20 Feb 2014 11.30 AM 11 F Blue skies and sunny
The emotional battering continues.
Last week, suddenly and completely unexpectedly, we lost Harry. He had been in fine shape and behaving as he always does. One day, he seemed a little off colour, with no improvement the following day, he was brought indoors and we decided to take him to the vet the following morning. During the night, his condition took a rapid and hugely unexpected downturn and en route to the emergency vet, he simply passed away on the journey.
Losing any of our dogs is never easy, and each loss affects us deeply. Far from becoming easier, it seems as if the grief becomes cumulative, our emotions and hearts, heavy from the recent losses of Junior and Keetna are almost overwhelmed by this loss. In quiet solitary moments, we give in and allow ourselves to weep and to mourn.
Harry, also known as “the quiet man”, came to us from Bob & Tammy Davis’ Tay Marr Kennel as a 9 month old pup. He was one of the early arrivals in the UK on the (then) new Pet Passport scheme which meant he avoided having to do 6 months quarantine. He flew into the UK in March 2004 and then turned around and flew back to the USA with us in September that year, to spend 6 months in New Hampshire, before flying once again, back to Scotland. And of course, he travelled with us on our flight here to Alaska.
He was an incredibly well mannered dog, never caused trouble, never pushed his way to the front but was always happy to have some solitary attention. He loved having his ear scratched and would lean further and further into you to make sure you couldn’t leave. And as wonderful and gentle a soul he was, he was also a fantastic sled dog. He raced on our sprint team in both dryland and sled, he raced mid-distance in NH with me and was very much a part of our team here in Alaska with the greater distances we were running. As a yearling, he ran single lead and continued to be a solid and reliable leader, although he seemed equally happy to run anywhere in the team. His one flaw – a tendency to chew his harness if it got put on too early.
There are no words to express the depth of loss, the brief recounting of a few memories pays scant tribute to impact that Harry and all of our dogs have on us and our lives. Each time, we agonise over our actions and decisions, analysing and second guessing each and every one of them, wondering what we could have done differently or better. The pain of the loss is one thing, the subsequent self doubt and insecurity that it brings, merely adds more misery and confusion.
Goodbye Harry, my quiet friend. May your ears be always be scratched exactly as you desire, may your meals always have just the perfect amount of water , not too much and not too little and may you always know you were loved and cherished by us.