may 15, 2020, lion
Dandelion. Dandi. Lion.
As his name changed, so did he… until he passed away on Friday.
I met Lion as Dandelion in 2013 when I visited the kennels in Whistler. I remember hearing his name and it made me think of the cute yellow flower, that were taking over my yard.
And his ear... that partially floppy ear.
I saw Lion again in November of that year, and then on various walks. He got off-leash time, but it was always a bit of a guess how long it’d take for David to get him back on leash when it was time to go.
At one reunion, the group photos just show Lion walking back and forth in front of the group, in each photo.
His human, David, adopted he and Nordique (who passed away last week) from the shelter. He brought them home and then allowed them the space to be dogs. They lived close to ChiChi so they would go on weekly walks, the three sleddies leading the way around the neighbourhood.
Lion was diagnosed with bone cancer recently and then lost his brother, Nordique earlier this month, which left Lion very confused and sad.
My heart breaks for his family and friends, and the sleddie community.
Here are some photos of the time I got to spend with Lion…
Thank you David and Alina for loving this gentle soul.
#1-3: Whistler kennels, September 2013. He was kennelled with Kawasaki in the evenings.
#4-6: Sledder day out, November 2013
#7: Documentary day, pictured with his buddy ChiChi
#8-9: Mt Finlayson hike, August 2014
#10-14: Reunion #3, June 2014
#15-16: Francis King walk, December 2018
Nordique passed away.
I first met Nordique in Whistler in 2013 - he was more on the shy side, mostly sticking to his area in Sonny's Acre's at the kennels. We didn't have a lot of interactions and I got confused between he and his hockey team named litter mate, Jet (it came down to the chest markings). But like all the sleddies I've met, he's always in my mind.
Working on what's turned out to be a long-term project means I am constantly pouring over images of other people's dogs. And in doing so, I'm transported to all the times I've interacted with that dog and the feelings that come along with those events.
I'd heard Nordique wasn't well, and considering that most of the Whistler dogs who survived the 2010 cull are getting up there in age, it's not surprising.
But every one of their deaths, like their lives, is important to me.
Nordique was adopted into a home with his buddy Lion (formerly Dandelion) and the two became inseparable, each helping the other in their new lives.
Their adopter, David, gave them the space they needed to breathe, and as the intrepid duo dug up his back yard, he joked about them digging his grave.
They got to be dogs.
When David brought a new human into their lives, she fell under the sleddie spell and seemed to instantly understand, and love them.
They came out on group walks, reunions and had weekly walkies with their old mate, ChiChi, who lived nearby. At the reunions, the dogs got to be off leash and run around as much or as little as they wanted. Come group photo time, it was hard to coax some dogs to come back to their humans because they were having too much fun. I remember one reunion, in July 2015, where in the photo David can be seen heading away from the group... to gather his boys.
I will always remember how Nordique would put his paw on David's leg when he was unsure about something... it was so touching because even within his fear, he found a way to communicate. He seemed to like ear scratches and gentle loves from those he trusted.
Thank you to his family for the love and care they provided to him.
Rest in peace and love Nordique.
Here are a few photos from the times I got to hang with him... there are more in my archives.
#1+2: Whistler, September 2013, pre-adoption
#3-10: Fleming Beach, February 2014
#11+12: Scafe Hill walk, February 2014
#13-15: Mt Finlayson hike, August 2014
#16: Reunion #5, July 2015
#17: I Was A Sled Dog photo session, August, 2017
#18-20: Francis King Walk, December 2018
Nordique also participated in I Was A Sled Dog, part 1 - you can visit his profile HERE.
scafe hill group walk
Big dogs, medium dogs and one low-rider.
A walk to Scafe Hill with Chi Chi & Lola, Lion & Nordique, Grey Grey and Kola (Cola), Niv & Siku, Sigmond (the wee Eskimo dog), Saru the Shiba and the teeny Coco... and their people. Pit stops for treats, loves and chats and sniffs.
This is a re-edit from the original post, "a dog walk in selenium blue". It also includes the moment former kennel mates ChiChi and Cola really got to get a good sniff of each other because it's too cute.
[PART SIX of a series chronicling the re-homing of Whistler sled tour dogs.]
There is a documentary being made on the Whistler Sled Dog story - I'm not going to go into specifics because I'll want everyone to watch it. Suffice it to say, it's comprehensive.
Saturday I got to tag along with the filmmaker, Shelley Moore, and get some photos of interviews as well as some behind-the-scenes. Dandy (now Lion) and Nordique's dad, David came as well as Shannon and Chichi and a couple volunteers, Heather and Holly, who spent a lot of time walking Dandy and Nordique when they were at the Victoria SPCA... and sleddog buddy, Saru came to see/sniff the friends he let run in his backyard on a few occasions, Lion and Chichi.
The weather was perfect, albeit a bit chilly, but the dogs were troopers with all the cameras and equipment. And it turned into an afternoon of hugs, cuddles, camera time, quiet moments, adventures, chin rubs, camera time, interviews, snuggles, camera time, running, running, running, camera time, leash untangling, treats, dog watching, and camera time... and then Chichi found something in the grass and told us that camera time was over.