The moving Depression era story of a young black Labrador and the Quileute boy, Jimmy Pine, who loves him. But life is not easy for Jimmy nor for his beloved Kadedo. As Jimmy becomes seriously ill, Kadedo tries to survive while he waits for Jimmy's return, running away from those who would try to make him their own. Meanwhile, Jimmy's faithful friends do their best to keep Kadedo safe, even if that means thwarting the efforts of Kadedo's original family as they search in vain for their family dog. The author takes us on a soulful journey with grace and humour through the Pacific North Coast and the Quileute Nation she grew up among as a child.
Joe Pine, the toughest Indian in town, kicked the cringing Labrador. "No-good dog!" Joe shouted. "You coward, you squaw dog! You're new fighter."
"He sure ain't," Joe's friends agreed. Having a bet on the dogfight they were attempting to stage, the men were disgusted with the Labrador's obvious terror.
"Pa, if he is a squaw dog, can I have him?" Jimmy asked.
"Yeah, take him." Joe told his son.
Thus began a fast friendship. Jimmy knew his father had stolen Kadedo from some tourists who were offering a ten dollar reward for the dog's return, so he and Kadedo kept out of sight most of the time. Jimmy's two friends, the Coast Guard Captain's kids, helped them. But despite the efforts of all three children, Jimmy was eventually parted from his faithful dog. Then Kadedo's troubles began in earnest.
Set during the depression on the author's native Olympic Peninsula, the story is written with conviction and feeling. It is a hardhearted reader who will not be moved by Kadedo's trials and his final reunion with Jimmy Pine.
* (An exceptional book) The story features a dog and his neglected master, a boy suffering from rheumatic fever, but the exaggerated sentimentality that such a relationship might well suggest is totally belied by the completely unaffected tone of the telling. The setting is the Quileute Indian Reservation in Washington State as it was during the last years of the Depression. The fact that the homes are squalid, and the inhabitants are ignorant and at times deceitful, drunk, or violent, lends character to the whole village which is described with warm affection. The dog, an elegant Labrador retriever, who came to be known as Kadedo, goes through a variety of experiences and households to which he reacts like a non-emotive Black Beauty. Human sensitivity is never ascribed to him and would simply detract from his canine attributes which are well done. Similarly, the affection between Kadedo and the boy Jimmy Pine is natural in terms of both their capacities. There is a wide range of characters and an interesting contrast in different families. Particularly appealing are Jimmy's two friends, a rowdy sister and brother who skillfully outwit everyone who tries to capture the dog during the year that Jimmy is in the hospital. By the author of The Nickel-Plated Beauty (1964), this is an excellent dog story that features a steady build-up of action and an underlying gift of humor. KIRKUS REVIEWS
Used availability for Patricia Beatty's Squaw Dog
November 2014 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition