Saturday, October 09, 2010

Godspeed Sweet Girls...

This is the saddest day in the history of Wandering Spirits Kennels.

Two of our canine pack moved on to whatever comes next this morning. Two of our firsts; two of the dogs who were here almost from the begining of all this craziness.
Her Royal Highness, Queen Sleet.
Our first Yukon dog, Sleet arrived here just a few months after we did. Stuart was taking a training course for volunteer firefighters and went for coffee with a couple in the course after class. He came home and said "Trish sent something home for you." I had never met Trish at that point and wondered what a stranger could have possibly sent me.

I opened the truck door to find a slightly frightened and confused black and white sled dog. Trish has since become a close friend and Sleet is without a doubt the best gift anyone has ever given me.

Sleet was already seven when she got here. Still an active working sled dog, but one who was not so interested in spending her days outside, unhappy in a traditional dog yard setting and not quite as fast as she used to be. At the time, I only had three other dogs, purebred Siberians who had no idea they came from sled dog lines! Sleet spent several years happily leading a growing team down the trail. If it hadn't been for her, I'd probably still be standing in the driveway, dogs going crazy, harnesses tangled and lines chewed, wondering what the hell to do next. Sleet got us started, got us home when the musher insisted on taking the wrong trail, taught the young and the scared that pulling was fun. In life Sleet was sweet and submissive; in harness she took no crap from anyone and was all business.
She did not enjoy winter nearly as much in the last couple years. She spent more and more time inside, curled up on her bed in the living room. The other dogs all knew that even if Sleet wasn't on it, that was her bed and they weren't to use it. Time took it's toll on Sleet's body as she slowly lost control of her bladder, lost her strength, mobility and energy. Her vet records show she was born in June 1994, so she had over sixteen good years. Still somehow doesn't seem long enough. I've never really known Yukon life without Sleet; there will be many adjustments without her.

We woke to several inches of snow this morning....a fitting send off for one of the finest lead dogs to ever pull a sled.

Minutes after Sleet left us, Goldie joined her. Goldie was the first dog who ever looked at me from a shelter kennel and as plain as a day asked me to help her. Her face, those soft, scared brown eyes at that moment are forever burned into my memory. My silly husband actually said " you have three dogs that's enough!" If only he knew what the next few years would bring! Two years later, eight dogs were here and Goldie was still wasting away in the local shelter. She came here in April 2002.

Goldie's life was a battle from day one. Her front legs were curved, likely from malnutrition as a puppy; she was found as a yearling, in heat, fending for herself, terrified of men. Then over two years in a shelter; prolonged confinement like that does funny things to a dog's psyche. Goldie came to us with issues and immediately started to battle here too. She hated Preacher and tried to beat him up every chance she got. She randomly started fights and ended up spending much of her time isolated from the other dogs. In an effort to figure out what was wrong with her as it seemed her life was not much improved from the shelter, we had multiple tests done at the vet.

Turned out that Goldie had a fractured pelvis. Her vet thought she had been kicked viciously. The break was never treated and by the time she got here it had healed all wrong. It was the root of Goldie's aggression; she moved wrong, it hurt and whatever dog was closest to her at that moment got bite! She started immediately on pain control and anti-inflammatory medication. Within in days, the sweet, gentle, fun dog I knew was in there came out to play!

Goldie developed a strong bond with Chase. They shared a pen and their lives. A funny looking pair indeed...short, fat Goldie, long, lean, tall Chase, but they adored each other and were never far apart. Chase stayed by Goldie's side even as she took her last breath. She was lucky to have him; he added joy, canine companionship, play and security to her life. I am lucky to have Chase and hope he will be able to adjust to life without his dear friend.

Goldie's final battle was one we knew she could not win. She had bone cancer in her ribcage. She made it eleven months with the cancer, much longer than originally anticipated. The tumor had grown so large that no amount of medication allowed her to get truly comfortable. She had trouble walking and no endurance.

Such different dogs in almost every way, such wonderful dogs in so many more. It was a privilege to share your lives.

Godspeed my girls. You will be deeply missed for a long time.


dogsled_stacie said...

Lovely tribute to them both - they are lucky to have found you as you are them.

It'll be a hard adjustment for you to get used to your world without them in it, luckily you have many other fur-beings who will be there every step of the way to help you through it! I feel for ya though, it's so damned HARD and you've got double the loss to deal with today. Hang in there my fellow dog-freak! :)

Thanks for sharing and reminding us about their personalities. Hope Chase deals with it ok, how awesome he was there for her at the end... my eyes got weepy at the thought of that.

TimberLove said...

we came to paw our respect, soft husky woooos,

RA & Isis

NAK and The Residents of The Khottage Now With KhattleDog! said...

Our candle is ready for sundown here -

And on each trip out tonight we'll look for the two speedy stars on the trail -

Our Best to all those left to fill the holes in the yard and hearts -

Khyra and Phyll

Jack & Moo said...

We send sad woos mingled with tears, my friend. You've given them the final gift - their spirits are free, joining their pack mates over the Bridge. They couldn't have had a more perfect home while they were here. We'll watch for two bright stars as we look to the heavens tonight.

Jack, Moo, & Pat

Carol said...

My dear daughter, this is truly like losing a family member for these critters are your family, your babies and friends. Know that we share in your grief but we also know that it was time to let them go and allow them to be free of pain, able to run and play once again. Hugs for you, Stuart and all the canine and feline critters that share your home and heart.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

Khyra and Phyll sent me over. What a beautiful and touching tribute. I am so very sorry for your loss! What wonderful lives these precious pups had because of your love and devotion to them.

I had to put down a 15 year old foster dog today and somehow knowing that our Sam's arrival at the Bridge was with 2 nobel souls like Sleet and Goldie has given me comfort...God-speed to our precious pups...

Teddy Westlife said...

I'm so sorry. There are no words.

Khady Lynn said...

The most loving, and difficult thing we do is let them go. They knew how very much they were loved and will be watching over you.

May the memories comfort you at such a difficult time.

Many furry hugs to you!

D.K. Wall said...

AS we have already said, we can only imagine how difficult this has all been. What wonderful lives each of them enjoyed thanks to you. Our candles have been lit since yesterday.

siberianwinter said...

I have tears of saddness in my eyes for you; but I am so glad they had the opportunity of forever homes with you.

tula monstah said...

the t-herd sent me here.. woo's in my thoughts & can tell that Goldie and Sleet will be deeply missed.

run free,

KB said...

I cannot imagine what a difficult time it is for you but you wrote beautiful and touching tributes to both Sleet and Goldie. I felt like I knew them from your stories. They were such lucky girls to have you find them so long ago.

Unknown said...

I came over from the thundering herds post. I feel like I knew both from your post and feel an emptiness. Our thoughts are with you.
norwood and debi

Unknown said...

i am so so sorry for your loss, it is heartbreaking to lose a dog, i cant imagine the pain of losing two,

May the peace which comes from the memories of love shared,
Comfort you now and in the days ahead.


Emma Rose said...

We came over from The Thundering Herd. Your tribute to your beloved dogs was beautuiful. We are all in tears. Those were two lucky souls to have found such a wonderful forever home.

Emma Rose and the Duchess

Stella said...

The Herd sent me, too. I am so happy these dogs had a wonderful life with you, your concern for their health and the good care you gave them.

Thank you for writing their stories for us, it will help us to remember them.


24 Paws of Love said...

We too found you from the Thundering Herd and want to express our sadness at your loss. What a beautiful tribute to both of your wonderful dogs. Thank you for sharing even in your time of grief.

May Sleet and Goldir run free.

Amy / Layla the Malamute said...

What a beautiful tribute to two beautiful dogs. I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm sure both girls understand your compassion in letting them go. You and your pack are in our thoughts and prayers.

- Amy & Layla

White Dog Blog said...

We, too, came from the Thundering Herd to gently woof our respects and offer our sympathies for your great losses. Your tribute is beautiful and from it we can tell your grief is great. May you, Goldir, and Sleet find peace.

The Heartbeats said...

The Thundering Herd sent us over. Sounds like you've lost 2 very good pups. We are very sorry about that.

The Heartbeats

FANCY the Red Standard Poodle said...

The Thundering Herd told us about y'all. What truly beautiful tributes you have given your best buddies. I'm looking forward to getting to know you better.
Hawk aka BrownDog

Sierra Rose said...

We are so very sorry to hear about the loss of Sleet and Goldie! They tug our heart strings. Rest in peace sweet ones.

Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
Sierra Rose

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to your entire canine, feline & human family.
I feel your sadness & don't even want to think about losing my Sitka.
You gave a beautiful tribute to Sleet & Goldie. They had a wonderful life because of you.
I am happy to have found your site because of The Thundering Herd.

Phred said...

A Beautiful Tribute, TamaraLyn.
Tears are pouring out.

But, Look UP in the Sky -
Just North of The Bridge ...
God's out running the Silver Harness
team - with it's Two Newest Members.

RUN With the Wind, FurKids.

My Deepest Sympathies to
TamaraLyn and Stuart. {{{HUGS}}}

Elyse K said...

Thinking of you with (((HUGS))) and prayers today, Tamara and family.

My sympathies to you,

DownloadGirl said...

I should have come here to read your tribute sooner ..... what a lovely lovely tribute, brought such tears to my eyes.
GodSpeed Sleet and Goldie.