For the past 9 years I have had the good fortune to have a wonderful dog with me on many adventures. Hank died on Christmas Day, and though I’ve never seen an obituary for a dog, He deserves one.
We got Hank as a puppy, from the shelter in Fairbanks and within a couple of weeks he was on his first winter camping trip to the remote Hootlanana Hot Springs north of Fairbanks. His career as an adventuring dog was off to a good start. During his first summer we got to backpack in the Philip Smith Mountains and then raft the Canning River to the Arctic Ocean. From there it was off to Barter Island where he emptied a can of pepper-spray into a hotel carpet; a story which eventually made it into the New York Times. Since then, he has traveled widely in Alaska mostly on personal trips but also on the occasional guided trip, becoming so comfortable with small planes that we would just load-up and wait for the ride to begin. When not roaming the Brooks Range (usually in heel) he has been my constant companion on countless more mundane adventures. Though bred to be a herding dog, he found his true calling as a greeter, wagging his whole body and talking up a storm to anyone arriving at our home or the Arctic Wild warehouse. In addition to brightening our days he also thwarted a moose who was determined to stomp me, alerted us to bears approaching camp, bravely chased an entire pack of wolves from our camp and dutifully watched over our young boys even when they mauled him. I could write about Hank for hours, but suffice it to say that we couldn’t ask for a better dog. We will miss him for many, many years.