As a dog breeder, the best I ever hope for is a home where a dog is loved and valued. Really, in the end the wins - be they on the trail or in the ring - don't matter, the titles don't matter...all that matters is that they were loved.
After the 2006 Iditarod I sold one of my leaders, NorthWapiti's Skor, to my friends Kim and Kelly Berg of Kelim Siberians in New Hampshire. He was a good dog here, but with the Twins he found the home he was meant to be in and became a GREAT dog - but most importantly of all, he was so loved and cherished.
On many occasions over the years one or the other of the Twins would take the time to email me just to tell me just how much the loved him and what a great dog he was. Every one of those emails made me smile.
This morning they sent me a quick email that mentioned that Skor was having a lump removed from his side today. Nothing serious, they just didn't want it to irate him when he ran in harness. Very typical of them to be that attentive to their dogs!
When I got back from my run there was a message from Kim on the machine. She just said to call, but from the sound of her voice I knew the news before I picked up the phone and returned her call. Skor had passed away coming out of anesthetic.
My Facebook wall and my Inbox have been filled with notes about Skor today and what a great dog he was and what great offspring he produced. All true in my mind, but the greatest thing about his life was the love he shared with his owners.
A mutual friend said today that Kim and Kelly were sad they didn't even say 'goodbye' to him before he went in for his surgery today. I want them to know that there was no need for that. He is never leaving the two of you - and he knew every day how much you loved and adored him - we all did.
I am so pleased that he found you two and that you found him. You were meant to be together and although right now it doesn't seem like the time you were given was long enough - it was as long as it was meant to be. Skor's father and sister left me in manners that I thought I would never recover from. I did. You will.
It'll hurt for a long time - it should. That what happens when you lose a loved one.
Grieve hard, but then pick yourself up and move forward. There will never be another Skor, but there are many other great dogs in their own right that will share your life. Loving a dog as much as you loved him doesn't make less room in your heart for others, it opens it up and makes more room. Use it well.
From all of us here at NorthWapiti - our deepest and most heartfelt condolences
In honor of NorthWapiti's Skor, June 6, 2001 - August 24, 2010.