Saturday, December 31, 2016


It feels like yesterday…..
I held Your tiny little warm body in my hands. There was so much energy, life, every grasp for air You made, you were swallowing life, wanting to go and live it.

It feels like yesterday…
You ran full speed and played hide and seek with Your brothers and sister, learning to crawl on top of that wooden bench by the fire pit, as the weakening autumn sun blessed You with its golden rays.

When I close my eyes, I see that playful energy, I hear the swishing colorful fallen leaves, I see them fly in all directions as Your puppy feet stomp the ground at wild chase. I smell the autumn air, the smoke of birch wood burning in the stove, and I see the sparks in Your beautiful eyes, so full of hope and ready for life.

It feels like yesterday…
When we put the harness on You for the first time and You got out of it the same way you got in. I remember that first run we had. It was sacred to me as all our puppy harness breaking runs are. The spring was at its best, the sun was warm and the snow was melting. We hooked You and Your siblings to the sled and took You for Your first run and all of you youngsters had such a blast. 

On that run, at the turning point, we came across fresh bear tracks, as they just woke up from their winter sleep. Boy, did we run back home fast! J
After Your first run You were smiling from ear to ear, rolling in the snow, getting out of Your harness yet again, and so super proud when I hugged You and whispered in Your ear “Rizey, you are a sled dog now”.

It feels like yesterday…..
You were always the slim fast shrimp, always getting out of Your harness, or at least tangled in it, as you merrily rolled in the snow, no matter what size or model we would choose for you. It drove us crazy and it made me laugh every time. 
You were a fast dog, it was so much heartwarming to watch You run or play to the fullest in the yard or in the team or in the play yard.

It feels like yesterday…..
You were expecting Your puppies and we took turns sleeping on the floor with You. You would crawl into our sleeping bag and did not want us to leave. 

You were the funniest of moms, every morning brought us surprise when we went to say hallo to You and Your four little ones. You were more of an accomplice to them than an authority. A Mom everyone would love to have! J You´d bring toys and things that were not necessarily toys into the whelping box to play with. 

Your “whelping box party” has become legendary over here and far, as the pictures of You and Your puppies, surrounded by a ripped up red wine box made it to social media.

It feels like yesterday…..
It was a long, hard training run, it was cold and dark and we were preparing for the biggest race of the season. At the 90km mark You just told me “and that´s it for me Mom” and You took a ride in the sled all the way back home J
You made it clear that day that hard, long distance runs were not Your thing and I fully respected that ever since.

It feels like yesterday….

The many runs we had together, on the sled or with the four wheeler, or harness breaking the puppies with the cart, giving rides to some happy and fortunate guests, hiking in the woods, clicker training, playing and cuddling in the play yard. Those days, hours, minutes, seconds, were and are forever precious for me. They always will be.

It feels like yesterday…..
We were working hard in the mountains, far away from home, and we got news from the kennel help that you stopped eating. You sent me a message that something is seriously wrong.
I remember we packed up and drove 6 hours through bad weather to pick You up and drove back the next day, taking You to the vet. 
The vets could not find anything wrong besides a light fever so they gave You painkillers and sent us home.
I did not feel good about that diagnose, and You were in pain and got worse overnight so I rushed You to the vet the first thing in the morning.

You were always the brave one. You never complained, and You never made a big fuss although, as we later understood, You must have suffered terribly.

You were always the humble one. Never asking for much extra attention, You were just acting like a cute little dog who doesn´t want to bother anyone.

You were always the shy one. Always suspicious of strangers, never a fan of new situations and unknown places, and most definitely You did not trust men.
That morning I took You to the vet, You slipped out of Your collar right at the clinic door, no matter how tight I´ve made it, just in case..
You gave me such a scare, as You ran into the streets of a strange town neither of us both new, and disappeared as a group of kids tried to call you.

It was then, when you gave me one of the greatest lessons about soul connection.
As I ran alongside the river, desperately calling your name, as you disappeared out of my sight, tears clouding my vision, I feared You´d get hurt by cars if You get onto the busy road. Once I ran out of breath, I remembered there was only one true resort to turn to – connect with You in my mind, so I stopped running and I asked You to not be afraid, to trust me, that I am really near and that I won´t let anything bad happen to You, just come out from wherever You are and I will come get You.
Within minutes, You showed up on the bank of the river, Your typical shy wolf silhouette, You sniffed the air as You looked towards me and hesitantly made few steps forward. 
I called Your name and asked You to conquer your fear as I am here with You. And then you ran full speed towards me, and fell right in front of my feet on your back, asking me to scratch Your belly!

Ï carried You all the way through town to the clinic. 
I did not believe the vet when she said You had cancer in Your bladder, and I refused to have You put to sleep.
I asked the vets to make a surgery to see if whatever it was could be removed, for You were a fighter and I would not give up on You.

Couple hours later vet brought me a plastic piece of collar clip You must have eaten some time ago, which was stuck in Your intestine. 
They said You were certainly not out of the woods Yet and the chances of complications were great.

It was like yesterday….
I took you home that night after surgery, with IVs running to Your veins, and I slept on the floor with You. When You woke up from Your deep sedation sleep, You acted like nothing ever happened. That they removed piece of Your intestine, that You had infection removed from Your abdomen and that You just nearly died, all that did not matter to You. You were ever so humbly happy to be with us, near us, You wagged Your tiny tail and demanded to go for a walk.

It was a tough time for us to keep You off jumping on the sofa, or moving too fast, as You just wanted to run, and jump and play, like a puppy. With that beautiful spark in you one blue and one brown eye.
You made it clear then, what a toughness and zest for life, yet in all Your sweet and loveable humbleness, can do.

Yes, it feels like yesterday, when this tough little super sweet girl named Rizey was born to this world. Born to my home, my family and my life.

I gave You the name Horizon Hunter for I had a vision of You being fast and courageous and loving life, loving to run, wanting to know what´s behind that horizon, like every good sled dog does, and that vision fulfilled every time I looked at You - always passing by Your siblings on those puppy walks, demanding to be the first, the one who´ll first see what´s behind that horizon.

I imagine You were hunting after yet another horizon, when Your heart stopped beating while You slept last night, and I believe Your spirit just slipped out of that resting body before sunrise, free to hunt more beautiful horizons.

As I stood quietly in the snow today, still numbed by the morning discovery of Your as unexpected as can be passing, surrounded by Your teammates and Your family, I looked towards the south-west horizon, perhaps in habit, perhaps in intuition, and I witnessed a display of Mother of Pearl Clouds so beautiful, so full of peace and comfort, that my heart knew instantly it was You giving us Your farewell.

So I wiped my tears and said a prayer and my farewell to You, into the wind, while watching that horizon, feeling your spirit right there somewhere. And the wind carried the prayer together with Your spirit and I felt love.

My sweet Rizey, please forgive me for all my human imperfections, as I am letting You go wherever you desire. I wish You a safe and well protected journey and a good acceptance at the places to which You travel, for You have nothing to fear, Your beautiful spirit is protected.
And if You choose to return, I wish You a beautiful life, lived to the fullest. And shell You return to us someday, You will be recognized and our hearts and souls with dance together.
I am letting You be free, for I will not let my sorrow hold You down. But I am not letting go of my love for You, and of Your love. 
For we are all love.

I may never know of which exact cause You left. But I sure will always know how You lived. 

I will always remember You, just like it was yesterday. Every time I look at Your beautiful son Joey, who carries Your gentle and shy kindness, every time I play with Your brothers and sisters of blood and of pack.

And each day, when I look at the horizon, I will smile, for I will know that somewhere, You are hunting another horizon, and in that moment our souls will be connecting again.

Until we meet again, Godspeed my sweet, sweet Rizey girl.

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