GreatMountain Chinooks
"Loyal friends to the end of the trail"


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This is a page dedicated to the dogs who have shared their lives with us and who have come to the end of the trail.  We are grateful for the many things these dogs have taught us about genuine living and loving each moment. We miss them all.


U-CD WoodsRunner X Katahdin Wind CGC
July 20, 1995 - September 9, 2009

When we chose the name “Katahdin” for our dear little 8 week old puppy from Connie & Bob, we had no idea how she would come to embody the name.  The word Katahdin means “Great Mountain” or “Great Father.”  Katahdin Mountain is considered a place of great power and spirituality – a power that rises into the air and watches over the rest of the land. 


U-CD Bowerbank X Timba TT

Katahdin's sire was North Wind Kiska
Her dam was dam was Bowerbank X Timba
She was the cute one with the white stripe

North Wind Kiska
Our Katahdin was an old soul from the time she was a pup.  She was gentle and calm, quick to learn and unbelievably patient with us.  She was a fiercely loyal and constant friend.  She was so smart – she understood complete sentences and complex requests – not in a training way, but in everyday life.  You could talk her through a difficult interaction and she’d know what to do.  She was serious her whole life.  She was the alpha of our pack and held the responsibility like the weight of the world.  She didn’t always get the job right, but she tried awfully hard.  She indulged our requests, like pulling a sled and learning competition obedience, because we asked, not because she loved doing the work.  She would communicate clearly with us when she’d had enough.  She taught us so many life lessons along our journey with her.  This is why the latter meaning of the word Katahdin seems to fit her best – Great Father.  She was like a great father to us – patient, indulgent and protective, sharing her wisdom and guiding us along our new journey, and offering us the gift of unconditional love.

 

 

While serious, Katahdin certainly embraced the things that made her joyful.  She loved to run, swim and to play fetch.  These things combined made her so happy.  She loved long walks in the woods, a good game of tug, camping trips, traveling anywhere with us, picking berries – blue and black were her favorites, rolling in the cool grass, chasing chippies and squirrels and FOOD.  This last thing was her favorite – food.  She could never get enough food and but for a few sick days never ever missed a meal. 


Whoever said Chinooks don't swim or fetch never met Katahdin.

 


Katahdin LOVED rolling in the grass!

We’ve said many times that but for Katahdin, there would be no GreatMountain Chinooks.  Sharing our lives with her made us want to do our part to help the Chinook breed survive.  While she herself never reproduced, it is certain that but for her, there would be no Ande, Cooper, Kineo, Atticus, Cedar, Atlin, Bailey, Fiver, Rocky, and no GreatMountain X North Trav’ler, none of her children, grandchildren and now great grandchildren.  As one of Katahdin’s best friends was Northdown X Cheena, Trav’ler’s mom, it’s only fitting that Katahdin has this line as her legacy. 

 

Katahdin taught us so much in her later years – about compassion, trust and caring.  She struggled with arthritis from the time she was 10 years old.  She lost much of the strength in her hind quarters about a year ago.  We kept her going by daily walks, supplements, massage, stretching and pain meds; we helped her up many times each day.  Even in her last days, she was going up and down stairs, with lots of assistance of course, but she only needed to be carried up and down them a few times.  She put complete trust in us for her care and we didn’t let her down.  Katahdin loved the fall best.  She loved lying in the sun in the cool breeze.  This is how she spent her days over her last few weeks, enjoying the fine fall weather in Maine in the cool grass and the sun. 

 
Taken this May - when she was nearly 14!

When the time came to let our girl go, our wonderful vet answered our call and came to the farm to put Katahdin down here, outside in the grass where she loved to be.  Katahdin had a great last meal of chicken fingers and was surrounded by those she loved as she passed from this earth.  She’s buried next to her good friends Rangeley and Cheena, who certainly greeted her happily at the bridge.  We know she was happy to see her mom, Timba, all of her siblings who passed before her, especially Trailbreaker, and the many friends she had throughout her life.  Katahdin is survived by WoodsRunner X Baxter, her niece, who was very sad to see her go.  Words cannot adequately describe the deep sadness we feel and the huge hole left in our lives by the loss of such a powerful presence.  We celebrate all of the gifts that she gave to us. We will cherish our memories of her always.


Katahdin at 14+

The Dragonfly:  Just after she died, Jess asked her for a sign.  About an hour later, she was outside and had a very plain dragonfly land on her arm.  The dragonfly had two huge brown eyes.  Their eyes locked, with the dragonfly staring at Jess for at least a minute.  Was it Katahdin? Who knows, but we think it's a sign that she’s just fine and flying free. 


North Down X Cheena TT
January 14, 1993 - October 1, 2004

     


Glendon's Sweety

 

Cheena's sire was Timbermist's Yukon Jack. Jack, a purebred Chinook, is recognized by the C.O.A. as part of the Chinook breed foundation stock.


Her dam, Glendon's Sweety, was a Chinook-a-like dog who is a cross between a German Shepard, Husky, and Labrador. Sweety is an exceptionally smart sled dog who was bred to several purebred Chinooks in the early 90's because of her outstanding sledding abilities, her gentle temperament and her remarkable Chinook-like appearance.

 


Timbermist's Yukon Jack


 

 

Cheena came to live with us in November of 1997 at the age of four. She made a graceful transition and blended easily with our five other dogs. Cheena had a sweet temperament and was a caretaker to most of our dogs, washing their ears and faces and keeping them safe. Although Cheena had never pulled a sled before, we took her in the hope that she would someday make a solid fourth dog on our sledding team. It worked! After only a few short weeks of light training, she was running in wheel position of our team and loving it. She added the speed and brawn our team was missing. Cheena, with her strength and motivation, embodied Arthur Walden's desired working dog.


Cheena loved Katahdin...


...only slightly less than she loved Jess.
 

Cheena produced our first litter! She was a great mom and was happy to have one of her pups with her (GreatMountain X Trav'ler). She produced two beautiful puppies.

Cheena passed away on October 1, 2004, just a few months shy of her 12th birthday.  For a couple of months, she struggled with symptoms that seemed like a bladder infection - blood in her urine and weight loss were the only symptoms. After antibiotics offered no cure, we did more extensive blood testing. She was diagnosed with Hemolytic Anemia, a disease that causes the body to attack and kill healthy red blood cells. There is no known definitive cause of this type of anemia, although there are lots of guesses. Prednisone is the treatment, and she really improved once she was on the drug. Her blood counts came almost back to normal, but she wasn't able to put on weight (despite eating every meal which she had never done before) and her energy level was low.

The only change in her over the past few weeks came the day of her death, when she didn't want to eat breakfast and she didn't want her biscuit in the kennel. This didn't alert us - in the past, Cheena missed about every fourth meal her whole life. However, this simple act clearly signaled her end. When Jess returned home from work, she found that Cheena had died sometime during the day. She was under one of the dog decks, laying where her best friend Katahdin spends all of her time. We know Katahdin gave her comfort in her last hours on earth. Katahdin loved Cheena as much as Cheena loved her.

We know she was greeted by a sea of tawny tails wagging - Rangeley and Allagash would have been especially glad to see her, as their ears are really dirty by now! Gubby and Tangles were there too, as were Sweetie, Jack, Bear, Cooper, Muscat, the three puppies she lost at birth, and so many other wonderful dogs who have departed this earth.

Cheena was a pure soul and we know that she had a happy life here with our pack. She taught us a lot and learned a lot from us at the same time. We are grateful that she had a chance to regain trust in humans. She adored Jess from the first day and used Penthea to explore learning to trust. She was loyal and faithful to Katahdin, loved having her daughter around and doted on all of the other dogs. She will be greatly missed by the GreatMountain pack, her human moms, and a number of admirers.

She was laid to rest between Rangeley and Allagash at a spot we call, "End of the Trail" - our pack passes this by on every walk and sled run. Join us in wishing her well on her journey.


UKC GR CH, ARBA CH 'PR' Rain Mountain Rangeley Runner U-CD CGC TT
Two-time Best in Multi-Breed Show Winner (1998/1999)
Second Chinook Dog to become a U.K.C. Total Dog (1999)
International Federation of Chinook Breeders & Exhibitor Specialty Winner 2000

December 26, 1996 to June 26, 2003


Rangeley on her last Sunday on earth - 
just after a run with the pack

 

Rangeley was independent from the moment she was born.  Her natural confidence and drive, took us down many trails, literally and figuratively.  She had much to teach us, and we were willing students.  Showing natural drive and a desire to lead, Rangeley started her sledding career long before she saw the inside of a show ring.  By the age of nine months, Rangeley had proved herself a solid sled dog and ran in lead on the GreatMountain recreational team for her entire life.  As a lead dog, she took trail commands, trained other dogs to run in lead and showed a solid temperament when sharing the trail.  She raced in several races, even winning a bikejor race in 1999.  While she was not tall enough to run fast, she never let us down on the trail.


With Baxter winning the bikejor race.

     Rangeley entered the UKC show ring for the first time at a year and a half old.  In 1998, in her first show, she swept the classes, and beat several champions and grand champions to win Best of Breed.  She went on to win Best in Multi-breed Show in her very first show.  She continued to win all weekend and came home with her Championship title after only three shows.  This showing earned her the Top Ten ranking of #3 in 1998.  When she resumed showing in 1999, Rangeley earned her Grand Champion title in just one month of showing.  She also won a second Best in Multi-breed Show in 1999.  Rangeley earned her ARBA Champion in 2000, earning an ARBA ranking of #3 in that year.  Also in 2000, she won a Specialty hosted by the International Federation of Chinook Breeders and Exhibitors.  Rangeley ranked in the UKC’s Top Ten in every year she showed until she retired from showing in 2002.  In her last show, the 2001 Top Ten Competition, she won an Award of Excellence, a fitting way to end a showing career.

 



1999 U.K.C. Top Ten Competition

Rangeley was not just a pretty face.  She was an easy-going, “reserved one-minute, funny and manic-the-next” kind of dog with a quick intellect.  No matter what she was doing, she was absolutely intense about it.  In 1999, Rangeley and Jessica spent endless hours at obedience trials, where Rangeley knew what to do, but showed independent judgment in refusing to do so.  Finally, Jessica got the motivation right and Rangeley earned a U-CD obedience title.  This accomplishment made Rangeley only the second Chinook to become a UKC Total Dog. 

While she was a cherished lead dog and fun in the ring, she most enjoyed long walks in the woods with her pack and even longer naps on the couch.  While all of her accomplishments are great, they do not compare to the joy she brought into our lives.  

 


At home in her favorite chair
 

Rangeley was loved by all who met her.  She was endlessly entertaining and was a tremendous friend to every member of our pack.  Upon learning of her death, one of her friends wrote, "I am so sorry to hear that you had to say goodbye to dear Rangeley- what a wonderful girl and what an impact she had on so many people- the Chinook Ambassador- who turned heads, and had an uncanny ability to know when a sister could do with an affectionate tackle."

Our sweet Rangeley left this earthly world on June 26, 2003, exactly six years and six months from the day of her birth. She was diagnosed with cancer nine days before her death. Just hours before we put her down, we confirmed that the cancer was multi-centric lymphoma. While there is a high remission rate with this type of cancer, her cancer was in her throat, middle ear and near her brain stem by the time it was discovered. Her prognosis was terrible and the folks at Tufts encouraged us not to try. Our vet concurred. Her neurological stability had crashed and she began to exhibit signs of pain. Her condition made the decision for us.

We have the most miraculous vet, who came to our house late last night and even waited for our son to make it home from work. Linda (the vet) was very helpful to Katahdin, who felt the need to protect Rangeley from Linda, positioning herself between Linda and Rangeley at least three times when Linda first arrived. Linda showed Katahdin each of the instruments and let Katahdin get completely comfortable with what was going to happen. Rangeley went very peacefully, with Pen and I by her side, and Katahdin and Baxter nearby. She wore her harness and died with her ears straight up, as if she were running in the wind. The dogs all got a chance to say goodbye in their own way; they all understand that she's gone. We are grateful for such a good process for the pack and for her relief from suffering.

We built a very nice box for her and committed her to a cool patch of earth in the final resting place we've chosen for our dogs. She's near her buddy Allagash, with a statue of St. Francis just above her head, and a river rock and two violet plants marking her grave. While she's in the shade, she'll have lovely patches of sun to warm her face. From her vantage, she'll be able to see the team go out and come back in...maybe she'll even join us for a run.

GR CH WoodsRunner Allagash Springs TT
March 16, 1999 to January 29, 2002

Allagash shared our lives for just under three years. During that time, we loved her with all of our hearts and she loved us just as well. She was a pure and sweet dog, free with her affection and love. She hugged us daily and liked to cuddle on the bed like she was a cat. Allagash was an ambassador for the Chinook breed - her photo is on a few popular breed search engines and she was always getting fan mail - "I want a puppy that looks just like Allagash". She taught our pack how to sing and was the happiest dog we had. When she wagged, her tail went around in circles like a helicopter, not back and forth, giving her a very comical look - you couldn't help but smile at her. She was always smiling back.

Allagash became ill in late December 2001, misdiagnosed with kennel cough that had gone into her lungs. She was put on antibiotics and rebounded very well. She went on an eating spree that was very unusual for her. However, three weeks later, she started developing a thick mid-section, looking quite pregnant. We briefly even thought she was pregnant, but then she stopped eating. After three days of vet appointments, numerous x-rays, blood tests, theories and ultrasounds, the only answer was surgery. Exploratory surgery showed that she had had an abscess on her pancreas that had disintegrated in her abdomen. There was no indication of what caused the abscess. Her pancreas and other internal organs were badly damaged. This shocked the vets, who said it was a miracle she was standing much less walking, wagging her tail and drinking water. She should have been very ill. During three days of examinations and palpation, she never once made a sound. After taking a look ourselves and hearing that she had no real chance of ever recovering, we made the decision to put her to sleep. She died peacefully around 7:30 p.m., January 29, 2002. Thankfully, just before the surgery, she got to come out and see us. We got to tell her how much we loved her. Of course, she already knew.

 


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