It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beautiful girl Terra. Terra was a treasured member of the Henry family for fourteen years. In July she underwent emergency surgery for a life-threatening condition and never fully recovered. Our lovely girl was suffering and we knew it was time to let her go.
Terra was born in Oregon at Polar Mist Kennels – the breeder of almost 400 Champion Samoyeds. Having purchased a show puppy with a stellar pedigree, Terra’s original owner was disappointed to find her girl showed little interest in the show ring. Life as a beauty queen held no appeal for Terra. Bored silly, she retired at ten months and her first family put her up for adoption.
Terra came into our lives on a on a warm October day in 2001. The past seven years had been busy ones for our family and we had been “dog-less” since Aput, our first Samoyed passed away in 1994. We were excited - Terra would transform our new house in North Kildonan into a real home!
It was clear from the start that the adoption was not going well. We soon discovered our little rescue was terrified by loud noises. Thunderstorms and fireworks were the worst but even a cooking pot dropped in the kitchen would frighten her and send her scurrying for cover. Terra also suffered from a separation anxiety disorder and could never be left alone without hurting herself and destroying property. Her first two years were difficult ones. At McPhillips Animal Hospital, Dr. Gould’s behaviour therapy helped a little but her real recovery began when we expanded the pack - adopting a couple of calm, confident little brothers, Franklin and Hudson!
The boys’ confidence slowly rubbed off on Terra. She was finally free to fulfill her true destiny as an active, energetic, adventuress and lover of the outdoors. Samoyeds are hunters and herders. Terra was happiest chasing rabbits, treeing squirrels, herding ducks and geese at the cabin; tracking deer at Birds Hill Park, chasing gophers at Little Mountain, hiking the trails with us at Kilcona, and catching fish at Setting Lake and herding them in our backyard pond.
Having mastered a vocabulary of over 100 words and phrases, Terra was the most intelligent dog we’ve ever known. And we thank her for that every day. A few years ago Hudson got lost in dense woods at Setting Lake. There are wolves, foxes, lynx and bears in the woods. When Terra came back to the cabin alone, we thought we’d never see him again.
But Terra knew where he was. She patiently led us through the forest. The going was slow and painful. It was a hot, humid summer day without the slightest breeze. After several days of rain, low spots on the forest floor had been transformed into knee-deep ponds - breeding grounds for swarms of mosquitoes and black flies that filled the air. Many large trees had fallen, blocking our way. Finally, after an hour or so we spotted a small white speck racing down a well-worn path about a kilometer away. We were so thankful! But the fear quickly returned - we could see that he was confused, running away from us deeper into the forest!
Terra had long understood the command, “Go get Jeff” but I’d never told her to “Go get Hudson”. I gave the command. Knowing that she wasn’t allowed in the woods by herself, she looked at me quizzically. I repeated the command. She looked at me one last time as if to say “Got it!”, turned and began running after Hudson. She flew over deadfall and swam through ponds. When she caught up with Hudson, all her herding instincts kicked in. She rounded him up and brought him safely home – both of them wet, muddy and exhausted.
Bless you Terra for all that you are and all that you gave! We will see you again at the Rainbow Bridge!