DOG BLOG MUSHER, #4
THE WONDER OF IT ALL
Years ago, the first sled dog team I had comprised of a mixed breed of Siberian/Malamute. The first two leaders I had were a mother daughter combination; Snowy and Sheagra. Sheagra had a litter that made up my first team. Two of my favorite dogs from that litter were Diamond and her pure white sister Sheenje. We shared many years and miles of trail together. But this story isn’t about their golden years. No this story is about their latter years.
After months of Diamond loosing the battle against age, it became her time to move on to the next world of renewed youth, fast trails and cold days year round. After the morning ceremony, which I give for the passing of every good dog, I only allow myself to remember the good times. After Diamond’s passing, her sister Sheenje missed her dearly. They had worked and played side by side their whole lives.
We live along a river that flows quite fast during winter months. Sheenje liked to walk down the river bank for a drink of fresh snowmelt water. One day I come home from giving sled dog rides and I notice that Sheenje is no where to be seen. As the days passed, I came to the realization that she either headed to the woods to pass on, or she may have slipped into the river and drowned. After many walks along the river and into the woods looking for her, I decided to give her a passing on ceremony.
That spring I came home from a day at work, and low and behold, there is Sheenje in the yard! She is very thin but she can still walk. A couple of weeks of loving and three square meals a day, she once again, looked herself. I’m sure the story she could tell of the time while she was gone, would be one for the ages. With all the special attention she received, she was very content with life that summer.
That fall Lisa and I were walking around the property and as we approached the cabin, we met Sheenje, walking towards us on a dog path. I knelt on one knee and gave her some good loving. She gave me an open smile but her eyes looked sad. Lisa happened to have the camera and took a picture of her as she walked by. A couple of days had passed from that time and we hadn’t seen Sheenje. I had a feeling where I might be able to find her. I followed the trail that we had met her on two days before. You see it leads past the dog cemetery. There she was. She was curled up in the sleeping position against the side of the mound that her sister Diamond was buried. Sheenje had chosen the spot for her final resting place. I sat there for some time beside her, tears flowing. Next, I covered her in a mound of rocks and to this day there is only one mound that shares the remains of Diamond and the sister that loved her so, Sheenje (spirit dog).