Story and photo submitted by Kerri
I was born in Alaska and grew up following the Iditarod Sled Dog Race and studying it in school. My elementary school librarian was Dee Dee Jonrowe's mom and we sewed booties for Dee Dee's dogs. As an adult, I did a little bit of dog handling for a couple of mushers and worked on the Iditarod Trail during the race producing video content for the Iditarod Insider. I've had a love for Husky dogs my whole life.
I ended up with two Huskies of my own, Knik and Elias. Knik was from Minturn, Colorado. I adopted him when he was a puppy. Elias, from Chugiak, Alaska, was 1 year old when I rescued him. They were my constant companions... ski-joring, running, hiking, traveling... we were always together. When the dogs were old men, my little girl was born. Knik's body began failing him when it was time to give birth to my little girl. She was in the NICU for a week after her birth and I had to check myself out of the hospital with her to come home and say good-bye to Knik. He was 15 years old then and I truly believe he waited to make sure she was okay - and me too. About a year later, Elias left us to join Knik. He was also 15 years old.
Four years went by before I finally felt ready to get another dog and for some reason, the urge felt urgent. I am now living in California in the winter time and Alaska in the summer. My daughter and I went to a rescue in downtown Los Angeles to see a litter of puppies. While we waited for the puppies, the woman running the shelter asked if we could hold onto a leashed dog whom we ended up taking for a walk. By the time we returned, that little Husky mix was leaning on my daughter and burying her head in her lap.
As a good Alaskan, I felt obligated to spring this Husky dog loose from its life in downtown LA. I asked if we could bring her home for a few days to see her temperament with other kids, men, cats, etc. But even after the short time at the shelter, I knew she was our dog. We named her Nina after a Matryoshka doll in a children's story.
At first, Nina didn't play with toys (I don't think she ever had one), she was a flight-risk, aiming to run out any open door (car or home) and she seemed very detached, often staring into the distance. She didn't know that, with us, she would have a home forever.
Nina has become an integral part of our family in the last two years. She runs on the beach and hikes off leash, brings us a toy every time we walk through the door, sleeps and wrestles with our cat and has given me, once again, a side-kick and a soul-mate. Her body is nearly identical to Knik's and she has a handful of white hairs in the tip of her tail - just like he did. Knik was my first dog and as you can imagine, after 15 years together, we had formed a very special connection.
I wouldn't be surprised at all if he somehow sent Nina to me and to my little family. If you did, Knik, you did good, my son. Nina is a sweeter angel than we could have ever hoped for.