I hate death. It really sucks. Higgs‘ death is the first one for 2011. Higgs had a heart problem which was diagnosed two years ago. We think he had a heart attack today. Here’s the story. A couple of days ago I told Greg that Higgs looked depressed. I’m sure he was. He really wanted to run with the team but due to his heart problem his running career ended. This morning at 11am Greg and I were doing the usual routine. I take care of the insiders and Greg takes care of the outsiders. But for some reason when I came home from my morning walk with the insiders we decided to switch. Greg would finish up and feed the insiders and I would finish up the outsiders and scoop the poop. I scooped poop and when I was in Higgs’ pen I pet him and told him what a good dog he was. Rocket and Peetie share the same pen. Rocket gave me a hug. I left Higgs happy– I guess not healthy.
At around 1pm I started practicing for the snoozkon quest and was reading my book on the couch getting ready for a nap. Greg went for a run with Chester at 3pm. It was then that the outside dogs started barking. Eventually I got up and looked out side. Everything was fine. I figured they were barking at Greg and Chester. The barking started again and I looked out the window to see a couple of teams go by. I figured this is why they were barking. After non-stop barking, I got up and looked outside. I saw Luke running around the wheel. I must have watched him run around twenty times– it was very amusing. I didn’t see anyone out of their kennel.
At around 5pm I went out to soup the dogs before going for a mush. I got to Higgs’ pen and saw him laying there. I knew he was dead– Higgs wasn’t the type of dog to take a nap. He got very excited when we were in the yard. I ran inside to get Greg; Went back outside to let Peetie and Rocket out of the pen, and said my goodbyes to Higgs. Greg came out. It was a very sad moment. Eventually Greg checked to see if Higgs was frozen to the ground. His body wasn’t, but his tongue was. He got a shovel to loosen the snow around his tongue and picked Higgs up (around 65 lbs) and carried him to the truck. He’ll stay their tonight until we bring him to Dr. May’s to be cremated.
As a side note, we saw Susan Vega last night and she told the story of her parent’s sending her childhood cat down the east river in a viking funeral. I thought we could do this for Higgs– tie him to a sled, set it on fire, and send him down a hill. For some reason, Greg didn’t think he was viking enough.
Higgs was a goofy guy. He liked to try to escape from the dog yard, especially when his brother Asa was alive. He was a working dog until around 8 years old, and was a very strong part of the team. His last two years he didn’t run. We always new he’d have a heart attack, but I wasn’t really prepared for a sudden death. His brother Asa died last year, Feb. 17th– they are together now. Running and playing and being two pups in a pod.