We let Martin go this afternoon after a long struggle with an inflammatory bowel disease. He came to us with his sister Piper nine years ago and was a strong and fast sprint dog known as one of the louder dogs at the track. He retired from racing in 2019 and enjoyed his remaining days sleeping on the futon and couch, often with a cat or his sister.
Martin was born in Salcha, Alaska on May 10, 2009 and won several races with Piper. He was known as the "ten thousand dollar dog" because he got torsion when he was young and the surgery to save his life was very expensive (along with later surgery and vet appointments investigating his digestive issues). He had the most beautiful, fluid trot running up and down the dog yard, but when he'd get into a race he was obsessive about being as far to the left as he possibly could, sometimes running halfway off the trail.
He liked beer, digging large holes in the dog yard so he could eat dirt, and would make playful growling noises when you scratched just the right spots on his hips. He got along with the cats, snuggling with them on the couch, and despite being fairly high on the hierarchy of our dogs, he was never aggressive about food or toys. He was the sweetest, softest dog we've had and was not only my favorite, but was the favorite of our UPS driver who pointed him out to Andrea one day and said, "That one is my favorite!"
Rest in peace buddy.
Caslon died today after a long fight with multiple myeloma. We got him as part of a foster litter with his brothers Jenson and Tallys. We’d chosen his brothers from the litter as kittens, but when we saw Caslon alone in his crate at the shelter after the rest of his brothers and sisters had been adopted, we couldn’t leave him there by himself. He was never quite as snuggly as his brother Tallys, who died in 2019, but he was the biggest and most playful of our cats. He always ate his food up on the cat tree and would jump up there with such force that he’d almost tip over the whole thing.
Once Tallys was gone he took over Tallys’s spot in front of the wood stove, and would request to be picked up every morning while I made coffee. He loved being under the covers on the guest bed, on the couch with Andrea, and sometimes in the middle of the night purring and kneading under the covers with Andrea. And while the dogs ate their dinner, he’d bolt over to one of the dog beds, flop and wriggle, and I’d give him super rubdowns. He was also the cat who always tested the limits of any new box we put down to see if he would fit.
Caslon was a loving, patient, snuggly cat, and we will miss him.
Tallys died today after a short fight with an unknown disease. We got him and his two brothers from a shelter foster litter and as soon as we met him as a tiny kitten, we knew he was one of the kittens we wanted to adopt. He was the smallest kitten in the litter, was extremely friendly and very snuggly, and he remained that way for his short life. He would spend all night curled up at my feet, or under the covers with Andrea, and in the morning he’d come downstairs and ask to be picked up while I made breakfast. He loved to be up on my shoulders, purring and kneading, and occasionally scolding me if I wasn’t petting him enough. He played with my feet under the covers, and would bring cat toys downstairs during the day while we were at work and the dogs were outside. He also made friends with all the dogs, and especially Monte, who would come in the house and bark until his friend Tallys came down to nuzzle him and play.
He also loved heat, so he was always the cat baking himself in the direct sun in the window, and especially liked winter because of the heat the wood stove put out. He’d lay in front of it (or sometimes directly under it) and his fur would get hot enough it seemed like he should be melting. And when the wood stove wasn’t cranking he’d flop down in front of our Toyo and soak up as much heat as he could.
He is survived by his brothers, Jenson and Caslon, and his two sisters living in another home in Fairbanks. Tallys, Jenson, and Caslon all got along at our house, sleeping in a ball on the bed, or chasing each other around. Tallys and Caslon would often sit opposite each other and lazily swat at each other until someone got in a good punch and they’d go bolting after each other.
He was a super sweet little cat, and our time with him was too short, but in those years he was a constant bright spot in our lives. We will miss him.
Yesterday we lost Koidern to complications from laryngeal paralysis. Koidern came to us in 2006 from Andrea’s mushing partner who thought she was too “ornery.” It is true that she wouldn’t hesitate to growl at a dog or cat who got too close to her food bowl, and she was protective of her favorite bed, but in every other way she was a very sweet dog. When she was younger she loved to give hugs, jumping up on her hind legs and wrapping her front legs around your waist. She was part Saluki, which made her very distinctive in Andrea’s dog teams and she never lost her beautiful brown coat, perky ears, and curled tail. I will miss her continual energy in the dog yard racing around after the other dogs, how she’d pounce on dog bones and toss them around, “smash” the cats, and the way she’d bark right before coming into the house as if to announce her entrance.
This morning I came down the stairs to a house without Buddy. He liked sleeping on the rug in front of the heater at the bottom of the stairs and he was always the first dog I saw in the morning.
Buddy came to us in August 2003 as a two year old and became Andrea’s mighty lead dog. He had the confidence to lead her teams even in single lead by himself, listened to whomever was driving, and tolerated all manner of misbehavior from whatever dog was next to him. He retired from racing after eleven years, but was still enjoying himself and pulling hard up to his last race.
Our friend, musher, and writer Carol Kaynor wrote this about him in 2012:
But it will be Buddy who will move me nearly to tears. He will drive for 6 full miles. On the very far side of 10 years old, with his eleventh birthday coming up in a month, he will bring us home to fourth place for the day and a respectable time for the distance. I’ll step off that sled as happy as if I’d won.
It wasn’t me pushing. I don’t get any credit for a run like that. It was Buddy pushing himself, like the champion he is.
Read the whole post here: Tribute to a champion.
After he retired, he enjoyed walking on the trails around our house, running around in the dog yard with the younger dogs, but most of all, relaxing in the house on the dog beds. He was a big, sweet, patient dog that took everything in stride and who wanted all the love and attention we could give him. The spot at the bottom of the stairs is empty now, and we will miss him.