Many people in New England, and especially Maine, remember visiting Perry Greene and his Chinooks during the 1940's through the early 1960's. When these people meet modern Chinooks, they often expound on the dogs they remember from their youth. On this page, we share some of their stories and photos. We hope you enjoy!
Steve Brooks is good friends with Jessica Maurer, a Chinook owner in Maine. He's told her about his visits with his family to the Perry Greene Chinook kennels in the 1950's, and how he almost purchased a Chinook from Harry Gray in the 1980's. However, he could never quite come up with proof of any of this. Then, one day, he appeared with the following photos, a letter from Harry Gray and the first ever Perry Greene newsletter, called The Chinook News. He couldn't stop talking about how gentle the dogs were - he had a choke hold on many of them and they just kissed him. We are grateful for Steve's willingness to share these photos of these beautiful Chinook dogs and his stories.
A Personal History - Fred Anson & His Chinooks
Fred Anson asked Perry Greene for a Chinook early in 1951. In his reply dated May 2, 1951, Perry Greene advised, "I'm sending along a copy of the last issue of the Chinook News and I want you to read the selling policy carefully." If interested, he should quickly send a deposit because Chinooks were "still in terrific demand". In Perry Greene's stated policy, Fred read that Chinooks from Perry were priced differently depending on the intelligence of the pup. Puppies were "NEVER" shipped, and before he could get one, he'd have to spend at least one night at the kennel. Pups were ready to leave at six weeks of age and up. Finally, females would be spayed before leaving the kennel. Fred sent a deposit right out! Fred's first Chinook, Cheena, was born in October of 1951 and he picked her up in December of that year. Cheena grew to be 120 pounds! Here she is:
12 years later, Fred Anson would travel to Maine to pick up his second Chinook, Akita, born on July 4, 1963. In the same letter in which Fred learned he would be able to get a pup, he also learned that Perry Greene had died in June of 1963. The letters from Honey Greene from this time are very sad. She speaks of losing weight and being unable to sleep. However, she wrote on January 15, 1964, "Zembla is still sleeping on my bed, she has been such a comfort. I also have Kaltag in the house and he is so much like Barrow." In the 1964 Christmas letter, Harold Smead announced to the Chinook world that he and Honey Greene had married on September 22nd of that year. Honey would keep her name and they would continue to breed Chinooks in Maine in the name of Perry Greene. Three years later, Harold Smead wrote to confirm that Honey Greene had died. While he would try to continue the breed, he wrote, "I'm either going to have to be the villain and jack the price tremendously, or else someone is going to have to establish the Harold Smead Relief Fund. Raising Chinooks is more of a millionaire's hobby than it is a means of making a living". While he and many others would try to keep the breed going, it wouldn't be until the 1990s that the breed would start to recover from the loss of Perry & Honey. The photos of Akita below were taken in 1963 & 1964. Akita was the product of a mating between Linnea and Endure. She grew to be 70 pounds, and as you can see she made a wonderful family pet.
17 years after getting Akita, Fred purchased his third Chinook, this time from Kathy Adams at Sukee Kennels, where the remaining breed stock of the Chinook breed was kenneled. Perry Greene Bering was born on June 12, 1980, the son of Perry Greene Oona and Perry Greene Riki. He only grew to be 55 pounds. He was never bred. These photos were taken of him in 1980 and 1981. Amazingly, the Anson story doesn't end here. One of Fred's daughters purchased a Hurricane Chinook from Joyce Maley in the mid 1990's. His second daughter, Kim Karnai, awaits the arrival of her new Hurricane pup as well. The Anson family has been loyal to the Chinook breed for 50 years! They have graciously shared their history with the Chinook Owners Association, so everyone could learn more about the history of the breed - we thank them for their story.
60 Years Ago - In the Chinook News
Perry & Honey Greene published a newsletter called Chinook News about four times a year, beginning in 1948 and ending in 1962. In a 1952 interview, Perry claimed the newsletter had a paid circulation of 2,500. The newsletter was comprised mostly of letters and photos from Chinook owners all over the country. Perry always referred to a dog by its call name and the owner's last name. So, Cheena, when she was in the newsletter, was referred to as "Cheena Anson". Both Perry and Honey wrote articles for the newsletter and their cook, Sundra, had a "Cook's Corner" in every edition. Fred Anson has shared his copies of the Chinook News so that we all might reconnect with the history of the breed. So, from time-to-time, we'll update you on the news from the Chinook world 50 years ago. Here's some of the news from March 1951, almot 60 years ago!
"Chinooks to Climb Mt. Katahdin; Trip Planned for Middle of March"
"Famous Mt. Katahdin is 5276 feet high and is one of the highest peaks East of the Rockies..."
"Ever since Perry made the trek across Maine in 1941, he has wanted to drive his team up Mt. Katahdin. He now thinks he feels well enough to do it, so plans are being made to give it a try in March."
"Seven dogs will be in the team, with Dukavik leading. Bering will pack the first aid kit and other things that will be needed, such as ice creepers, etc..."
"Perry is busy as a beaver and most anytime you come to the Lodge you will find him working on harnesses, snow shoes, or some other equipment. All this work is being done in the living room, if you please! Honey and Sundra are looking forward to the trip being over so that they can get the house cleaned up again..."
Excerpts from: "What is a Chinook?"
by Bernice Richmond
"A Chinook is a dog. He is born with a poise and dignity that characterizes his whole life. He is content to sit back and size up people and situations before jumping at conclusions and his judgement is never wrong. Clothed in a sumptuous coat of gold he adds a magnificence and dignity to every home he lives in, whether lavish or simple..."
"His big active and graceful body is like a ray of sunshine dancing on field and meadow, like a moonbeam playing in a dark forest well and like a living nugget of gold when curled up on his favorite rug. And made of sun and moon, he possesses a radiance which lights up the faces of all who behold him..."
"Chinooks love open fires, tidbits, excursions to the post office or to the country and to sleep beside their owners where they show their happiness with long deep sighs of contentment. Chinooks have big, brown eyes that can tease or adore to perfection.
Chinooks have a soaring sound which they deliver with a firm stance and heads raised to the heavens. They appear to sing for the joy of being, or the day and for their owners. And perhaps they raise their voices to praise the Lord for endowing each Chinook with a warm heart, deep affections and a childlike joy."
Sundra's Famous Griddle Cakes
"2 eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup flour. Beat eggs and salt. Add milk and flour. Fry in bacon fat. These are paper thin and you could eat 'em all day."
Queen of Puddings
"1 pint of crumbled dry bread crusts (remove crusts). 1 quart milk, 1 cup sugar, 4 egg yolks, 2 tablespoons melted butter, grated rind of one lemon. Butter large earthen ware backing dish. Add bread crumbs and milk. Mix sugar and egg yolks and add to the mixture. Add lemon rind and butter Bake in moderate oven for about 3/4 of an hour or until done."
Like today, people who owned Chinooks 50 years ago, loved to tell stories about their Chinooks. Other headlines in the March 1951 Chinook News included, "Nokomis Dann is Mighty Mouser of Ithaca", "Davik Traylor Steals the Show on Xmas Morning", "Kara Actually Replaces Toys After Playing", "Nanook Tries For The Postman's Job" and "State Police Look For Lost (?) Riki". All of the stories are true to the loyal, smart and tender nature of the Chinook breed. The photos mostly show Chinooks with their children.
The Chinook Owners Association thanks Fred Anson and his daughter, Kim, for sharing their Chinook history. If you have a piece of Chinook history to share, please contact the COA Information Coordinator. We'd love to tell your story and show photos of Chinooks of years gone by.