Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program
Benjamin Golodoff
Benjamin Golodoff
Benjamin Golodoff talks about the dogs he had as a child.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2009-16-01

Project: Unalaska Communities of Memory
Date of Interview: Apr 26, 1996
Narrator(s): Benjamin Golodoff
Location of Interview:
Location of Topic:
Funding Partners:
Alaska Humanities Forum
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.

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Sections

Getting his first dog

Taking his dogs everywhere

Going hunting with his dogs

Hunting geese and ducks

Getting late so he returned home

Being cold and tired and carrying a heavy pack

Dogs waking him and saving his life

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Transcript



*The first part of the movie is of Carolyn Reed listening to Benjamin tell his story. RAY HUDSON: Benny did you want to tell a story? BENJAMIN GOLODOFF: Well maybe I can tell one. This is about dogs, a couple of dogs I used to have when I was a kid.

They probably saved my life. It was after the war, the Second World War, and when we first came home we stayed right up here where the mission is.

For a week or 10 days. Until we could get our houses back in shape. Anyway, they had a guard shack right out in front here.

The guard had puppies. Whenever you went through the gate the GI's would ask us if any one needed a little pup.

So I said, "Yes, I'd like to have one." So I asked my dad. So he took me down there and we picked one out and took him home. I must have been, oh 13, 14 years old.

And, we moved in to our place, the GI's left, and we went hunting. We hunted quite a bit.

It was all we had. Duck, seals or whatever. So I did a lot of hunting with my dad. He taught me a lot. One day I got another dog.

So I had two of them. I used to go to school with them. They were my pets. Used to go hunting a lot together.

One day, it was around November, it was cold. We had an early winter for some reason. So one morning I was telling my dad, I was going hunting.

He said, okay. I took my shotgun. I had an old shotgun somebody gave me, an old single barrel.

A "Long Tom" we call it. I think H & Harrison had a hammer. Fired one round.

So I took my dogs and skis. I had a pair of seal skin skis in them days, my dad made for me and my backpack.

So I started out to Captains Bay. And it started blowing, blowing northeast and the wind was to my back and there was a lot of snow and it was cold.

I decided I'll just walk up to where Crowley is now and then go home, walk home. I was walking along. I could hear these geese. I knew there were geese around.

The Northeast wind brings them in from the outside. In those days, there were a lot of geese here. Hundreds of them.

Thousands of them. And so I couldn't resist walking all the ways up to Captains Bay. So I took off and kept and walked and got up to this side of Crowley's and one of my straps broke on my skis.

I think then maybe I should go back. But them geese up there, I could see them going in, were too tempting.

So I was going along, I was shooting a few ducks, fresh water ducks. My dad told me, always shoot the fresh water ducks.

They're always easier to pluck. So I must have had about 8 of them, 7 or 8 of them and I finally got up to Captain's Bay. Just on this side of Shaishnikoff's cabin up there, along a gravel beach.

I walked through the snow up there with my dogs. It was late in the afternoon, so I just sat there and waited and I figured that sooner or later the geese are going to move down this way and start feeding.

And sure enough, here they come. Must have been about 100 of them. Or more.

They landed in the water and I waited for them. I don't know how to say this...but anyway, I was taught how to find the leader.

You shoot the leader, sometimes the geese don't fly or if they do they'll come back.

So there was a lot of them and I waited and they were swimming and swimming and finally just started to bunch up and finally I found the leader and I shot him, as they were bunched up.

And I looked out there and I had 12 of them. I wounded one. So I loaded, well I put another round in my shotgun and I shot that one.

The geese took off. I knew they'd come back, but I said that's enough.

And the dogs, they went out there and got the birds for me, got the geese for me. Even though there was an on shore and they just done that. I never taught them, they just, I don't know, they liked to do it, I guess.

They always done it for me. So I sat there and I was thinking, I said, well, now I gotta go home. And it was about 4 or 5 in the afternoon. It started getting dark.

So I gutted them all. I took all the guts out. Took all the guts out of the ducks I had in my pack. Tried to make the load lighter.

I filled my pack up and I think I strung it over my back on a string and I started back.

And like I said, it started to blow. It had been blowing all day. It was getting cold and it got dark.

And I was thinking, I wonder if I'm going to make it. Then I said ahh, I got a good idea. I got these ducks in there. I'll just throw one away and that will lighten my pack up for me.

And I did. As I walked along, as I got tireder and tireder I kept throwing these ducks away, but I wouldn't let the geese go.

I got up by the bluffs up there this side of Crowley's and I was getting sleepy. Something my dad taught me, don't you ever stop and try to go to sleep.

Find a place to crawl into or find a building or find something to get out of the wind. But don't stop walking, when you start to go to sleep. You'll never wake up.

I start looking really tired. So I unloaded my shotgun, stuck the barrel in the snow. I said to myself, well, I'll just rest just a little bit.

I laid against the shotgun, put my weight on it and fell asleep. And pretty soon I started dreaming or hallucinating, I thought I was home. Nice and warm.

Talking to my dad. In the background I can hear these dogs barking. And these dogs of mine were jumping up and barking at me and licking at me.

I woke up again and I remembered where I was at. The dogs settled down and I started walking again.

I done this three different times. My dogs done the same thing again.

They'd jump at me and bark and lick my face to keep me awake, I guess. Finally I got up to Agnes Beach.

I barely made it up that hill there. And I knew once I got up that hill on the flat part there and I'd be going down hill on the other side.

And they had an old bridge there, the Army had, before this one here in the same place. And I was thinking, like I said, I was tired. I said, the heck with it.

I'm going to walk right across the creek. I did. I walked across the creek. I was all soaking wet. Come up by old house there.

Walked straight home. Got home. Got my pack off. Went inside.

Dad said, "Take your clothes off." Took my clothes off. He fed me. Forced me to eat. I went to bed and I slept for probably 12 hours. That's my story.