to trail’s end. 

           With Aki’s cooperation secured, I can think about the little sculpture we passed on the way to the meadow—.a small yellow flag planted in a pile of dog poop. The name and face of Alaska’s current governor was printed on the flag. I guess that since he is trying to cut the university budget almost in half, end funding to programs that provide basic services to kids, the poor and elderly, and make deep cuts to the ferries that service our roadless communities, the governor is about as popular right now as dog poop.  

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