Daphne, beloved canine companion and lover of life, died last night. She was only 3 or so years old but we believe that she was a pure blood husky, a breed which is known to have multiple physical problems due to inbreeding. We knew that she probably would not be with us nearly as long as Bones, a husky/wolf dog we moved up here with was with us - he passed on several years ago at the ripe old age of 18 - but it is an awful shock to have her gone from our lives this soon. We figure that she suffered a stroke or heart attack in her sleep as she was in fine form when we all went to bed. When something like this happens you'd like to believe that there was something you could have done to prevent it and it keeps going around and around in your head whether you missed something; nothing ever came up on her annual visits to the vet and she's been acting like her usual exuberant, pesky, loveable self.
I have a weak place in my heart for huskies and malamutes and with this being an area where there is winter 6 months of the year they are quite popular around here. When we saw Daphne at the local animal shelter last summer (was it only last summer?!) in an outside pen we fell in love with her and were dismayed to find that she wasn't in the book of available adoptees; we had to wait until we saw a volunteer bringing her back from a walk to get the staff to understand which dog it was we wanted to take home. Come to find out she had been rather badly injured when she was brought in as a stray and the staff didn't think that they would be able to adopt her out since she had bitten a couple of people during her rehabilitation. We had to swear up and down that we understood this and took full responsibility. Of course we understood, she had been in pain, scared, isolated and with all the other barking dogs hadn't been able to get any real sleep - for pete's sake, in tose conditions I probably would have bitten somebody too.
Over the year or so that she was with us we got her over her toothyness (although she did love her knotted ropes) and although she was still high strung (another result of the inbreeding) she was mellowing out quite nicely. It's such a loss to have her gone from us now - especially when winter was her favorite season and I was looking forward to taking up skijoring with her this winter. We were just starting clicker training too which she loved; almost as much as I mourn for the loss of her company and the joy she found in and brought to life I mourn for the lost potential. All I can hope is that maybe there was some little angel recently arrived in heaven that Hashem felt needed a puppy dog.