Dirty Biter

La Conner is a quaint little town on the banks of the Swinomish Channel in the heart of Skagit Valley, Washington. It has a distinctly bohemian feel to it and has been home to several prominent artists, sculptors and writers through the years. On the way back from last year’s Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, my friend Sylvia and I stopped to wander along the main street, filled with restaurants, art galleries and boutiques that meander along the waterfront. We were looking for somewhere to grab a bite to eat when we happened across a rather unusual statue of a dog with a crooked jaw, wonky teeth and his tongue lolling out to one side.

dirty biter, la conner, skagit valley, washington state, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooneyHe was clearly loved, for he wore a hand-crocheted collar of bright yellow daffodils that someone had made for him. Intrigued, we drew closer to view a nearby sign which read:

Dirty Biter was one of LaConner’s great characters who reminded us of simpler times. He was kind of a funny looking dog because of a broken jaw suffered when he was a puppy, but he was a great town dog who loved everyone. He never thought a thing about going home with anyone who thought they might need a dog for the night. He had his own bar stool and place on the dance floor at his favorite hangout, the 1890’s tavern. He was a real good beggar and his favorite was the tavern’s “Broasted Chicken”, but he never passed up a good steak or a burger.

Biter left us one night doing something else he loved, a good old fashion dog fight. But now Dirty Biter will live on, with this memorial in the newly named Dirty Biter Park, how fitting that it just happens to be right next to the tavern. 

As I read the placard I imagined Jack Palance doing his best City Slicker Curly the Cowboy’s slow, deep drawl, saying the words with a slight tremble in his voice. I had already been enchanted by La Conner’s charming ambiance, but now I was falling a little in love with the town that loved a dog so much they gave him a statue and named a park after him. When we’d finished reading, Sylvia and I exchanged glances, then went into the tavern and ordered lunch in memory of a funny-looking little dog with a crooked jaw.

dirty biter, la conner, skagit valley, washington state, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney



About ailsapm

Hi there! I’m Ailsa Prideaux-Mooney. I’ve lived in many places, and travelled to many more. I had a lot of fun getting there and being there, wherever there happened to be at the time. I climbed a castle wall in Czesky Krumlov, abseiled down cliffs to go caving in the west of Ireland, slept on the beach in Paros, got chased by a swarm of bees in Vourvourou (ok that wasn’t fun, but it was exciting), learned flower arranging in Tokyo, found myself in the middle of a riot in Seoul, learned to snowboard in Salzburg, got lost in a labyrinth in Budapest and had my ice cream stolen by a gull in Cornwall. And I’m just getting started. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, I’d love you to follow my travelogue - wheresmybackpack.com - and remember, anyone who tries to tell you it’s a small world hasn’t tried to see it all.
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26 Responses to Dirty Biter

  1. John says:

    Aww so sweet of the towns people. 😌

  2. Too gorgeous….but what a sad end 😦

  3. DailyMusings says:

    how amazing and what a beautiful story- albeit for his sad ending.I love the statue and the crochet adds that “human touch” thanks for sharing this story! 🙂

  4. freebutfun says:

    Adorable story, makes me want to visit the place to meet the people there!

  5. loisajay says:

    very, very sweet. What a wonderful tribute.

  6. Heyjude says:

    These sorts of snippets are what travelling is all about! Love it ❤

    • ailsapm says:

      So very true, Jude – I think that little statue tells more about the spirit of La Conner than any guide book ever could.

  7. I’ve been to La Conner plenty of times but didn’t know this story. It’s time for another trip!

  8. Aww, Dirty Biter does tug on the heartstrings a bit, doesn’t he? I love La Conner too. We stayed at the La Conner Inn for a few days on our first trip to Washington a couple of years ago. It was during our pre-RV days. When we went into town last month we caught the sun in just the right spot to turn the Rainbow Bridge into well… a beautiful rainbow! LoL 🙂

  9. Mother Hen says:

    Thank you for sharing this bittersweet story.. Life has it’s sadness among the happy too..

  10. DagEnDauw says:

    Such a lovely story. I know a retriever myself and I realy can imagine that “dirty biter” was a beloved dog because they sure have a social and kind character.

  11. Aww, this is why I love small towns and tight-knit communities. I love that Dirty Biter was so beloved 🙂

  12. y. prior says:

    what a nice tribute to this special dog – dirty biter!! and glad you stopped there and grabbed some shots to share = very special. 🙂

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