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These are the dogs that have gone away in body,
but will always be in our hearts.

Part of the contract humans have with dogs is that we will feed them, we will shelter them, we will take care of them. In turn they will work for us, they will love us. What cannot have been in the contract when it was written was how much we would love them and how hard it would be to say goodbye.

Gail's first and only childhood dog. She was in the family for only a short time as Gail's brother was allergic. Known for eating crayons, which makes for colorful poops.

Red's wonder dog. Exceptional frisbee player and coconut maniac.

Teacher that Siberians will run away no matter what you do or how much they love you, and get themselves killed.

4/21/1984 - 9/19/1994
Kiska, named after Mt. Kiska in Alaska, was Gail's first puppy--ever. Throughout her life, Kiska taught her human MANY things about Siberians, dog care, obedience training, and sled dog training for skijoring. Kiska was a great companion with no end to her love and devotion. Always eager to please, but she was also a perpetual escape artist always trying to go for a run (and sometimes getting into "mischief")! Because of Kiska, Gail continued to learn and love adventuring with sled dogs--and stayed with Siberians. Winter bushwhacking adventures through the woods with Kiska are forever in my soul.


6/24/1996 - 12/1999
(We were too distraught to even write down
the day of her passing.)

1/21/1998 - 3/21/2007

A big boy with an even bigger heart that gave out way too soon and who had the loudest bark in the World.

9/22/2001 - 6/1/2007

The sweetest dog you ever met. She never met a pet she didn't like and she liked to steal kisses.


murron on spool



laska and murron 2005

Laska and Murron
Best Friends & Kennel Mates Together Again

7/25/1992 - 6/6/2008

He came to us at 12, gave us 2 pups,
and left us at (almost) 16.

Dolby standing

Dolby with pumpkin

8/12/1994 - 10/7/2008

All dogs are good dogs, each in their own way, but some are better. Dawson was one of the best, indoors, outdoors, everywhere.

Dawson at the truck

Dawson in team

Dawson skijoring

Dawson on the gig

Dawson after gig run

Ch. Ripanco's Believe It Or Not

8/22/1995 - 4/18/2009

A show ring champion who, for us, was the hardest working wheel dog ever. He "screamed" to pull.

Woody Harnessed

Woody waiting

3/29/1999 - 11/2/2009

If she could have stood still, she would have been an AKC Champion; but if she could have stood still, she wouldn't have been Frankie.


Frankie meets Missy

Kimlan's Kara Lynn of Ripanco
Dec. 28, 1993 - Jan. 9, 2012

She came to us when 9 mos. young and made our lives all the better because of her. Thank you!

Dawson in team

Demavand's Osceola
May 12, 2000 - August 6, 2013

Oscie came to us for the second phase of his active life, when he was 8 years of age: happy, healthy, loving with a great attitude and lots more time and miles to spend on the trails. He was no longer fast enough to remain on the competitive "A team" as a "racer" as in his previous years and since I was no longer racing that was fine.

Thank you Gail Castonguay, Kim Berg and Kelly Berg for the joy, love and fun we had with Oscie in our family for the past 5 happy healthy years of his life. Thank you for raising, socializing, loving and training him and all else you provided and did to make him such a great, happy, loving, well behaved "easy keeper"--on and off the trail.

Rationally, I know he had a good, long, adventure-filled, happy, active life in all the seasons--with all of us--but that didn't make it any easier to say farewell to him.

Osceola was as strong as his name--and he is leaving as deep a hole in my heart as he did in the snow that he loved and frequently preferred to sleep in.

Ripanco's Atii Ilyaga

(Inuit translation of her name: "Let's Go My Friend")
May 20, 1998 - April 7, 2014 

How do you say goodbye to a beloved, best buddy and constant companion? Not easily--and with tons of tears. 

Rationally, 16 years is a long time and a long life for a Siberian Husky (or any dog). Emotionally, it's still not enough time.

Ilyaga was literally "the little engine that could"--and did.

The offspring of Ripanco's Nexie x Bear (thank you again and again and forever, Andy!), she was an incredibly special dog. A small but sturdy, well-built dog who still met the standards--with a gorgeous head and mask, bi-eyed with a parti-eye. A great lead and command dog--and wheel dog or team dog--or solo skijoring dog--at only 35 pounds--but with a bad lead dog habit that I couldn't break no matter what I tried. She'd grab her running mate's ruff and give it a shake if the dog wasn't going fast enough or where she wanted it to go--even during a race--or in a curve of the trail during the race. And no dog challenged her about that--so the habit persisted. 

She had enormous "heart", drive, energy and desire to pull and work--in any position along side any dog of any size. Incredibly sweet with a big, deep "grrr, grrr" conversational voice along with her kisses and affection for everyone she met. She was a great "school dog" and loved doing "meet and greets" and presentations and crowds. Nothing fazed her. She loved all the attention and affection she got from anyone she met anywhere.

She somehow miraculously recovered from a stroke a few months ago and was still pulling and trotting (for very short distances from the house to the dogyard to visit other dogs or just spend some time outdoors enjoying the snow and sunshine). She pulled and happily walked or trotted (while leashed) to wherever she wanted to go--right up to the next to last day of her life--until she had a massive stroke event that put her in a coma and unresponsive in the wee hours early Sunday morning. There was no coming back from this episode this time.

She was an amazing bundle of joy and love, leaving a huge aching hole in my heart--but I am also filled with gratitude and an abundance of happy memories that will have to sustain me in her absence.

Van Morrision's "You Steal My Heart Away"!



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Atii Sled Dogs
Mad River Valley · PO Box 550 · Moretown, VT 05660
Phone: 802-496-3795 · Fax: 802-496-3765

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This page last updated Dec. 21, 2008.