6, 745 Miles

12 Feb 2017    10.00 AM     -17F   Clear and sunny

In May 2014, I made what I thought would be my last long run to collect dogs from JJ and Susan Bragg at Seppala Kennels in Manitoba. I’d made several trips over the preceding years, and was sure that I wouldn’t be driving there again. And I was sort of right……..

Early in January, the only other kennel in the US of A that has Bragg’s Seppala Siberian Sleddogs announced that they were looking to sell their dogs for personal reasons. My initial interest was tempered by the fact that Seppness Kennel is located in Minnesota, and they wanted a group of the dogs to go together and within a fairly short space of time. My wife, who really should know better, agreed that we should make enquiries and before you know it, we’ve bought 10 new dogs and I’m loading the truck for another long drive to collect new dogs.

I’ve driven the Alcan 5 times,  in May, June, Sept and October. I’ve also driven to a race in Whitehorse in early March, but the prospect of driving across a huge swathe of North America in the height of winter was a little daunting – to put it mildly. As well as all my usual precautions, I packed extra, extra winter gear, 2 sets of snowchains, a couple of snow shovels, a towrope, a spare towrope, spare fuel, renewed my membership of AAA and charged up my Delorme Inreach Explorer, which is a satellite tracked SOS device.  To make things even more “interesting,” the day I left it was a balmy -35F, and when I spoke to my wife a couple of days later, it had dropped to -45F, a temperature where all sorts of issues start arising, including our propane regulator freezing which means no fuel for the furnace – ergo no heat.  Not a problem for me, as I was well to the west of the cold air and was actually enjoying unseasonably warm weather. For most of my trip, the temperatures ranged between a pleasant 10F and a very warm 41F.

The road stretches ahead far into the distance

There are a couple of differences between driving the Alcan in January and June, unsurprisingly.

  • It’s dark – a lot of the time.
  • It’s colder, much,  much colder
  • Alaska doesn’t bother plowing out it’s rest stops or opening the public restrooms
  • There’s no-one else on the road
  • The scenery is just as stunning, but looks much more desolate and daunting.
Only 975 miles until the next turn !

Due to there only being one road out of the State, navigation is not really an issue, the biggest of my concerns is always making sure that Big Blue has enough fuel to make it to the next gas station. My most frequent complaint about my beloved truck is it’s truly appalling fuel consumption rate. The first day went almost exactly to schedule, and I duly pulled into my planned rest-stop a couple of hours east of Whitehorse around 2.00 am and grabbed a few hours of sleep, cocooned in my -40 rated sleeping bag, which easily coped with keeping me warm – if not a little too warm.

Driving conditions were pretty good – I was very pleasantly surprised  – I’d almost venture to suggest it was better than the road is during the summer. Accordingly, I made great time and had made it to Dawson Creek at a reasonable enough time to make it worth getting a hotel room. And thus, my schedule was set. Drive great distances during the day and sleep in a comfy bed at night. Day 3 saw me in Saskatoon, Day 4 was Fargo, North Dakota and an easy Day 5 was just 350 miles to my destination.

After spending some time getting to meet my new dogs, collecting their paperwork and loading them into the truck, it was time to reverse direction and head back north. The trip home is always longer with dogs. I tend to try and develop a routine with them, I prefer to give them smaller meals or snacks each time we stop, rather than load them up with a full meal a couple of times a day. It also takes me nearly an hour to drop the dogs, I know of guys that can drop and reload an entire truck full inside 20 minutes. I’m never in that much of a hurry and I’d rather the dogs got the chance to stretch, play a bit and get some fresh air. My route home was a bit less direct than the trip out, and I had planned to take the opportunity to go visit Jeff and Susan in Manitoba as who knows when I’ll be back that way again. It was a little out of the way, but as it turns out, it was a good plan, as it enabled me to transport an older dog from Seppness back to Seppala Kennels, where he was originally from. Another of their dogs, Tyna, seemed to be pleased to see them both and we agreed that she should stay with them – the first dog to greet her, was her mother, one of Jeff’s favourites – Little Lizzy Lineout.

After an all too brief visit, it was time once more to hit the road. From here, I feel like I could almost drive back home blindfold. Probably not a good idea, so I resisted the temptation to try. The weather continued to co-operate, apart from a cold patch between Saskatoon and Edmonton, where the dog drop was a little chilly at -3F.  I found it cold after the previous warmer days – and the dogs seemed to find it cold too, considering the Minnesota winters hadn’t been too fierce latterly. I did wonder how they were going to find life in Alaska as I watched them doing the “stand on 2 paws ” dance.

Feeding the dogs somewhere in the Yukon.

When I travel with the dogs, I find myself unwilling to sleep in hotels. I always have the fear that something bad will happen and so I end up staying in the truck. The advantage is that I tend to get much more driving done, the downside is that the interior of my truck becomes a bit of a bombsite, with empty candy wrappers, soda cans and other assorted goodies scattered across the cab. Add in all my spare clothes, blankets, sleeping bag, pillow and goodness knows what all else, well, it is a surprise there’s space for me in there too.

Northern Lights dance above the dog truck during a stop at Summit Lake.

As I continued westwards, I calculated that I’d make Whitehorse at a reasonable time of day and decided to see if I could cadge a free meal and maybe even a bed from my buddy Jacob at Grizzly Valley. Happily, things worked out perfectly, and I got a wonderful meal, a fabulous sleep and fun evening with people I am happy to call friends. A leisurely start the next day and things were looking good for an easy last day. Until I hit Haines Junction and a blizzard. The next couple of hours were the most difficult driving of the entire trip. Heavy snows, 50 mile an hour wind gusts and zero visibility. Fortunately, a snowplow went by and I followed him as best I could for a while. I decided to stop and drop the dogs at Kluane Lake, my favourite spot on the trip and during that break, the weather cleared and my unseasonably good travelling conditions returned.

Argus doesn’t seem to be fazed by the gusting wind and blowing snow

An uneventful border crossing and an easy drive over the Tok cutoff saw me catch an early breakfast at Eklutna Lodge, and the start of a sprinkling of snowflakes. These continued to fall and get heavier until by the time I reached Palmer, things were a bit chaotic. People in Alaska tend to drive the same way all the time – no matter the weather conditions – and not all of them are necessarily that good at it. The last 50 miles of the journey was a little stressful and I was very happy to pull into our driveway, through a foot of new powdery snow and finally be home.

I’m sure the dogs were happy to be out of the truck too. It took a little time to get everyone into their spots, a couple of feet of snow had fallen since I left and some dog houses needed to be found and dug out. Now, 2 weeks later, it feels like they have always been here and I’m looking forward to getting them out on the trail at some point in the near future.

Some of the new dogs getting settled in.

Goodbye Echo

22 August 2016       1.00 PM    57 F       Raining

Echo of Seppala 27 April 2005 ~ 15 Aug 2016
Echo of Seppala                        27 April 2005 ~ 15 Aug 2016

It’s been a week since Echo died. It’s been a week of unhappy days and unsettled nights. His circle is empty, his house unused and as I feed and work with the other dogs in the Happy Crew, his space is a constant reminder of his absence. I have even topped up his water bucket a couple of times, force of habit or just flat out denial that he is gone.
It’s take me until now to write about him, to be able to see the words on the screen through the tears.
Echo came to us in May 2011, on my second trip to Seppala Kennels in Manitoba to bring home 5 dogs. Seemingly, on the spur of the moment, Jeff gifted Echo to me as I was preparing to leave on the long drive home.  As generous as the gesture was, standing next to this large white dog, who was perpetually on the move and had managed to turn his circle into what looked like a bottomless mudpit, and liked to coat himself liberally in the stuff, gave me cause to question his motives – for the briefest of moments  – before hastily putting Echo in the truck in case Jeff thought about changing his mind.

Echo of S May 2011
Echo on his way home to Alaska with me. Some of that Manitoba mud still clinging to him.

During the long drive home, Echo confirmed all my initial impressions of him. Large, strong, vociferous, huge appetite with a boisterous, ebullient personality. Over the years he has been with us, he was a fixture on our team because of all of those traits. His enthusiasm and drive was always evident, and he became a solid, reliable swing dog, backing up his leaders and driving the team forward.

Always ready to go
Always ready to go

Off the team, he was a much loved member of the “Happy Crew” and managed to devote much of his free time to digging large holes and appearing happiest when emerging from a deep cavern, covered in sand, his huge smile evident, and looking forward to inhaling any snacks you happened to have on you.

Echo always knew who had the snacks.
Echo always knew who had the snacks.

His diagnosis of round cell tumours, that seemed to spring up almost overnight, and multiply at any amazing rate, and defeat any treatments that our vets tried, caused him to become a shadow of himself. Our huge dog that never flinched from anything, became increasingly painful and body sensitive, refused food and was becoming ever weaker and thinner. We reached the point where it was apparent there was to be no recovery, no miracle and our love for Echo and his indomitable spirit was no match for his illness. Holding him close as he passed, we whispered calming words, and hoped that he could forgive us.

Run free Echo, may your paths be clear, may your snacks be endless and may your foodbowl always be filled.

Prepping For Winter

30 October 2014   2.30  PM    18 F    Sunny

It’s hard to tell at what point autumn (Fall) becomes winter. I suppose the official designation of the Winter Solstice is as good a point as any. However, if we waited until then to accept that winter has arrived, it would be a bit late for most of the things that I should have done before “it” arrives.

So, whether it is still late autumn or early winter, morning temperatures hovering around 0F kind of make it a moot point.  It’s cold, it’s going to get colder and anything I want to find and/or use at any point between now (or hopefully very soon) and some time in late March or early April probably should be gathered up from wherever I have abandoned it around the property before it disappears under the copious amounts of snow we’re going to get this year.

As part of our ongoing kennel management strategy, we relocated some of our canine assets  (yep, we just moved a few dogs around the yard.) Part of that was to try and get most of the main string dogs closer to the hook up area and part of it was to ensure that the play groups didn’t get so large as to be potentially unsafe.

We also took the opportunity before the ground freezes completely solid to try and remedy some of the summer’s handiwork from a few of the boys. During one of our previous reshuffles, we somehow ended up with the 6 males from “The 6 Dog Pen” being stationed in “The Girls’ Pen”, as well as the group of 5 dogs that arrived from Seppala Kennels earlier in the year. It maybe seemed like a good idea at the time, but the chaos, destruction and hole digging that went on in the formerly, beautifully pristine and level girls’ pen was outrageous. The main culprits were Turov, Yuri and Echo.  Which makes sense because they were the 3 principal miners at their previous location.

Not a word of a lie - this is over 5' deep.  If Turov's chain was longer, he'd still be digging.
Not a word of a lie – this is over 5′ deep. If Turov’s chain was longer, he’d still be digging.
Lunar landscape - it never seems so bad in daylight.  Disaster awaits after the first snowfall.
Lunar landscape – it never seems so bad in daylight. Hard to navigate safely in the dark. 


And now, after 3 lorry loads of sand and a few hours with a skidsteer, it looks like this. We also fixed the other pen that they had tunnelled through.

Lovely, smooth and safe.
Lovely, smooth and safe.

Fortunately, or perhaps not, those 3 boys are all on the main team and have been moved to a new location, the descriptively named “Middle Pen”. So, they have new ground to work on, but the onset of the colder temperatures means we have been saved from major earthworks for at least a few months.

Good dogs, Good truck

11 July 2014       2.30 PM      64 F      I can see blue, almost

As the miles roll on, the dogs and I are getting more relaxed. Even Katya decided that perhaps I wasn’t so bad after all, and deigned to join us in the fresh air eventually. The days tend to blur into each other, as there really isn’t much to distinguish between them. The further north we get, the more daylight we encounter too, which really means you either go by your watch and proper time, or else just wing it and go by your stomach, your bladder or the truck’s fuel tank. I had tentatively arranged to visit friends in Whitehorse, if I didn’t pass through town at the 2 in the morning,however with so many variables affecting the driving time, I pretty much put that to the back of my mind and went with the flow.
So, if I saw a nice parking spot to drop the dogs, I used it. If I wanted to have coffee and a delicious bagel from Timmie’s, I’d detour till I found one. Now, I’m not seeking sponsorship from anyone for our dogteam, but if any company wanted to do so, and if they happened to be called Tim Horton’s, then I’d be in heaven.
Passing through Fort St John and Fort Nelson on a lovely sunny day, knowing how much truly amazing countryside lies ahead is always a “we’re getting there” moment. The mountains are majestic, the surroundings amazing, the people population is minimal and even the traffic is greatly reduced. Equally delightful, as the miles rolled by, the bears seemed to determined to make themselves known. Did you know that bears like to eat dandelions? Well, I certainly didn’t, but I saw quite a few happily munching away on the bright yellow flowers at the side of the road.

Do you mind?  I'm having a snack.
Do you mind? I’m having a snack.
Oh look, another bear.
Oh look, another bear.

As well as bears, I saw several porcupines, a few moose and of course, the gigantic bison that decorate the stretch of road between Liard and Watson Lake. The main herd seem to travel together, but scattered across the 100 kilometres or so , are small groupings of young males, and occasionally a single bull who must consider mixing with the rest of the herd, as far beneath his status.

Tatanka !
Tatanka !

Heading up into Stone Mountain Provincial Park, the road was so quiet, that I managed to take a photograph that every time I have tried for before, I’ve had to abandon the attempt before I got squished by a large 18 wheeler barreling down the hill.

Daunting scenery
Daunting scenery

Another couple of hours driving looking at similar backdrops, I decided it was time for a long break. What prettier place than the side of Muncho Lake. The dogs got fed, and enjoyed the breeze and sunshine and attracted the attention of some passing tourists, who pulled over to ask lots of questions.

14 muncho home
Pretty Muncho Lake, amazing mountains and relaxed dogs

After a few hours, it was time to load up and move on. One of things I have learnt to do is to load the dogs, put everything away and then drive forward 4 feet before jumping back out and double checking that I haven’t left anything behind that I shouldn’t have – like say, a pile of dogbowls and water container. Not that I’ve ever done that, I just know a guy who might have!

The view in the morning from the roadside.
The view in the morning from the roadside.
Quick rest stop at Teslin
Quick rest stop at Teslin

More by luck than judgement, I found myself making the approach to Whitehorse in the late afternoon, perfect timing to go visit Jacob and Gwen at Grizzly Valley Kennel. Jacob also has Seppala Siberian Sleddogs, including the brother to Nik, who is on my truck. It was great to spend time with them, to get to meet his dogs, to swap stories and drink a couple of beers. Happily, Sedna felt relaxed enough to sleep quietly in the truck for our stay. The next morning, I was back on the road, and heading for Alaska. A smooth run, an easy border crossing and dinner at Fast Eddy’s in Tok.

On the road home, what a vista
On the road home, what a vista

One more night on the road, somewhere between Glenallan and Sheep Mountain, and it was one last run for home. It always seems to come quickly, after the days of driving and being outside, Wasilla seems like a bustling metropolis and then I am home. The truck performed perfectly, the dogs all did remarkably well – and considering that for most of them, this was their first time travelling any distance, they did it without real trouble, complaint or fuss. They ate and drank well, and aside from Sedna’s first night of noise, they took it all in their stride.
They were given a quick walk and then taken over to their new pen, where they’ll be segregated for a while, before being integrated into their new places.

A warm welcome to Gealach Mor Seppala Siberian Sleddogs for Nikola of Seppala, Inchounski of Seppala, Yekaterina of Seppala, Zuryanka of Seppala and Sedna of Seppala.

Heading South, Heading North

5 July 2014      4.30 PM      83 F    Sunny

Day 3 of the dash to Manitoba had a bit of a slow start, as there is a 2 hour time difference between Alaska and some place east of Fort St John, and I needed to speak to my bank to finally get the situation resolved. Eventually, I managed to convince them that I was indeed in Canada on holiday and that I had a need to have access to my money and that I was still planning on buying frivolous things such as fuel and food. So, it seems American banks regard Canada as a hot bed of fraud and deception.

Happy that I now could pay for things, I set off from Grande Prairie, which seems to grow in size at an amazing rate between each visit, and headed east towards Edmonton and greater traffic. The next 2 days are just a blur of vehicles and towns, gas stations and food stops. It was a relief to pull into Rossburn, Manitoba and find my B&B and have a very relaxing evening, followed by an early night.  The next morning I headed over to meet up with Jeff & Susan at Seppala Kennels and to meet my new dogs as well as revisit all my favourites from previous trips. Time there always seems to fly by, throw in a vet trip for the dogs making the return journey to Alaska, a feeding, and hours of chat, suddenly it was late evening and the day was over. One of things that I am incredibly happy we don’t have to deal with in Alaska are ticks. On my return to the B&B, whilst prepping for my shower, I had to pull a couple of ticks off the back of my neck and another couple off my shin. As well as making me shudder, it also made me slightly paranoid. The slightest itch had me frantically searching for an offending creepy-crawly.  Ugh…………….

Returning to Seppala Kennels the next morning, it was time to load the new dogs, and say farewell once again to Jeff & Susan. It is hard to watch as they also say goodbye to the dogs that they have raised and cared for, the only consolation I can offer, is the reassurance that the dogs will be loved and cherished by us.

JJB gets one final farewell kiss from Nikola of Seppala
JJB gets one final farewell kiss from Nikola of Seppala

Jeff & Susan and the incomparable Sedna
Jeff & Susan and the incomparable Sedna

With the goodbyes said, it was time once again to head north, and deal with thousands of miles of road that lay ahead. As I have said before, travelling with dogs is always interesting, with new dogs it is also slightly concerning. There is always the worry that equipment malfunction could lead to disaster, and it makes me very cautious at each and every stop. I got into a nice routine, and we all very quickly got into the swing of things. Except Katya, who like her brother Yuri on his trip north, decided that she preferred to stay in her box rather than come out for a rest break. With pleasant early summer weather, it was still cool enough that I wasn’t concerned about the dogs getting hot, but I still enjoyed the warmth when we stopped and had some time to get to know each other and bask in the gentle sun.
Finding a shady spot for the dogs
Finding a shady spot for the dogs

Katya decides she would rather stay in her box.
Katya decides she would rather stay in her box.

I have always been amazed at how quickly the dogs adapt to their new routines and circumstances. Aside for Katya’s reluctance to emerge fro the safety of her cocoon, the only one who had anything to say about her new surroundings was Sedna. She decided that everything was good and all was well with the world, if she was out of the truck and on the picket line, or was in the truck and we were driving. However, if the truck was stopped and she was left in her box, then the complaints were loud and vociferous. Not a good combination if the driver is trying to get some sleep – and I can’t imagine that anyone parked within earshot would have been too impressed either. This protesting meant I actually contrived to get much further north than I was planning, before becoming so tired that I managed to get some sleep despite the digging and screaming. The upside to the long drive meant I was that much closer to home, and to quieter roads with better scenery.
Heading north.
Heading north.

Big Blue Does It Again

12 June 2012      4.00PM      62 F     Overcast

We tend to try and live our lives quietly and without drawing too much attention to our plans and our hopes (this blog not withstanding).  Sadly, it seems I have become rather too easy to predict. Two or three of our friends phoned to speak to me a couple of weeks ago. As I wasn’t around, my wife tried to cover my tracks and baffle them with convoluted stories as to my whereabouts. It seems that my friends have sussed that if I’m not in Willow, then as unlikely as it may seem,  it would appear incredibly likely that I am indeed somewhere on the road to or from Manitoba.

And so it was the case. Once again, myself and Big Blue have travelled 5, 307 miles in another quick dash to collect yet more of our beloved Seppala Siberian Sleddogs from Seppala Kennels. And I’m very happy to report that it was a trip without drama or undue excitement. Big Blue behaved itself impeccably – apart from its seemingly insatiable thirst. After 5 years in the US, it still amazes me that they still build vehicles that can only get 9 miles to the gallon ! For a few weeks prior to the the trip, I started coming over all sensible.  I actually joined AAA for the first time and made plans to carry my spare wheel with me on this trip. Apparently, not having a spare on the other trips caused quite a bit of consternation amongst my friends. For all of the issues I have had with the truck, tyres have never been a problem – but there is always a first time. Although, I do subscribe to the Mike Ellis school of thought – I’m running a dually, I already have 2 spares, they just happen to already be on the axles.

Finally, and only one day behind schedule, I set off, truck packed with the essentials for an cross-country drive. Water, soda, trail mix, chewing gum, chocolate and bagels. I had spare clothes, spare boots, a sleeping bag, rain gear, MP3 player, camera, GPS and even an old fashioned map. The spare wheel was strapped down on top of the dog box and I very much hoped that it wouldn’t be required – as there were 4 different sets of rachet straps in use, tying it down. That didn’t stop me pulling over 4 times in the first couple of hours to retighten them or just check they were still taut – for most of the first day I had traumatic visions of the spare hurtling off the roof and embedding itself in the windscreen of some passing vehicle. That fear did lessen the further I travelled, but there were a couple of huge frost heaves on the road to Destruction Bay that I was sure had to have launched it deep into the undergrowth.

The weather was great for driving, and terrible for taking photographs of the wonderful scenery. The marvellous mountain views were obscured by a kind of heat haze and whilst still giving you some idea of the scale of the countryside, it lacked the detail that draw the eye. Equally, the wildlife was proving elusive. One moose decided to test my brakes, which worked fine, fortunately. Other than that, the run to Tok was easy and spurred me on to the border without my traditional late lunch at Fast Eddy’s.  Crossing into Canada was painless but the same could not be said of the next 100 miles of road. The highway is a mess, holes here, there and everywhere, several sections of rollercoaster style dips and swoops and some kind of emergency patching which seems to involve dumping a truck load of gravel into a hole and getting the passing traffic to distribute it around.

Notice that they don't say "Welcome To"
Notice that they don’t say “Welcome To”

As well as the road surface, my next problem arose as I tried to buy fuel at Beaver Creek. For some reason, my card was declined. Cue much fuming from me and a distinct lack of care from the retailer. Apparently this is a normal occurrence as they are the first gas station over the Border and banks decline around 10 transactions for them ever day. Happily, they took cash, doubly happily, they took US $ cash, of which I had plenty as opposed to Canadian $ of which I had none.
Still, truck tank now full, it was time to get to Whitehorse, to survive more of the roughest road I’ve driven across and to enjoy some of the prettiest land around. I have said previously that I think the stretch of road around Kluane Lake to Haines Junction is my favourite of the whole trip and each time I see it, that feeling is reinforced. Also, getting sight of my first bears of the trip helped that feeling too – watching a very cute blonde walking along the side the truck always makes me smile. Although this is the first time I’ve seen a blonde bear.
blond bears 14
Having swooned over the blonde, I continued on my way in the gathering gloom and duly reached Whitehorse around midnight. Previous late night runs through the town mean I know where the 24 hour gas stations are, and I chose to frequent the friendliest one, (based on previous experiences) Goody’s lived up to their name, the guy on duty was great – now you may think that there’s not much involved in selling gas, but there is when the person buying the gas doesn’t have a bank card that works. He went above and beyond the call of duty, tried a couple of workarounds which didn’t work and then took my US cash. He also let me use the shop’s phone to try and clear the confusion up with my bank. It being midnight on a Sunday, of Memorial weeekend, I wasn’t too surprised that no-one answered the phones, despite trying the lost/stolen card phone number. Fortunately and somewhat strangely I felt, I was able to withdraw cash from the ATM so at least I had local currency as opposed to just the mighty greenback.
I adhered to my usual practice of driving for another hour or so before pulling over and taking a break in Hotel Ford.

Day 1 Miles driven 763 1 Moose avoided 3 Bears marvelled at.

Spirit Crushing

26 August 2013   6.00PM     68 F      Sunny

Arkady of Seppala   18 Dec 2003 ~ 23 August 2013
Arkady of Seppala 18 Dec 2003 ~ 23 August 2013

They say it’s the unseen blows that hurt the most. Those sneaky attacks when you have not prepared yourself are the ones that get past your defences. And so it is with our dogs and the loss of yet another of our boys, less than a month after losing Bethie.

With the onset of old age, one comes to expect (but not accept) the inevitable demise of our dear 4 legged friends. It doesn’t make the grief any less nor the parting any easier but there is some tiny measure of consolation in a full life, well lived.

Arkady’s passing, both unexpected and sudden, hurts doubly as he was one of “those” dogs.  All dogs are special, but there are some who are just that bit more special. Arky was one of those. There was nothing calculating about him, he didn’t try to ingratiate himself in any way, he just was……………….

Arkady with his daughter in the foreground
Arkady with his daughter in the foreground

My obsession with Arky began when I bought his son Kazek from Seppala Kennels in 2010. Kaz’s brother Kalekh followed him here in 2011 and their sister Kalinka arrived in 2012. During each of my trips to Manitoba to collect the dogs, I had always fawned over their father, Arkady and I had always been very aware of how much he was loved by Jeffrey and Susan. My emotions ran amok when they asked if I would like to offer Arky a home when I collected Kalinka. I know my joy was tempered by the obvious sadness they felt. I promised to love and care for Arky and always to cherish him.

Kalinka and Arkady, Nov 2012
Kalinka and Arkady, Nov 2012

I still can’t believe he is gone. Despite having so many other dogs here, his presence is greatly missed. Goodbye, my dear Arky-Barky, may my tears carry you safely to the Rainbow Bridge.