In Memory of Tonka 1995-2007

RPM Kennel said goodbye to Tonka, our black lab, this past Friday as he left for the big hunting ground in the sky, but not before he went for one last run on the property with his running pals Koyuk, Pewter and Minimus.  It was the type of run you hoped would never end.  That evening the dog yard didn’t seem the same without Tonka meandering around checking everyone’s spot for leftover kibble.  Tonka had special privelages that no other husky in the yard could ever fathom.  He could walk into the most irritable dogs area and check it out for food, smelling the bowl and walking around like he owned every inch of dirt.  All the huskies respected his stature and often looked upon him in amazement as if they didn’t real know what to make of this gutsy black dog.  He went on free runs with every husky in the yard and no one ever thought of giving him a hard time.  He helped raise every pup we ever had and ran along side them in their youth and put up with all their crap.  Tonka was a true companion and more so then most dogs as a result of his health issues.  He was diagnosed with insulnoma about 5-6 years ago and we were told he probably wouldn’t make it a year.  However, thanks to the expert advice of Arleigh Reynolds he was able to enjoy several more years of good dog living.  Tonka became an extension of us as he had to travel everywhere with us, including work and client calls, so that he could be fed 4 times a day due to complications we later learned were from the insulnoma.  So he came to work and slept in his kennel by Bruce’s desk everyday, visited everyone during lunch and then came home to play with huskies.  Tonka’s uncontrollable bad gas became a running joke in the office as you often had to cover your nose whenever you needed to enter Bruce’s office to talk to him.  Near the end it permeated throughout the entire front office and we had to put air freshners strategically all over the place.  He never missed a dog sled race and watched patiently from the passenger seat of the truck.  He did his time on the gang line as a youngster and knew that hunting was his real passion and not running sleds so he was ok with just watching.  He was an oddball with many strange habits that made him so endearing.  Before he became ill not a guest in our home could hope to wake up without a complete “Tonka head wash”.  He would sneak into their room in the morning and lick their face and head until they woke up and then he would graciously dry them off by rolling all over their head.  He absolutely loved to duck hunt and bird hunt, but came by some barking genes honestly and could never quite learn to shut up in the duck blind.  It would become a point of hilarity during the hunt as the hunters tried everything to shut him up to no avail.  He ate everything in his sight and it became more of an obsession as he got older; broke into many bags of dog food, ate anything left in the truck (boxes of hot cocoa, McDonalds wrappers etc), loved kleenex and papertowels and just a week ago he broke into the pantry and ate an entire 6 pack of V-8 juice by just tearing open the cans.  He loved plastic bottles and cans and when we built our house he would steal every one you set down.  On the upside it kept the entire site free of them; however, on the downside you had to keep an eye on your drink and we later discovered boatloads of cans and bottles stashed down the hill in the woods in his secret hiding place.  Tonka also loved running behind the 4 wheeler and he would bark incessantly anytime you started the darn thing and he did this up until his last day when he could barely even walk behind it.  We put him in the Rhino and he still barked.  He would run until his legs gave out and then he would crawl still wagging his tail and barking like a fool.  It was a scene that real made you understand what “heart and drive” in a dog real means.  Tonka had both and during his toughest moments he was always wagging his tail.  We will miss our beloved guard dog, companion, hunting pal and good friend.  After 6 years of having him by our side 24 hours a day it feels like we’ve amputated an arm or something.  However, we are at peace knowing he is pain free.  In his honor, us and the dogs gave a long, howl in mourning late Friday evening.  Goodbye Tonka, thanks for all the memories and may you rest in peace. Tonka 2007

This entry was posted in The Off Season. Bookmark the permalink.