From Giveaway to Greeter
While some people believe trolls guard bridges, it's a French Bulldog who keeps watch over the Yukon Suspension Bridge in Canada.
Elaine Waldorf Gewirtz |
Posted: December 18, 2014, 11 a.m. PST
When travelers leave Skagway, Alaska, and snake their way up the South Klondike Highway, through the White Pass Trail bordering British Columbia, Canada, the last thing they expect to greet them at their mountaintop destination is a dog.
The canine ambassador is Mason, a 3-year-old French Bulldog mix once unwanted, but now owned by carpenter Michael Alexander of Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. Mason, who is named after Alexander's occupation, sits proudly in the middle of the sidewalk entrance to the Yukon Suspension Bridge, and checks out guests as they arrive.
The popular attraction lies a few miles north of the 2,864-foot White Pass summit, a U.S. National Historic Landmark once used by prospectors during the Klondike Gold Rush.
"Mason looks at everyone who comes here and assumes people want to pet him," Alexander says. "Some do, and some don't, which is OK with Mason, but he loves little kids and doesn't hesitate to follow families across the steel bridge."
While most dogs don't care for walking across swaying objects without a lot of training or coaxing, Mason never needed prompting.
How did this nice French Bulldog mix wind up in this out-of-the-way place?
Mason's story begins with a father in Toronto who adopted the puppy as a playmate for his children. A few months later, family members developed allergies they believed were caused by this Frenchie mix. Deciding to find a new home for the dog, they placed an online ad.
"I always wanted a French Bulldog, so when my mother in Toronto saw the listing, she sent me the dog's picture, " Alexander says. "Right away I fell in love with him, so my mother contacted the man and offered to take the puppy."
Alexander's mother moved to Alaska, bringing the 6-month-old puppy with her. At the time Alexander was building the restaurant and museum display areas at the Yukon Suspension Bridge, and brought the dog to the construction site every day.
"Mason was always outside with me, and luckily, the loud noise of the power tools never bothered him," Alexander says. "Since bears come down from the mountains here, I worried that he would wander too close to them, or go near the road and get into trouble, but he never did."
When Mason isn't watching for new arrivals at the front, the dog struts between the gift shop, outdoor museum exhibits, restaurant, and wooden viewing platforms overlooking the whitewater rafters on the Tutshi River 57 feet below. "Mason acts as if he owns the place," Alexander says.
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