Nick Varney

Nick Varney

Unhinged Alaska: The quiet serenity of spring. Not even.

It’s tough to teach a teenage female pup that everything that goes on around her is not all about her

Spring has arrived. Well, a substantial hunk of it anyway.

No more melt-freeze cycles that morph the surrounding landscape into suicide luges when it rains or small reservoirs capable of supporting Jet Skis.

We no longer have to contend with black ice lurking along thoroughfares offering unsolicited rides inclusive of sweeping 360-degree vistas, as we hurtle toward the nearest ditch practicing the octaves of primal screams.

It’s also nice to be able to roll into our hamlet without destroying our front-end alignments or flinging unsightly auto parts into the hinterlands after smacking into major sinkholes disguised as innocuous road puddles.

Those nasty traps skulking under unassuming pools have been known to swallow everything from mini eco rigs to generating rumors of missing side dumps.

Of course, there are other positives and negatives associated with the arrival of the new season.

One negative is the commencement of the horndog attitude of many of the male avian critters residing near our abode as they become saturated with a massive overdose of testosterone.

This year their actions and rude attitudes are particularly vexing because of their impact on our new family member, Luna. They drive her nuts and she didn’t have that far to go in the first place.

After our last companion passed, we chose to adopt a younger rescue dog in need of trust and stabilization in its world.

Well, we found one that met both requirements and soon realized her name, Luna, was short for lunatic.

It’s been a wild ride, but a good one, and the onset of spring has been a special challenge.

Luna has hunting in her DNA and, although only 13-plus pounds, she’s convinced that she could take down a bull moose in full rut along with its adversary if she ever got a shot at getting into the melee.

At the moment, she considers the riled-up pheasant roosters roaming the bordering undergrowth to be demented scoundrels hurling obnoxious challenges at her from behind every piece of pucker-bush in the immediate area.

It’s tough to teach a teenage female pup that everything that goes on around her is not all about her and, from what I’ve noticed, the issue is not species specific.

Note: Part of the latter intel was substantiated by directly observing my sneaky little sister navigate that stage of life.

When the roosters finally get jazzed enough to take their pumped libidos to the streets and little L get a gander at them squaring off, she’ll make “Going postal” look like taking a nap.

It’ll take just one, “Yo! You, yeah you! Ya ugly $u*0@%+&#?!”, Ya lookin’ at me?”, bird bellow and there will be enough dog snot on the panes to rival moose snorts before it’s over.

Needless to say, I’ll probably end up having to give the pooch a hemp oil goodie just to bring her off the ceiling fan.

That’s fine. These initial interactions will give us time to acclimate her to a new world where cohabiting with the wildlife is a norm to be accepted and lived with, rather than confronted.

If we can get her to chill a bit on the pheasant exchanges and realize they are not a threat or, at least, accept the fact that they’d probably kick her keister in a brawl, we can move on to vital Moose-n-You basic training.

Anytime now, the grumpy moms will start drop-kicking their hang-around yearlings into the world of self-reliance and it’s no place for a clueless canine to be sniffing the toolies for wandering rabbits, wayward rodents or anything avian.

There shouldn’t be any problems because we certainly won’t let her roam on her own. Not just because of cheesed off momma moose but there are creatures around here that would consider Luna a quick snack or love taking her as a “to-go” option via the talon express.

So, she’ll be leash enhanced and her ward will be the one watching the skies, controlling her urges to leap blindly into the brush in pursuit of a smell while ensuring she isn’t turned into puppy paste by a marauding ungulate.

Come to think of it, maybe it is all about her.

Nick can be reached at if he’s off leash at the moment.

More in Life

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: This purge won’t be a movie sequel

What’s forthcoming is a very rare occurrence and, in my case, uncommon as bifocals on a Shih Tzu puppy

Being content with what you don’t know

How’s your negative capability doing?

Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire
Local Tlingit beader Jill Kaasteen Meserve is making waves as her work becomes more widely known, both in Juneau and the Lower 48.
Old styles in new ways: Beader talks art and octopus bags

She’s been selected for both a local collection and a major Indigenous art market

A copy of “The Fragile Earth” rests on a typewriter on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Off the Shelf: Seeking transformation in the face of catastrophe

Potent words on climate change resonate across decades

Gochujang dressing spices up tofu, lettuce, veggies and sprouts. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Healthy life starts with healthy food

Gochujang salad dressing turns veggies and tofu into an exciting meal

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: Spring Fever

“OK, Boomer” is supposed to be the current put down by the “woke generation”

A headstone for J.E. Hill is photographhed in Anchorage, Alaska. (
Night falls on the Daylight Kid — Part 2

“Bob,” he said, “that crazy fool is shooting at us.”

Minister’s Message: Has spring sprung in your life?

Christ also offers us an eternal springtime of love, hope and life

Eggs Benedict are served with hollandaise on a bed of arugula and prosciutto. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Honoring motherhood, in joy and in sorrow

Many who have suffered this loss believe they must bear it in silence for the sake of propriety

Most Read