Glen Ellenites will get a kick out of a bit of whimsy in town by the Post Office.
For years there’s been a box-like eyesore by the bulletin board at the edge of the Post Office parking lot. It looked strangely like a wooden dog house and was covering some kind of water pipes or something.
This ugly box has now been painted with a sweet rendering of a pooch peeking out of a newly-painted dog house. It has the name “Possum” written above the door.
Just who is Possum, you ask? According to Jack London State Historic Park’s docent Lou Leal, the pooch Possum was acquired by the Londons in Baltimore in 1912 and traveled aboard the sailboat Dirigo on a five-month voyage from Baltimore to Seattle. They may have selected the little Jack Russell Terrier because they had been given a previous terrier, Peggy, while aboard the Snark in the Solomon Islands. Both as rat-killers and companions, these little terriers seemed to have been comfortable mates aboard the Londons’ sailboat adventures.
Possum may well have been the inspiration for the dog in the 1917 novel “Jerry of the Islands: A True Dog’s Tale.” A subsequent book, “Michael, Brother of Jerry,” also probably with Possum as a model, was an exposé about the cruelty of animal trainers and the vicious treatment of circus animals.
Obviously a dog person, London had owned several dogs – Rollo, Brown Wolf, Peggy – and Possum was his last. Possum died not long after Jack died in 1916. His body was found by Charmian in the Wolf House reflecting pool while she was touring a visiting friend through the ruins. She felt that Possum didn’t want to live anymore after Jack died so “decided to die.” It is not known where the little terrier is buried, but it can be assumed it is near Jack’s grave.
Thank you to several town elves who painted this little awesome Possum for passers-by to enjoy.