Sunday, July 23, 2006

A Tribute to Spica and Kemo Sabe

Therapy dog and best friend, enthusiastic traveller and eager
hostess, Spica bounded into our lives from the York County SPCA on
October 11, 1981. She was then about a year and a half old. Fifteen
years later, on December 31, 1996, at a venerable 16 1/2 years, she
walked slowly and painfully out of our lives again as we reluctantly
sent her on her way to the Rainbow Bridge. In those fifteen years,
she travelled all over the continent with us, charming everyone she
met. Her mellow brown eyes invited everyone to pet her glossy black
and white coat and her tail greeted all with friendly motions of joy
at making a new friend. She was the best kind of alpha bitch, the
sort that never needed to push her status because she simply exuded
authority that said "If you don't challenge me, we will be fine." She
was our first Siberian and will always remain the model for our love
of the breed. Her physical presence may no longer be with us, but her
spirit and love will always be in our hearts. I still carry the
feeling of her hard head pressing against my legs or chest and hope
to feel that again some day.

When we let Spica go, I told her "It's OK, Old Bear. Kemo Sabe will
take care of us." Kemo Sabe of Nittany Mt, CD, TDIA, my wolf-grey
Siberian Princess. She was the gentlest and sweetest Siberian girl we
have ever known. She was over-sized for a Siberian bitch, but all
that did was add to the regal air she carried. A hellion as a puppy,
she became in adulthood a therapy dog, approved by Therapy Dogs
International, who brought pleasure and light to the eyes of many
nursing home residents with her quiet, gentle friendliness. She put
up with my puppies and foster dogs with a soft graciousness that
reassured many a scared and frightened refugee from the shelters. She
never met a dog she didn't wag her tail at, even dogs that were
clearly threatening her.

She deigned to work with me long enough to earn a Companion Dog title
from the AKC, but by the time she completed that, she was showing
some arthritis and I elected not to pursue higher titles in the
interest of not exacerbating the arthritis, hoping to keep her with
me longer. She always did things her way, quietly, determinedly
without confrontation, but it was liver failure that eventually took
her from us. When she left for the Rainbow Bridge at a little over
age 14 years, it was on her own time and her own terms. Farewell, my
sweet and gentle Princess. May Siberian angels hover with you north
of the bridge until we meet again.

May both of them run in their silver harnesses the way they once did
here, with that easy grace that clearly told of stamina and strength
accompanied by their beauty and joy in life. We will always miss you,
my beauties.

- contributed by Cheryl Dawson, Harnessed to Hope volunteer

Cheryl, Kemo Sabe and Spica hiking.

Kemo Sabe in the snow

Spica in the snow

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