Thursday, February 14, 2013


Lillen, age 16, could still command respect from every dog in the kennel.   A few months ago she slipped her leash and took off down the road as if she were racing and winning.   I chased her
and couldn't catch her so I shouted for Copper.  He barreled down the road and headed her off and turned her around.  She came running back , happily, as if she had won that race that she had led.

We thought Lillen might make it to 17 .  She stayed in the house at night in her own apartment, designed just the way she liked it.   Walls around her, no one (dogs) able to approach her, giving her full command of her world. Her water dish was within reach and comfy beds and a crate for safety, if she chose to hide.  In the day, her pen was protected from wind and snow with tarps, a den of sorts.  

Yesterday morning she leaped about as I walked her to her pen.   She met me at the fence many times yesterday, looking for a biscuit.   Every day I marveled at her tough spirit and drive and amazing strong body.  Each dog who met her deferred to her spirit, even as her body weakened.

But, late yesterday, after a normal day, something happened... a seizure or a stroke, we don't know.
She couldn't respond normally.  I walked her inside and she did give it the effort to get inside, but something was seriously wrong.  I called Dr. Pauline and I decided to take her in.   As we drove in the dark, I was able to pet her behind me, console her.  We knew this day would come for her but it seemed like she could still enjoy every day, when we followed her rules.  

She left us in peace and we've been left with memories of the toughest dog I've ever met.  As tough as she was, each morning she'd brush my face with a gentle kiss, always seeming like a thank you or  a hug.  She was safe in her world here and that was our job.  

We thank Susan Butcher for the gift of this wonderful dog and all she taught us.   Bred at Susan's kennel, her litter brother was Yuksi, Jeff King's superstar and stud.  Susan had told me, "Follow her rules and she'll be happy."  We did our best to follow her rules as she was clear about what her boundaries were.  The kennel days were structured for her .  She was walked first, fed first, always checked on . We will always be so appreciative to Susan for entrusting her to our care, allowing us to learn the ways of the toughest , yet sweetest, Alaskan husky sled dog.  Her fur, her feet, her temperament and speed/skill... all the very best Alaska could breed in a racing dog.  She was a mighty and beloved companion as well.

Lillen, in lead, left in the top photo.  Mighty dog. In second photo, an easy run with Eos as her partner.  Bottom photo, Lillen smiling in swing  (right in photo) in a ten dog team to Florence.
Godspeed, dear Lillen.

No comments:

Post a Comment