Days come and go and meld together into one, and yet one moment in time can be so etched into your mind as the call comes. While you reach out to ask for that moment to not be real, the weight of the truth is sometimes more than you can bear. Are we ever really prepared? Our hearts are never ready for the loss of one we love. Our throats constrict and it would seem a breath will never come again as we break down into silent sobs and grief wraps around you and through into the center of your soul. This May we said farewell to a noble and loyal alpha male: Dusty of Smokey’s pack. He passed on to be with his parents and siblings across the Great River. I see them running free, happy to be together again.
Born to Smokey and Samson on a cold January day fifteen years ago, Dusty was always surrounded by his family, coming into the world alongside four of his siblings. As he grew he learned leadership and strength and eventually took over the rank of Alpha male after his father Samson passed away. He led his pack with a subtle dominance, dignity, and grace alongside his sister, Solo. The two derived strength and comfort from each other and were true leaders, ruling their pack with a peaceful dominance just as their parents had before them.
Dusty led his pack with a steadfast perseverance. He was smaller in size compared to his brothers, yet he stood strong as their leader and took on the role of their protector. Ever the guardian, he was known to take daily strolls around their territory perimeter, maintaining the trails for his family members and keeping a vigilant eye to ensure that they stayed safe.
His family was always shy of humans and quite timid, but Dusty was always more curious than his siblings, coming close to the fence during tours and standing just a few feet away to observe while volunteers helped with maintenance tasks in their territory.
Dusty had a steady unwavering gaze yet his eyes always seemed to twinkle with a playfulness that he carried with him throughout his life. He and his siblings followed the rules and order of their family laid out by their parents. Amidst the rules, though, they always kept a lighthearted spirit. Dusty and Solo loved to play in their younger years and cultivated an energetic and fun atmosphere for their family. Dusty taught us about family and love, about loyalty and leadership. He never needed to prove his dominance, he earned it, through his choice to honor and protect his family and to stay true to them above all else.
Dusty will remain in our hearts always, and those of us who knew him will never stop looking for that steady gaze peering through the trees with a twinkle in his eye. We love you Dusty. Your light and steadfast soul will always be with us.
IN LOVING MEMORY
DUSTY OF SPEEDWELL
January 10, 2003 – May 23, 2018