Ode to a Sled Dog: Chance of Ojibwa

Lead Dog, Ojibwa Kennel
 9/28/04- 7/10/17


 Today, my FiveSibes and I are dedicating our blog post to the loss of a great sled dog - the beautiful "Chance," Karen and Dave Hill's amazing lead dog of the Ojibwa Kennel team from Minnesota. You can follow them and their beautiful sled dogs on their Facebook page here. I'm sharing Karen's heartfelt words here in her ode to her special sled dog and about how much this boy meant to her:

"In my early years of mushing I wanted so very much to have a Seppala Siberian in my kennel. Back then, we didn't have social media, so finding a breeder of Sepps wasn't as simple as pushing a button. Around 2002 or 2003, a friend of mine said she planned to breed one of her dogs and asked if I would take a puppy because she wanted to be sure they would go to good homes. I was elated to hear that she would be breeding to a Seppala. Of course I said yes. When the pups were a few weeks old, I went over and chose my baby. She had chosen her keepers, and I chose differently, so in our own minds, we each got our "pick of the litter". My boy was Chance. He was named Ojibwa's Second Chance because 5 years prior, I'd been given a mushing-less prognosis after a serious car accident, only to be hit head-on in a snowstorm and cut out with the Jaws of Life 2 years later. The doctors said I would never live the same lifestyle.
This pup represented a new beginning for me, a second chance at the life I loved. While I was very grateful for that second chance, it was fraught with pain, both physical and psychological, and peppered with time off the runners. This sensitive pup came to know me well and his support, patience, and love was almost a palpable thing.

He grew to be the epitome of the "old soul" sled dog. He loved me and trusted me like no one ever had before and I valued that so deeply. Truly, in his entire life, he never trusted another person the way he did me. 

This trust was mutual. I knew he'd never take me down the wrong trail. He was never the type of husky to exaggerate pain, as so many are. He was always, every bit stoic and strong. He had wisdom beyond anything I've seen in a human being. 

He was my lead dog. He became an irreplaceable, indescribably trusted and respected soul mate. Chance has earned his silver harness, and at this point it feels like, taken most of me with him. I don't have many pictures of his last days because, knowing it was coming, the anguish in my heart spilled out onto my face and even I can't stand to look at the photos of it. 

Run free, Chance, you have my heart with you. My life is forever better because you were in it." 
~Karen Hill, Musher, Ojibwa Kennel

"Dogs' lives are too short. Their only fault, really."
~Agnes Sligh Turnbull

On this Flashback Friday, we are traveling back down Memory Lane to a great run so you can take a ride in Karen's musher's seat with her beloved lead dog, Chance, leading the way. Sit back, and enjoy the beautiful ride.

 "This was one of Chance's best runs. I don't judge that by speed, time, or distance, but by the level of fun and peace we had. This is what makes the heartache worth it. Rest In Peace, Buddy." 
~Karen Hill, Musher, Ojibwa Kennel

Mush on, beautiful Chance, through those beautiful, snowy trails north of the Rainbow Bridge. 

Join Us!!! Do you have a photo from your pet's past that you'd like to share? Come stroll down Memory Lane with us here at FiveSibes and join in our Flashback Friday blog hop (we are open all week)! Just post your pic on your blog, grab our badge from above (yes, that's Gibson & little bro, pupster Wolfie!) & link to our blog, then join the blog hop below so others can come visit and see your flashback photos, too! A fun way to relive past fun times with our pets, present and past, and a great way to kick off a weekend! We hope you'll join us for some Friday fun! (To see past posts, put "Flashback Friday" in our Search bar at top of blog).


  1. That was a beautiful tribute. Love and hugs to that special Chance family.

  2. A beautiful tribute to a beautiful dog. RIP, Chance. My deepest sympathy to Karen and all who knew and loved Chance. If it's OK, I'll include Chance in the July edition of 'Our Rainbow Friends'.

  3. So many tears right now. Its heartbreaking to read of someone losing their heart dog. It reminds me of my own loss.

  4. What a remarkable and loving tribute. Given the temps here have been in the 90's day after day lately, to be able to share a sled dog ride along was an especially wondrous experience. With heartfelt thoughts and condolences to his owner Karen and ear scratches for the dog team, we say rest in peace, Chance. We hope the tender memories like this ride will provide Karen with loving comfort.

  5. Mom Kim here finally-I have been meaning to leave my comment for awhile ever since I first read this beautiful tribute. Thank you for including that video - I love watching a well-trained dog performing as if in anticipation and knowing what his pet parent wants. It's obvious that was the kind of relationship Chance had with Karen.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Acupressure and Ice to Relieve Seizures and A #LiveGibStrong Epi-Tip

#PrayersForHarley - Dewclaw Tumor

The Rainbow Bridge Welcomes A New FurAngel - Buddy, the Christmas Husky - A Forever Symbol of Hope for Rescued Dogs

Fit For Our #FiveSibes Alpha Queen: Celebrating Harley's 14½ Birthday

Shave a Husky? Don't Do it!