It is impossible to welcome a tiny, defenseless being into the world, worry over them for their most vulnerable 8 weeks starting life, watch them take their first steps and develop their personality, and *not* tuck a piece of your heart in with their toys and paperwork as their new families, full of joy and excitement, pick them up and take them away. I am blessed to hear frequently from my puppy owners through social media and email, and occasionally I am able to meet up and see how the promise in the puppy I cherished has flourished into a brilliant family companion.
And so, when one of my puppies leaves us, taking that piece of my heart I tucked away with them all those years ago, I mourn along with their families. My heart gets broken, and then patched together again through the comfort my own personal dogs rain down on me, and through the little puppy licks and antics of the next litter I am honored enough to steward.
I remain forever grateful to the families that loved my pups and shared a glimpse into their development - both triumphs and challenges. I will also forever celebrate these lives that were entrusted to me, for all too short a time.
I celebrate the life of Guinness (puppy name Psonen), a true Chinook gentleman and devoted family member. Guinness was a quietly confident puppy, with a no-drama attitude and independent personality.
He grew into a gentleman dog that loved cuddles and was a great companion and Chinook ambassador, with a quiet sense of self. Guinness was a pleasant if not driven working dog - a "Starter" partner for his mom to learn skijoring in the wonderful Gunstock resort trails of New Hampshire.
In his single scooter race, Guinness turned in a steady, uninspired performance at a trot. He ensured his Mom had no reason to fear speed on the hilly, twisty parts of the course! :) While he might not have been a born racer, Guinness was a good, good Chinook that loved his people.
Last week, Guinness went off his food, as he was known occasionally to do, and as many Chinooks do occasionally. When he didn't rebound and became lethargic, a vet visit found he was in acute kidney failure. With no known ingestion of a toxin, tick disease, or signs of cancer, the cause is unknown. Unfortunately, veterinary intervention failed to help him, and he came home to spend a loving, beautiful fall weekend with his family.
His family said goodbye to him in the golden twilight this evening, for a golden dog. My deepest sypathies to Guinness' family, who are still reeling from the shock of having a healthy dog a few days ago. His mama Sakari and I are cuddling extra close tonight, and thinking of him. You were a good, good, boy. Godspeed, Guinness.
Toby was the only male pup from Tikaani’s 2nd litter, and in keeping with the theme of Celtic Heroes, his puppy name was Pendragon. He was a sunny, uncomplicated, loving Chinook boy, who often watched his sibling Calista get into mischief while he properly napped lazily in the sun.
When he was old enough, he flew west to Colorado where he grew into an adventuresome family companion, earning his Working Pack Dog titles hiking the Rockies with his owners, dipping his paws in the cool lakes. He was an experienced camp dog and devoted family member.
I got to see Toby at the Colorado Specialty and Family Reunion in 2015, memories I cherish. Toby was able to prove his sleddog bona fides, immediately taking to pulling in harness and happily pulling with his sister Calista.
Toby sired two litters, of seven puppies each. You can see Toby’s big head, wide smile, cream-sickle coloring, and friendly wagging tail in many of his puppies.
Yesterday, Toby went hiking in the Rockies an activity he enjoyed with the people he loved. On the return, he began exhibiting signs of overheating. With immediate treatment, he improved, and was rushed to the emergency vet with complications where they were unable to revive him.
My sympathies to Toby’s owners who are, as you can imagine, devastated. I’m holding his sister Calista a little bit tighter today, something she is confused but happy about. Godspeed, Toby. You were a good, good dog. Overheating is a serious danger for dogs - you can learn more about the signs and emergency treatments here: https://m.wikihow.pet/Treat-Heat-Stroke-in-Dogs