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December Coastal Canine

Remembering Juno at Christmastime

by guest writer Leslie Nolin

Juno was a 10-year-old Alaskan Husky, Greyhound Rottie mix that came to us from the Whistler sled dog community back in 2013. She was a darling pup, goofy and happy, inquisitive and super smart – cheeky too!

She gave us comfort and respite as our 20-somethings struck out on their own. She kept all that new space in our home filled with noise, snuggles, a routine and at times our new alarm system.

Juno loved people and Lola, Chester and Karu were a few of her neighbourhood canine chums. Lola would often come to the door in the mornings to play while the humans drank coffee up on the street. Karu and Juno were weekly hiking and swimming pals, always wrestling over the orange rubber ball.

This time of year was her favourite. She would nestle herself under the Christmas tree with Pongo our Tabby and together they would systematically remove ornaments to play with. We eventually made her sugar-free shortbread so she too could indulge in Christmas cookies like the rest of us. Juno was 120 pounds, so finding space under the tree was something we learned to create for her. There were too many toppled trees when Juno tried to find a space to park herself.

Juno loved to howl. Like her Alaskan husky mumma  - she would throw her head back and howl at the sky and often at Troy the golden retriever across the street. During Covid she would head outside with us and like clockwork as soon as she heard the 7 p.m. show of gratitude clamouring of pots and pans (for frontline workers), she would put her head back and howl with everyone.

She had a habit of hearing or smelling struggling animals, spotting bats, mice, rats, crows and once a raven chick. She would find them on walks and hikes and bring them for us to nurse back to health. We had to draw the line when she found a skunk. Lord, what a day that was. Never a dull moment with Juno.

Juno crossed the rainbow bridge mid-October of this year and while we miss her sharp-as-a-whip personality and her big, huge lapdog-ness, there is comfort knowing her battle with debilitating arthritis is no more.

We put the Christmas tree up this year, and Juno’s red mat still has a place under the tree for years to come.

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