Sunday, 22 February 2015

Alaskan's Olena of Anadyr

 Alaskan Olena of Anadyr
July 28, 2000 - February 21, 2015

It was a dog lifetime ago that I stood on the front steps of Howling Dog Farm in Alaska, chatting with Natalie Norris. Mark and I were returning a dog to her that we had leased. We had had a nice visit and Mark had run to the truck to get Keesa. Natalie and I were making small talk as we waited for him to return.
She had a litter of puppies on the ground from my two very favourite Anadyr dogs. Wanting to outright ask for one, but not being brave enough, I 'casually' asked what she was going to do with them. She said she was keeping a few and would like to find some 'good' homes for a couple others. "What do you consider a 'good' home?", I asked. "Well", she said, with that typical Natalie pause, "one like yours". Moments later when Mark arrived back on the scene, the deal had been finalized and Olena was coming to live with us. I could not have been happier.

Fourteen years have passed since that day - a dog's lifetime - Olena's lifetime, to be precise.

I can't begin to tell you all about Olena. She was a unique and complicated dog. My long held nickname for her 'Evil' led many to believe she was a mean dog. She wasn't, in ANY shape of the word - but she was bossy, outspoken and very 'concerned' with status. Were she a human I likely would have found her tiresome to be around, but she was a dog, and her 'honesty' and uniqueness made me smile, even when I was yelling her name and rolling my eyes.  Man I loved that dog.

She never finished an Iditarod, but it didn't matter, she carried her weight, and more, in any team she was in.

And, of course, her biggest contribution to our kennel was easily her offspring. She had 4 litters for us - two planned and two unplanned. Turning your back on her when she was in season was not wise. I still have not been able to figure out when she and Squeaky managed to 'hook up' for the 'Copper Basin' litter.
Olena has children in Canada, the US, England and Sweden - and grand children in even more countries.
Eleven of the 16 dogs on my '14 Iditarod team had Olena in their pedigree.

I'd tell you to 'Rest in Peace' Olena, but you would find that painful boring. You thrived on chaos and loved to create it when there was none.

I wish the heavens 'Good Luck' upon your arrival!


Ricki said...


Darrel & Linda Ferguson said...

Lots of hugs and so sorry you lost your Olena. I hate losing them because it hurts.

Carol Clark said...

So sorry, it's hard to lose special ones, young or old.

Anonymous said...

So sad to hear about Olena ;-( warm thoughts to you and Mark and the kennel.

Barbara B. said...

Oh no, so, so sorry Karen. I will never forget on my one visit when I had brought a treat for each of the dogs, and Moses tried to share his with in-heat Olena. She was sweet as could be with us, but (that day only I guess) paid no attention to Moses. :) She was a very special girl.

Anonymous said...

I never met Olena but I always felt I knew her and that she was "my kind of dog". I am very sad to hear this and I know your heart has to be breaking. Someday you will meet again. a very teary Diana Miller

Polly Bray said...

God speed Olena. Our sympathy to all at North Wapiti

Polly and Bill Bray

granimar said...

So sorry, Olena is gone. I'll always think of my last hug to her when I visited the kennel last. It seems like forever that I've sponsored her and certainly will miss she's absent from the kennel. Know you and Mark will miss her, too. Marlene, mlg

Christina Agans said...

Sorry for your loss, she sounds like a character.

Mark from Ohio said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, I know how much you love your dogs! Keep well, and I'll give you a hug in AK!