Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Holding Our Breath

This past Monday was the 13th birthday of our 'Muppet Litter'.

Their birth was a memorable one for me as it was one of the very few NorthWapiti litters that I was not around for the birth of. In those years I was working as a track photographer at the Grande Prairie racetrack after my shift at my regular job was over. I had no backup and was expected to be there every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. Mark sat home with Ginger and called at regular intervals to give me updates. A little black and white girl, a piebald male, another piebald male, a black and white male.....
Of course, they grew up to be some of the best sled dogs I've met - including one, Grover , that remains the very best sled dog I've ever known.

But thousands of memories and miles have passed in 13 years. Grover passed away 2 1/2 years ago, Denise phoned last month to say that Gonzo had passed....but I know Colleen was celebrating Smiley's birthday with cake, party hats and presents.
Here we were just holding our breath. See on Friday Gus (aka NorthWapiti's Mr. Snuffleupagus) had a bad day. He didn't eat dinner and was unsteady on his feet. We took him out of 'Geriatric Park' and put him in a kennel of his own. He didn't seem in pain, he just seemed ...well....old. He did eventually eat his dinner and settled down for the night. Saturday was better but I was still only cautiously optimistic. Sunday, thankfully he was almost back to himself and Monday, for his birthday he went back into G Park.

I know it pretty much only mattered to me that Monday was Gus's birthday - or maybe it was just that I was just grabbing for a few more days, a few more memories. Letting go is always so hard.

Former Anchorage Daily News reporter Craig Medred wrote a wonderful piece last month on this bittersweet time in a dog/human relationship. You can read it at Make sure to grab a Kleenex before you do though.

And for the record Camilla continues to be doing great. She is as bouncy and happy as always. Gus too - I'm holding my breath hoping he makes 14 now!



husky mom said...

Glad you are feeling better, Gus!

Laura said...

Keep it up, Camilla and Gus! You two are much valued by Karen and all of her fans for present and past memories!


AndiLou said...

May it comfort you Karen to know that because of you, they have had very long, healthy, and happy lives!!!!

Helen Thorgalsen said...

Hm, I seemed to have missed the invite to Smiley's party!

Marilyn said...

WOW its been 2 1/2 year already since Grover passed? Hard to believe.

The Thundering Herd said...

Happy birthday and glad you are feeling better Gus.

granimar said...

They were all looking pretty perky in May---what a treat to scratch ears and chins that day. Heart Memories, Karen are the very best, even when they flow over into Heart Tears.
My favorite heart memory of Smiley is coming into Lincoln in that snow storm in the basket---and being so unconcerned with all of the fuss. I sent that picture to Colleen. Do you remember the deal you made with him Karen, so he could ride in the basket from Huckleberry Ridge?
Happy Birthday all, Gus, I've got on your sweatshirt--glad you're feeling better.
Marlene, mlg

ElizabethMC said...

Glad to hear Gus is feeling better.

Live every moment, Love every day, cuz if you don't you might just throw your love away.
R.E.O. Speedwagon

Karen Ramstead said...

I remember very well Marlene. He helped pull us up over Huckleberry Pass and then very quickly reminded me of our deal and rode the rest of the way to the finish line!
Good memories!


BADASmusher said...

Glad to hear the Gus is better. Here's to another 365 days with them.

The Great Gonzo said...

thanks so much Karen for the "Muppet Litter" story and mentioning Gonzo, there are so many great memories, so here's to many, many, more and to all of our great dogs, past, present and future....cheers, Denise

Chris said...

A very belated Birthday to you Gus I'm so Gald you is feeling better now...

I only spent 3 months with you and have some very fond memories..Thank you.

And here is to your 14th next year..