On Thursday evening, our dear, sweet, much loved, wonderful boy Kazek left us. In much the same way he did everything, Kaz broke our hearts in a calm, quiet moment of passing. The hole he leaves behind is immeasurable, our still tender hearts, aching from the loss of Braeburn just 6 weeks ago, are almost overwhelmed by the pain and grief.
In early August, Kaz had a high grade, aggressive mast cell tumour removed, and the subsequent lab work was nothing but bad news. We were told to cherish the short time we would have with him, and that the most we could hope for was 3 to 4 months. In the end, we got to love on him for almost 7 months, and for most of that time, he was in good spirits. Despite everything, he refused to become a house dog – we did drag him indoors during the coldest nights of the winter, but he much preferred to live outdoors in the back garden. We made him wear a dogcoat, and I don’t know if it did anything for him, but it made us feel better.
As many of you know, we love the Seppala line of dogs, and we pursued a dream to make a place in our lives for these dogs. If Cuchi was the foundation of our dream, Kaz was the cement that set everything in it’s rightful place. From the moment he arrived, he was a calming presence, a dog who got on with everybody and everything.
Naturally, he lived amongst “The Happy Crew”, and on more than one occasion could be found eating his dinner untethered, because I had forgotten to reattach him after play time. It quickly became apparent that Kaz didn’t need a tether to his house, and with his buddy Quiz, my 2 main leaders became loose living dogs.
As a sled dog, Kaz was outstanding. Great drive, sharp brain and honest effort. He had never run in harness when he came here as a 2 year old, but by the end of his first winter, he was my leader. And he remained so until his illness. I have so many memories and photographs of Kaz up at the front of my team, paired with an number of different running mates, but the combination of Kaz and Quiz always was my favourite.
As “just” a dog, Kaz was wonderful. He was quietly affectionate, serene and steady. A loving dog that just enjoyed simply “being”.
I sometimes wonder how it will be possible to survive the heart loss that I know is coming, when I look out across our yard, when the ache from Kaz’ passing is so raw. But we will, as we have in the past, our memories sustain the love and we will cherish those dogs we have and cry for those we lose.