Monday, September 28, 2020



Okie, in her later years, made friends with Priscilla the barn cat.

May 16, 2005-September 28, 2020

Today we had to say goodbye to another great friend and amazing dog. The strength and grace this dog had could not be overstated. Her ability to make it to 15 years old, in as good of condition as she was, is a perfect example of that. She was a small dog (like her daughters Whip and Jig) but was packed with unbelievable strength and heart. She commanded large dog teams and taught young dogs patiently. She was shy but she was also bold. She was beautiful and graceful. Extremely quiet but loud in spirit.
Okie (far left) was part of our original team.
Only one of these fine dogs is with us still. Tensaw (behind Okie)

One winter, maybe 7 years back, she was leading my 8 dog team along with young (at the time) Tank. Along a particularly steep section that dropped precariously off the trail, Tank smelled something enticing over the edge and was leading the team directly toward it. Okie, who was half of Tank's size, took one look in that direction and dragged the entire team back to the other (safer) side of the trail and home to the truck.

She was incredibly shy toward people and an extreme pushover to the other dogs while in the yard, but when you put a harness on her, her demeanor changed. She knew she was the direct line from me to the team and she lead us where we needed to go.

We got Okanogan from Absaroka Dogsled Treks in Pray, MT when she was 5. We were just beginning on this mushing adventure and needed an experienced leader. Mark Nardin offered us Paluk and Okanogan. While he loved Okanogan's work ethic and skill, he ran a tour company and a shy dog did not do well with a constant stream of visitors wanting pictures with their pretty lead dogs. Paluk and Okanogan couldn't have been more opposite of each other. Paluk was loud, Okie was quiet. Paluk was brutish, Okie was lady-like. Paluk was gregarious, Okie was very shy. The two were great additions to team but Okie's presence will be forever seen and remembered through the litter she whelped and the dogs she trained.

Okie and Paluk, soon after we brought them to our home.
I had to do a double take of this photo tonight, because I thought Okie was Whip (her daughter).

Okie with the Saw Litter in 2013

In 2013, she and Tensaw had a litter that we now refer to as The Saw Litter or The Crazies. Many of Okie's traits were bestowed upon the four, including her brains, drive, and leadership tendencies. They are now the heart of this team.

I am forever grateful for her time with us and I am glad to have a little piece of Okie to continue to lead me down the trail.

The dream (first sled) team

Okie in one of her rare vocal moments

Okie and Paluk leading the team in at the Priest Lake Sled Dog race.

Okie LOVED Flier. Here she is leading the team, teaching Flier and taking her kids on a run (in the back of string)

Running lead with Flier, this time in the snow!

Here she is at 13.5 years old with her daugher, Whip

She was also known in her later years for her impressive doggie yoga routines