Monday, December 9, 2013

My SPIRIT--a memorial

 December 10, 2013 would have been Spirit's 12th birthday. On May 28, 2013 I helped him across the Rainbow Bridge. A very sad day and still brings tears to think about it. Spirit was my heart dog. While I love all my huskies, every now and then, one grabs you more than the others. Before Spirit, it was Quinn. When Quinn passed I wasn't even going to get another Siberian. I had my pound dog Annie and figured that was enough for a while. But, Annie was lonely, so I got Chena. And a couple years later, I got Spirit. Maybe I bonded with Quinn and Spirit because they came into my life when they were only a few weeks old. I met Spirit when he was 10 days old.
Spirit(left) and a littermate at 10 days.

I went back to visit him again at 4 weeks, 6 weeks and at 8 weeks I took him home. He was such a cute puppy.
4 weeks-stole my heart
6 weeks-Spirit far right
8 weeks old and home!
Spirit was always a whiner and a loner. When I went to pick him up to bring him home, my sister asked if I was sure he was the one I wanted. Of course he was!! And he whined his whole life. It became quite the laugh. He could noises like a wookie in Star Wars. I read somewhere that George Lucas patterned the wookie noise from his Malemute. Well, he could have used Spirit.

Spirit settled in quickly. Chena adopted him immediately. Annie tolerated him. My mom's dog Jill loved him. He was quite the boy. He seemed to like everyone.

Chena, who never had puppies, quickly adopted Spirit.

My Mom's Clumber Spaniel, Jill, found a new playmate.

Annie, the old black pound dog, tolerated a very playful puppy.

Even as a pup, Spirit loved  snow.

Spirit was a great dog. We walked everyday at Prettyboy Reservoir. He was allowed off leash for a couple years, until one day Chena led him astray. After that, only one of them was ever off leash at a time. That pack mentality was not good. He loved running through the woods. He chased deer--never caught one. He met horses and was quite interested in them. He caught a squirrel once and brought it to me. I ignored him. I knew if I tried to take it away he'd eat it. He was so proud of himself and I think disappointed I didn't feel the same. So he hid the squirrel under a fallen tree. For 3 days he'd stop and check on that squirrel. But the 4th day, it was gone. He was quite upset about that, running to me like it was my fault.
Spirit always liked high places. This was on the banks at Prettyboy
when we were having a drought and the water was low.
Spirit proved to be a real snow dog. Whenever we had snow--and this was in Maryland--he would be laying in it. When we moved to the Poconos he did the same thing. And when we got to Alaska I think he found his heaven.
In Maryland, Spirit laying on the deck, observing his world,
and totally enjoying the snow.
In the Poconos, we lost Chena. And even though Sissy had come to live with us, Spirit really missed Chena. After that, he never really hung out with any of the girl dogs. I was the only one he wanted to be with. I kept getting more dogs and while he liked them, he became Mr Aloof. 
Sissy and Spirit. Sissy was an Iditarod finisher with Karen Ramstead.
She taught Spirit to be a sled dog.
Vocal his whole life, here he is giving me lip while I'm trying to take photos.

Spirit in right wheel.
While he loved to run, he didn't pull a lot.
Finally figured it might be because his head was so big and
heavy that he wasn't comfortable. When he could no longer keep
up with the girls he retired. When he was younger, I did show him a 
few times, but he wasn't much interested in it. We tried obedience, but
unlike Chena, he would never get a CD title. He did however love agility and was the class clown, talking through every run. He was pretty good at it, except for the weave poles. I think in that husky head of his, he thought they were pointless.

Spirit in the show ring. Not sure where this is.
On the teeter-toter

He loved the A Frame!

And through the tire.

Spirit became my go to dog. Whenever I could only take one dog, it was Spirit. He was so mellow and so handsome and he loved to go. He rode in the back with his head between the seats, many times laying his head in the crook of my arm. He was the happiest when it was just he and I out and about. I took him when I drove back the Denali Rd, when we camped in Ninilchik and when I worked at the Princess Lodge for Alaska State Parks one summer, he went with me. He was part of my demonstration on mushing and sled dogs. He loved it for a few weeks, but the pressure got to him. We would be in the lobby with 40 people standing around him taking his photo and calling his name. I think he couldn't understand what they wanted since he was right in front of them. I was sad to send him home, but knew he would be happier--or at least not stressed out. He did mope when I went away and didn't take him. He did love going to Ninilchik. We camped in my Scamp on the beach. He got to sleep in the bed with me and we walked a lot..his favorite thing. Spirit was also a thief. If you had food on the counter, you better not step away because he would have it. I never put food on they table unless I was going to sit down. At Ninilchik, sitting around the campfire with my friends Pat and Sarah, Pat had a sandwich in her hand and was holding it up near the side of her face. Spirit walked up behind her and took it right out of her hand. He was so fast!! Pat was quite shocked. LOL He was also quite the beggar. If you ate dinner he was right there at your elbow with the most expressive eyebrows just looking at you with that, "Are you going to eat that?" look. It was hard to get mad at him. Even at night, when he choose to sleep outside. Didn't matter the temperature, he was happiest outside. That is, until about 4 am when he would beat on the sliding door and scream like something was after him. I'd let him in and he'd run full blast to the bedroom, jump on the bed, turn around really fast and collapse with a harrumph. He was great to sleep next to at -30 as he radiated heat. 
Spirit in Denali National Park-Polychorme Pass
We had a lot of wonderful adventures.

Spirit in front of Denali when he was with me at the Princess Lodge.

On the beach at Deep Creek State Park 
So handsome and huggable

My traveling buddy

When Nahanni arrived (she also was an Iditarod finisher with
Karen Ramstead) Spirit found another girlfriend. He was
more attracted to her than all the other girls since Chena. She really missed
him when he didn't come home with me in May. She grieved.

A typical Spirit scene. Curled up in the snow. Sometimes he'd go
in one of the dog houses, but mostly he liked being out in the snow.
I'll miss you forever.

(All photos are ©2013HuskyProductions/DonnaQuante)

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