OK, I’ve got three blog posts started but not finished. The usual excuse: deadlines, imminent and impending. One of the three is met, the second is almost, the third is still two weeks off. Rather than finish one of the posts I’ve started, I’m starting something new. Here goes.

Travvy at Camp N Pack 2012

If you know me or if you’ve been following this blog, you’ve met Travvy, my gorgeous roommate. Travvy’s full name, which mostly appears on his title certificates, is Masasyu’s Fellow Traveller.

When my old guy, Rhodry Malamutt, died, I knew I was going to get another dog. Rhodry was half malamute. I’d never had a purebred dog before, but I wanted a purebred malamute. I knew both of Rhodry’s parents; I’d seen his litter born and watched them grow up. I wasn’t going to see my new puppy born, but I did want to meet his or her parents.


Travvy’s daddy, Trouble (Masasyu’s Here Comes Trouble)

Long story short: In late April 2008 I drove to Canandaigua, in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. I met Lori Hicks and Harold Power of Masasyu Alaskan Malamutes. I played with a bunch of roly-poly fuzzballs. I met their parents, grandparents, and great-granddaddy Charles. One fuzzball, said Lori, had had his eye on me since the moment I walked in the door. I watched him. He watched me. He was my puppy.

Almost home: Travvy at 8.5 weeks

My friend Susan, an amateur astrologer, cast a chart for our first meeting. Our two lives, she said, both took a turn for the better when we met. I now know this was true. Two days and 400 miles later, we got home to Martha’s Vineyard. By then my puppy was Travvy, my Fellow Traveller.

Since then I’ve kept Lori posted on Travvy’s and my adventures and successes in Rally obedience. I’ve kept up with new doings at Masasyu: new puppies, successes in the conformation ring and in various dog sports, especially weight pulling. A couple of weeks ago I sent Lori a copy of Vineyard Seadogs 2013, the calendar that features Trav as Mr. January.

Last night a house fire destroyed Lori and Harold’s home and killed 19 dogs, including 12 puppies, and 6 housecats. Eight adult dogs were saved. I don’t yet know who lived and who died. Travvy’s mom, Mayhem (Masasyu’s Bound and Determined), lives elsewhere, so I know she’s OK. Granddaddy Charles died in 2010. All I know is that many of the Masasyu dogs were Travvy’s family, the ones I met when I visited in April 2008.

A Masasyu Fire Relief Fund has already, as I write this, raised more than $5,500 to help Lori and Harold get back on their feet. I’ve made a little contribution. So have a couple of my Vineyard dog friends, who don’t know Lori and Harold but do know Travvy. I love this and I thank them. We on Martha’s Vineyard open our hearts and our wallets for those hit by adversity. Other communities do too.

One contributor wrote: “Know that we Malamute People are a pack, and the pack cares deeply for you.”

Another — a volunteer official from several of the Rally trials that Travvy and I have attended — wrote: “I don’t know these folks but I have dog friends with Masasyu dogs, and dog folks stick together!”

Knowing this makes it easier to keep putting one foot in front of the other, mindful that at any moment one’s worst nightmare could become real.

Update, 6 p.m., Wednesday, November 28: The response to the fire relief fund has been amazing. As of a few minutes ago, almost $9,000 had been raised. I hear there’s another fundraising effort that’s also doing well, and others are working to collect immediately needed dog supplies. Some good news: The kennel runs weren’t damaged by the fire, and a hay barn on the property will be converted into kennel space. Meanwhile a recently purchased box van is being pressed into service as a temporary kennel. So the surviving dogs are able to go home instead of being fostered out. Some sad news: A tentative list of survivors was posted to the Malamute-L list earlier today. Trouble, Travvy’s dad, didn’t make it. And only one of the intact bitches survived, a youngster. This could be devastating for a breeding program, but I have a hunch that other breeders working with these bloodlines will find a way to help Lori out when she’s ready.

About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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4 Responses to Family

  1. cyberrallyo says:

    I read your post and the newspaper article. What a horrible tragedy. I made a donation, too.


  2. Juleann says:

    Thank you for sharing this news with us & inviting us to participate in helping any way we can. I enjoy the updates on Travvy, reading of his progress — creating an invisible connection with Lori and Harold and the sadness they now have to deal with. Please give an update as time goes on.


    • We’re part of this web: I’m related “by the dog” to other people with Masasyu dogs, and friends of mine are related to Lori and Harold because they know Travvy and me. It was like this with Rhodry too: I felt a kinship with his littermates, his other full siblings, and their people. It’s not hard to see how this web of people who want to help Lori and Harold out is so far-flung and big! I just added an update to the blog post. The sad news is that Travvy’s dad, Trouble, didn’t survive the fire. 😦


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