Posted by: arcticpackseppalas | August 13, 2019

Navajos Shishaldin of Arcticpack 13/03/04 – 17/06/19

“And I was told
That the streets were paved with gold
And there’d be no time for getting old when we were young”
The Dying of the light – Noel Gallagher


No talk of it. Not even a thought about it.  But a dog lifetime seems to pass so quickly, too quickly.  The excitement and anticipation of a lifetime of new adventures together seems like only yesterday, but suddenly, old age and all its frailties is upon our canine friends.  And then we have to say goodbye.

We said a sad goodbye to our wonderful old friend, Norris nearly two months ago now.  With the help of our vet, he slipped away peacefully in our arms,  the summer sun bathing him in light and warmth.  Norris lived a good, long life surrounded by many canine friends.  He enjoyed a lifetime doing what he loved, got to dig countless holes, spent many hours on the couch, went many different places and enjoyed a lot of off lead time in his elderly years.  He was a best friend to both of us and even though we know that he did indeed live a good and full life, it doesn’t make his passing any easier or any less painful.   I miss his gorgeous face so much.


Norris came to us at 8 weeks old, settled in quickly and grew rapidly.  It was apparent from a very young age he was going to be a big dog.   For a long time, it really did seem like he was all legs.  As he aged, he grew into his large frame and he matured into an incredibly, handsome, well-built dog.  He was a grafter in harness and loved his ‘job’ very much.  He would often run next to his best friend, Mohceh.  They were born about 3 months apart and grew up together.  They became very much like brothers.  All our other dogs loved Norris.  He was such a playful, easy going big lad.  He never started a fight in his life, nor did he look too get involved in any, but he had such a size and presence about him that everyone had a lot of respect for him.  The monkey puppies especially loved him and even as a 6 year old, Neeta would be all over him, ears back, respectful, licking his face and so excited she would be trying to jump all over him each and every time she saw him.   Many of the dogs continued to look in the van for him for days after he was gone.   Gracie was especially sad to watch, as each time she walked past the van, she would look in expectantly, then look at me with her wonderfully expressive face.  If she could talk, she would absolutely have said, ‘where is Norris?’.


baby Norris

Gracie giving some love to a not all that impressed old man, Norris

In harness he was hardworking, powerful and was excellent for teaching unruly youngsters some manners at hook up.  He did shout a lot about running, but when hooked in would stand and not leap about or bite lines or try and shove his running mate around.  We missed him a lot for training when he retired.  He was a good, honest dog.

leading with his best friend, Mo


Norris moved indoors to live permanently with Hexie and Betty when he was about 13.  Several others also slept in at night, but those three lived in.  They became very good friends and Betty took to looking after him whenever he wasn’t feeling so good.  The three of them spent many afternoons in the fields together, just free running around.  Always coming back for those all-important biscuits.  Norris loved his food.  He never missed a meal, not even when girls were in season.  He was also a menace for eating non-food items though and although it wasn’t the reason for his passing, he still had a cycling glove he had eaten in there when he did.   When he was relatively young, we also discovered he had a totally irrational fear about paintbrushes.   Like, absolutely, run out the room terrified of them.  No idea why.  This was clean, new, dry paintbrushes.  For whatever reason, he seemed to think they were the work of the devil.  I was painting some wood yesterday and it made me smile thinking about Norris and his distrust of all things paintbrush.

he three amigos. blind dog, shouty dog and geriatric dog. 🙂




As he entered his elderly years, he was able to be off lead in certain places.  The fields at home as I mentioned above, but also on the beach if it was reasonably quiet.  He loved the beach and quite liked to swim as a younger dog.  Paddling in the waves was just fine for him as an old person though.   He had one of his last walks on the beach and even though his mobility was very poor and his heart was having a hard time with the exertion, his face was so, so happy.   It is incredibly hard to watch their old bodies slowly fail them.   And as it is with losing all old dogs, your routine is changed greatly once they leave.  That is always a constant reminder they aren’t with you anymore.


Thank you, Norris.  You were such a wonderful friend and companion.  I’m sorry we couldn’t do more for you and I hope you know how much you were loved.   We hope you found Mo and the rest of your friends who left before you.  Remember to share the biscuits x

Sleep tight my magnificent old boy.  We will love and miss you forever xxx





  1. That was such a lovely dedication to a truly super dog. He was very easy to like. I’m sure he’ll be missed by all the remaining dogs as well as yourselves. Nice to have good memories.

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