An End to a Reign: Goodbye Beautiful Harley, Alpha Queen of the FiveSibes

As a gentle late summer breeze blew, our beloved Harley passed peacefully outside at home today in the early afternoon, held by my daughter and I, and wrapped in so much love. Standing nearby their surrogate mother's side were Wolf and Bandit. While our hearts are truly broken again, after just losing our sweet Chloe in June, Harley is free now from pain and running with both Gibson and Chloe, North of the Rainbow Bridge. 

“Dogs’ lives are short, too short, but you know that going in. You know the pain is coming, you’re going to lose a dog, and there’s going to be great anguish, so you live fully in the moment with her, never fail to share her joy or delight in her innocence, because you can’t support the illusion that a dog can be your lifelong companion. There’s such beauty in the hard honesty of that, in accepting and giving love while always aware that it comes with an unbearable price.” – Dean Koontz
Future FiveSibes Alpha Queen
My daughter and Harley. "They didn’t make a tougher
more badass dog than her. Rest easy girl," my daughter said
and it was so very true. 

Harley was our first Siberian Husky; my daughter's dog, actually. We fell in love with her and, unbeknownst to us at the time, that set us on the path of eventually adding four more Huskies to our family and inspiration behind this very blog. 

Harley was the OG of the FiveSibes. The alpha queen of the FiveSibes Pack. She was "Momma dog" as she mothered the Pupsters Wolf, Bandit, and Chloe as though they were her very own from the moment we brought them home.

Harley was Gibson's true love...from the second we brought him home at four months old, and two-year-old Harley knocked him furry butt over tea kettle into the side of the pool, the boy was smitten with her black and white, blue-eyed beauty. From that moment on, they became the "originals;" the "married couple."
The "Originals" ~ Harley and Gibson as puppies!

Always full of sass and spunk, she was an amazing dog. A highly intelligent dog, Harley was not your typical snuggly dog, but this beautiful girl would grace you once in a while with her snuffles (a sniffy-almost-kiss) and oh, how she loved to play "Husky-style" whether with the rest of the pack family, or us humans! She could body slam you from a run like a pro football player! Her and I would do our own fun game of "Slide-the-Sibe," where I would split my legs and call out "Come on, Harley, Slide-the-Sibe!" and she would run between my legs and come out the other size in full crazed Husky mode! Fetch was her favorite game of all time, and she could out run, out Fetch, out play all of our other Huskies. 

fivesibes.blogspot.comIn the summer, she loved the pool! As soon as we brought it out to fill up, she was the first pup in and loved to splash, and jump, and run, and paw at the hose. Oh, the laughs we shared, even this summer, at 14 years of age, that girl could splash like a puppy! Always the first pup in and last one out, how she loved her pool time. This year, although a little stiff after the water play, she happily went in and out of the pool all day long, and sounded off her happiness with her low-growls of pleasure. Aside from watching her run in the snow, it was always a joy to watch her splash in her pool and then engage in play with the other Huskies. And these little snippets were of Harley just this summer, at almost 14.5! She rocked being a senior!

"It's impossible to forget a dog that gave you so much to remember." ~Anonymous
"Woo! Where to?!
Harley also loved car rides, especially if it in-cluded a stop for her favorite drive-through treat--vanilla ice cream! 
From the time she was a pup and we brought her home from over an hour away, in the pouring rain, she snuggled up on the back window and went to sleep. She grew to love sitting next to the window, buckled in, and watch as we drove. She was the best passenger dog ever! She accompanied my husband to work many times, with all the folks falling in love with her!

She was a spunky girl! She always chased her floofy tail, and did managed to catch it a few times! She loved to "grrrrrr" with the pups to get them to play, and there was not a bed she didn't like to try and tear up!
Siberian Huskies love to howl, or "woooo" as we Husky-lovers say. Within our FiveSibes pack, the Pupsters would always go up to Harley, even after she went deaf, and give a few barks or woos to get her started. They would not group howl unless momma Harley started them off. However, this beautiful girl could not sing. Not a note. As graceful and petite as she was, this girl could not carry a canine note! A neighbor once said she thought one of our dogs were injured because the howl sounded like a wounded animal! But, Harley woooed proudly...and loudly, and then, and only then, would the rest of the Huskies join in. 

How I miss those Siberian "songs."

Harley, like Gibson, was a star (and knew it!) and accomplished so much! 

From being on national magazine covers like American Pet Magazine and posing with Gibson on the cover of Ruff Drafts... being a model dog for my articles both in magazines and in my blog, to having a book starring, well, her!

She also starred in, along with all of our FiveSibes, a music video written all about Siberian Huskies! Rock on, Huskies!

This girl was a queen, and naturally, birthdays were celebrated in royal style!

Last year, at 13, Harley began showing some signs of aging, besides being deaf ever since she had her seizures in 2012, arthritis and stiffness began to settle in her hind legs, and recently, she had a very difficult time sitting down.
Harley and her favorite toy, her blue Peep.

Dogs should be able to lie down and stand up, and for Harley, it was obvious of late that this was becoming a difficult thing to do. Hemp oil (CBD) was a godsend. Since she had gastrointestinal issues where as certain medications made her have bloody stools (almost to the point of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE), she could not be put on the traditional pain-relieving medications. Treatibles full-spectrum hemp oil was the magic pill for her...for awhile. Eventually, she had breakthrough pain and the dosage would be increased (several times), which would help to the point of even reducing inflammation in her now-swollen carpals, and while most of the swelling miraculously went down, she was still in growing pain. I also suspected a possible underlying condition with balding along her spine that began last summer. While I suspected Cushings or cancer, her bloodwork, with great relief, always came back A-Ok. Her alopecia was treated with antibiotics, topical medication, coconut oil, and then hemp oil--all to no avail, and was consuming her once beautiful furry back. Thankfully, it was a superficial issue, and to my knowledge, caused her no additional pain.

Even so, she was--and always will be--
stunningly beautiful in my eyes.
Harley, queen of FiveSibes and mother of our Huskies

While she faced several age-onset health challenges, none were actually acute. Thankfully. Harley's amazing fourteen-and-a-half years were blessed with good health. With a slight CCL tear that healed with Conservative Care Management, an injured dew claw removal, and two adult-onset seizures behind her at age 12 (due to hypoglycemia and hypothyroidism), Harley was pretty amazing and quite healthy for a senior gal. Having gone deaf, she responded excellently to hand signals. Most recently she was stricken with Horner's Syndrome (which I will be writing about in a future post), but over time, recuperated fairly well, once again thanks to hemp oil, massage, and sometimes I believe sheer determination to have her well.

"Death is the heartache no once can heal.
Memories are keepsakes no one can steal...
Softly the leaves of memory fall, 
gently we gather and cherish them all.
Planted deep in memory's garden
and watered daily with tears:
Memory has a magical way
of keeping loved one near." ~Grieving Poem

Harley bucked Old Man Time, she really did. But then again, in the words of her momma, my daughter, she was "tough" and a "badass!" (And I believe Harley knew it)!

Harley was indeed a badass, a true pack queen and she reigned royally.

Last night, I told her all about the amazing people out here and how they were sending her love, prayers, and power of the paw...and in her infinite wisdom, I do believe she understood and felt all that love.

For me, letting her go was one of the most difficult things to do; gut wrenching, actually. To have to make "that decision" for a family pet is painful, difficult, and for me--physically sickening--but I believe it should always be about the dog. While Gibson and Chloe were acute cases, and heartbreaking, but the decisions were necessary, under advisement of the vet out of critical emergencies, Harley's was a bit different. Old Man Time had indeed caught up to her. We had to make the decision set her soul and spirit free, and as any pet parent can attest, it is one of the most difficult decisions a pet parent has to make. Was it too soon? If I wait, would it be too late? Would tomorrow bring worse pain or a heart attack, stroke, respiratory distress, or seizures?

“One day we will again see our animals 
in the eternity of Christ.” 
~Pope Paul VI
So, the gut-wrenching decision was finally made (three calls to our vet, two postponements on my part, and hell of a lot of tears). Under the care of our wonderful vet, Harley left this world as she was held and pet by my daughter and I, with her two remaining Pupsters nearby, and wrapped in love in the comfort of her own home with her two favorite toys, her stuffed blue and pink Peeps. She earned her silver harness in manner fitting the beautiful brave warrior queen she was--with respect, dignity, and oh-so-much love.  

Tonight was a rare Friday, the 13th full Harvest Moon, and 13 has been a lucky number here, so I like to think since the moon seemed so big and bright,
it is indeed a special occasion as her path was illuminated across  across the heavens to those snowy fields, north of the Rainbow Bridge. In my mind, I called upon Gibson to bring Chloe and meet Harley at the gates to the Rainbow Bridge, and escort her back to the beautiful snowy fields north of there, where they could all zoomie together, all on healthy fours, wildly kicking up snow, healthy and happy as a Husky should be. I can see them in my mind's eye, and it is so beautiful, and I try to take comfort from that.

And, in true alpha queen Harley style, she sent a sign. But, that is story for the next time.

Goodbye our beautiful girl. 
We will love you and miss you forever.

Your dainty little pawprints will
forever be upon our hearts.

Oh, how I hate goodbyes.

Dear Readers and FiveSibes Fans: We will still be on a blogging break and may pop in to share a story or two, but mainly will be with Wolf and Bandit to help them as they help me transition to being a furfamily of just two...while in our hearts we will be #ForeverFiveSibes.

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  1. I'm so very sorry. She was well loved and she knew it. They are never with us long enough but what wonderful memories you have.

  2. What an amazing and beautiful tribute to Harley. I'm so very sorry for your loss. RIP sweet girl.

  3. With love, understanding, and so many tears. Feel our paws and arms surrounding you all in peace and gentle nuzzles.

  4. Gentle wooos, safe travels Harley,

    Nuk & family

  5. What a lovely tribute to Queen Harley. She was evidently quite a girl. Very sorry her time to leave arrived, but know you are grateful for the years she spent with you. Hugs.

  6. Oh that beautiful tribute got the tears flowing here. We know how difficult it is but you did right by your girl, so no second guessing. Run free dear Queen Harley, you've touched many a heart in this world, now you'll be watching over those who loved you unconditionally and forever.

  7. Such a beautiful heartfelt tribute to beautiful Harley. My deepest sympathy to you and your family. I know how hard it was to say goodbye. But you will always have her memory living safe in your heart. Hugs... ♥♥♥♥♥

  8. Godspeed, dearest Harley! Wear that silver harness with great pride. So very sorry for you loss. Soft woos and gentle hugs from all of us. Harley could have been a sister to our Angel Phantom - they sure looked a lot alike.

    Hugs and Woos - Lightning, Misty, and Timber, and Mom Kathie

  9. The tears are flowing as I read your beautiful tribute to an amazing Queen. RIP, your Majesty. 👑

  10. I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful girl. XO

  11. Love those pool moves by Harley! I could watch that all day. I didn't know she was such a superstar!
    A definite Queen. May she continue to rule your heart Dorothy. (((HUGS)))

  12. I just found your post only a few days before Harley crossed. What a special girl. They say that dogs leave pawprints on our hearts. My heart is all pawprints now for all the losses I have endured but I will always have dogs even as I age. May the pawprints heal your grief as you go through the days.

  13. I am devastated to read of Harley's passing. Your beautiful tribute to Harley touched my heart and truly captured what an amazing dog she was and the wonderful, full life she lived. Not only beautiful in looks, but the videos show Harley to be beautiful, and spunky, in spirit. What a fun-loving happy dog! She will be extremely missed and her passing leaves the pet blog sphere a little sadder and emptier. My heart and prayers go out to you, your family, and to Wolf and Bandit. May Angels wings cover you in comfort and help you in your sorrow. As Aristotle said, "There is honor in being a dog." Queen Harley exemplifies that quote.

    Rest in Peace, lovely Harley.

    In deepest sympathy,

    Angel Suka and K

  14. What a beautiful tribute to a gorgeous girl. We are so very sorry for the loss of your Harley. Hugs to you all♥

  15. So sorry of the loss of your beloved Harley. Soft Pawkisses to comfort you🐾😽💞
    Fly free beautiful soul💗💗💗

  16. We are so very sorry for your loss. Purrs of comfort and paws of sympathy from all of us here at ATCAD

  17. Run free beautiful girl ! We are sure many old friends were there to meet you ! Purrayers !

  18. So very sorry to hear of Harley’s passing, but what a beautiful tribute you wrote for her. She and Gibson are together again.

  19. We are so very sorry to hear of the passing of your beautiful Harley.You are so right in that their lives are not long enough. May you have many happy memories of your time with her.
    Purrs,Georgia,Julie and JJ


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