Some of you guys know that back in early 2014 my best friend Riley passed away. You even grouped together to write tributes to Riley, post your condolences, and share your stories of best friends lost; for that, I say a million thanks.
As always, I found comfort in the outdoors. But without Riley, those long trail miles seemed mighty lonely. A month before Riley died, my mother passed away. My mom was always the first person I'd call with a dog story or a dog thought or a dog remembrance. Loosing Riley made my mom's absence even more keenly felt. In early 2015, my dad passed away as well. It's been a long, cold, winter for the last two years: life was still happening within me and all around me, but in a subdued, quiet way, somewhat lonely even with my friends and other dogs around. I guess that’s grief. We all know it, or will at some point.
Then the ice began to melt: I started looking at adoptable dogs on Petfinder.com and visited a shelter or two in early 2015. But I guess I wasn’t quite ready yet. Then came Kasper.
Like Riley, he’s part Irish Wolfhound. Unlike Riley, he’s a total goofball who loves being the center of attention. If you go hiking with us, I’ll warn you that Kasper might grab a stick and, totally unaware of what he’s doing, run past and whack you in the back of the leg. If you’re hanging out at the house, you can expect that Kasper might flop himself on you -- his idea of cuddling -- with no regard for your comfort (or, judging by some of the lounging positions, his own.) His lack of a sense of personal space can be trying for some folks (and other dogs), but it can also be quite endearing. He seems to be saying “We’re all a family! And I'm King of this family!"
This winter, Kasper went cross-country skiing or fat biking with me everyday. This spring, he’s figured out how to ford streams, though if it's not a wide stream, he'll spring across, like a giant, blonde, lithe, grasshopper. As he’s still a pup of two-years-old, we’re working on leash training and other skills. Leash training for him, and other skills, like eternal patience, for me.
One of the reasons we created the Skookum Dog company was to celebrate the relationship between humans and canines; I promised myself someday I’d write an update for you guys about my dogs and my life, and, finally feeling ready, here it is. We’d like to hear your updates, stories, remembrances, good news, and sad news too: post it here, in the Forums, or if you don’t want it to be that public, email it to us.