Sunday, April 3, 2011

Gilligan and Memories of HIs Brother Skipper

Wheel Dog
Born 2008 to Control and Tab

Born- 2008 to Control and Tab
Died- 2009

It would be amiss of me to write about Gilligan without Skipper, they were the most attached siblings I have ever seen. I used to call them my little bookends. I have attached some photos of them as puppies.

Skipper and Gilligan were conceived by accident during a dog mushing trip at Cassiar Creek on our way to Dawson City, but it turned out to be serendipity.

Gilligan may not have the best work ethic but we love him like crazy, to quote Andy he is " Insanely loyal."

Gilligan is big and strong but when you come to a steep hill with the dog team all dogs put their backs into it heads down focused but Gilligan looks back at you from his wheel position closest to the sled, with wide eyes as to say," If you expect me to pull you better push harder."

I have been asked many times if Gilligan is the dog in movie in 8 Below, he is an actor all right but not in movies.

Skipper and Gilligan were an incorrigible pair, in constant motion how they loved to wrestle. The only time they would sit still was for their dog biscuit treat, I would say cookie, cookie and they sat so still I would tell them to wait for the tails and they understood the tails had to wag in sync and the did.Once Andy let them loose and said lets see how long they can wrestle, well 7 hours later still going strong. Andy put them back on their chains at their dog houses, that were of course next to each other and they immediately collapsed into a deep sleep.

Skipper was the fattest little puppy and that is how he got his name. We would take them to Dawson when Andy was Captain on the Yukon Queen and happened to be there for Canada Day 2008. I went to the festivities with my friends and the puppies. We hooked on their new red Canada leashes, Sarah lee took Gilligan and I took Skipper so they would not get tangled together. What a chore it was to keep them apart as we walked around the grounds of the museum, good thing they were only a few months old. When it was time for the official ceremonies I had become separated from the others, no matter I had a nice view of the podium right behind some RCMP officers.

Then the strangest and cutest thing happened, as soon as the Canadian anthem started Skipper took his place next to one of the Mounties, who were dressed in their red serge dress uniforms. Skipper sat right next this now at attention mountie leaning on his shinny brown leather riding boot and never moved a muscle just looked straight ahead. Cameras started clicking and flashing, all directed at the sight of this little husky puppy with a Northern RCMP officer.
My eyes welled up with tears at this postcard image, I didn't dare try to move him not wanting to make a fuss during the singing of the anthem. When it was over Skipper looked up at the face of the handsome officer as he looked down at this puppy sitting calmly by his side, smiling broadly he bent over and scooped him up into his arms and said, "Well I think you stole the show little man." I never got a photo of that day but the image will be with me forever.

Our time with Skipper ended far to soon durning the spring flood of 2009 that nearly killed us all. I often look into Gilligan's eyes when he is sitting alone waiting for his cookie/cookie and think, I am missing a bookend, how do I stop from falling.

This is a podcast of an interview with CBC radio about the night Skipper died.

1 comment:

Ben said...

That's such a sad yet beautiful story :) I guess we're lucky to keep memories of our friends no longer with us :)