What’s furry, likes to lick anything, has claws and is really faithful? Of course it’s man’s best friend, the dog. Why do dogs merit page four of this fabulous magazine, one may ask? Because something mysterious is afoot (I really mean apaw) in some communities in the north, something so mysterious it rates a column on its own. It’s about undercover dog-napping operations and outright deliberate deceptions concerning our favourite pet and companion.

Strange disappearances of our pet population are nothing new. Even stranger still, a government-sanctioned kill dog strategy still resounds today, even though it happened 50 years ago. The Inuit of the north were hardest hit because a dog worked hard for its living, carrying loads and towing sleds. After that, dogs were regarded as pets and didn’t do much for their living except for doubling their population every six months. Some dogs did come in handy as watch dogs, chasing and barking at anyone that dared walk or run nearby, but most dogs didn’t do anything all except remain by our side.

Recently, dog ownership has grown again, with many people keeping dogs as pets. In some communities, the lapdog is becoming more common with little Shih Tzu and Chihuahua, miniature bulldogs and fluffy poodles doing their jobs as fashion accessories. One neighbour down the street has a pair of semi-miniature blue-eyed huskies. I got left one nice white mutt who cavorts with a big brown dog at another neighbour’s street.

But I used to have two. And having one dog gone and disappear like that brought back memories of dog- napping and canine smuggling rings of the north. You see, I live in a town where dog napping is rampant. These acts just keep on happening on a regular basis and make me think that perhaps that there is more to this situation than meets the eye.

Take, for instance, one unlucky cute puppy owner who happened to be on the plane to Montreal. While sitting near the back of the aircraft, she could hear the crying whimpers of a little doggie. Once at the baggage terminal, she noticed that it was her puppy in the arms of another complete stranger 1,500 kilometres from home. She confronted the stranger and was told that the puppy was purchased and belonged to her!

Ding, ding, ding, bells go off in my head of a lucrative dog napping business run by visitors or residents from the south who go to the north. One year, a lady had exported more than a dozen dogs before getting caught by the irate owner at the airport cargo counter, while still later continued her operation by chartering small aircraft full of dogs to the south.

This gets me big time, because many people see a nice dog and assume that it’s homeless and better off sitting on a couch by the fireplace getting petted by some old dude smoking a big pipe. That’s okay, but let them get their own dogs from legitimate sources, like it should be. I think that nice dogs go for big easy money. But for hapless dog owners like me, it’s a loss of a friend, the loss of time invested in keeping them healthy and fed, the time spent having fun, all the good stuff of having a pet is stolen by dog snatchers. Many owners are children whose hearts get broken and generally assume that it got killed somehow or lost somewhere, but little do they know that it is human intervention and greed that got their little doggie.