Last Edited: Oct 14, 2008 8:41 AM
Born on August 24, 1992 and raised in the bustling ski town of Mammoth
Lakes, California, Tioga (Prince of the Sierra) was the ever-present
sidekick to his year-older cousin Tenaya (Jewel of the Sierra). The two
yellow labs were our first "kids," proving if we could handle these two
rascals, actual children would be no problem (raising Alec, Katie and Ryan
has since proved us right).
Imagine (as a dog) the joy of knowing an afternoon walk would be enjoyed
above timberline in the nearby John Muir or Ansel Adams Wilderness Areas.
Winters spent rolling in the snow, summers swimming in alpine lakes. Not bad
We eventually moved from the Sierras to Flagstaff, Arizona for a time, then
settled permanently in Vancouver, Washington. The two dogs were like peas in
a pod, sleeping together, sunning in the backyard together, enjoying their
walks along Vancouver Lake and Salmon Creek.
Tioga and Tenaya eventually had a new puppy pal, Ollie, to entertain and
amuse them. Tenaya reached the ripe old age of 13 before a sudden heart
attack snatched her away from us in 2004. Fortunately, Tioga had Ollie,
Ollie had Tioga, and the two became best friends.
In 2007, Tioga's age was catching up with him, his rear legs becoming
weaker, his arthritis more pronounced. We resorted to carrying him outside
to take care of business, then returning him to his comfy sheepskin dogbed.
We did this for six months, before coming to the difficult realization
Tioga's existence was rather tenuous, his quality of life severely
curtailed. The dog that splashed happily in High Sierra lakes and streams
was still with us, but no longer really "here." His eyesight and hearing
failing, we chose to bring him to the good folks at East Mill Plain Animal
Hospital, where he had been so well-cared-for over the past decade. Dr.
Witherspoon helped Tioga cross the Rainbow Bridge on January 7, 2008,
cradled in our arms, at the end of 15 wonderful years of loyalty,
dedication, and frolic.
We'll miss Tioga, Prince of the Sierra, but take solace knowing he's busy
chasing rabbits again with Tenaya.
Becky and Jim B.