No reading person could ignore the sign—a black silhouette of a bear walking across a square of yellow cardboard. Black block letters warn that we are entering bear country. Aki takes no notice. I also try to ignore the warning. We saw no bear sign on the beach. High water levels on the lake forced us off the beach and onto a trail that led into the Mendenhall Campground, a place with signs and federal officers to enforce the rules.
The little dog and I walk down the road that links all the campsites, stopping to watch a mallard hen and her chicks splash around a small pond lined with flowering British tobacco plants. All winter dogs have left pee mail messages along the road. Aki does her best to catch up. She runs free until we reach a bulletin board with another bear warning sign and a poster demanding that all dogs be kept on a six foot long leash. “It’s the Law.”
The normally law abiding Aki submits the leash. It does little to limit her actions. She has the ability to turn herself into a 50 pound rock when she wants to stop and sniff. I can’t shift her once she has exercised this superpower.