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The Rain Mountain Memorial Garden

This will always be a work in progress. There will always be new pups coming into the world and older dogs leaving it for the Rainbow Bridge.*  It's very sad to say goodbye but after so many years in Chinooks, I've done it a few times. The Memorial Garden originally started when a puppy died at birth and I wanted a place to bury it that was outside the fenced areas so the dogs couldn't get to it to dig it up yet close enough to the house that I could still see it and that no coyotes would be tempted to dig at it. So just outside the gate along the driveway was the perfect spot. I had a few plants to move there so it began to grow slowly. It was a good place to finally scatter the ashes of Holly (Ch. Mystic Sahalee Rain CGC HCT the foundation dam of Rain Mountain even though she wasn't my first brood bitch) and Thunder (UWP Grand Ch. Rain Mountain Tonasket Thunder CGC HCT), Holly's son and Taga's sire. When they died I knew I was going to be moving so I didn't scatter their ashes in the yard of the Kirkland house like I had with my Sarah Susan.

Here's the story of the Rainbow Bridge.  The Author is unknown.

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

The biggest impetus for getting it going though was the winter of 2014-2015 when first Kodi, whom I co-owned with my friend Scott Hussey and his wife Christie, and a few months later his littermate Taaku, whom I co-owned with my good friend Michael Choy, both died. I had never realized how sad I was going to be when these two died even though they both lived with other families. Kodi had been with Scott all his life though I had shown his and occasionally took care of him over a weekend. Taaku lived with me for the first 7 years of her life until Michael "borrowed" her to be a good role model for his new Chinook pup who was being a bit of a weenie. Taaku knew a good thing when she saw it and she decided she liked life with Michael and Chaka so she lived with him from then on, coming back to me when Michael traveled, bringing Chaka along with her. So in honor of Taaku and Kodi, I painted the name of each on a rock and put it in the garden along with the little pup who had died at birth and the ashes of Taaku's grand dam Holly and former mate Thunder. Once I had the first two rocks done, it only seemed right that I keep going. After all, Kodi and Taaku's mom Jenna needed a rock, so did Holly and Thunder, and Thunder's sister Misha, Next thing you know I had a list of about fifteen dog names and was adding new ones everyday. I spent the whole spring and early summer painting rocks.

Our weather turned hot and dry quite quickly this year (2015) and I was soon forced to set things aside until the weather gets a bit cooler this fall. But I was able to get over a dozen done before the record-breaking string of days over 90 degrees began. (If you don't believe in global warning, just move to the Northwest where we've been breaking all sorts of hear records every year. This summer the record has been most days over 90 degrees, which we shattered by mid July. Now we're into "hottest and dryest ever in history""and it's just early August as of this writing.)

So here are a few shots of the Rain Mountain Memorial Garden as of summer of 2015.  As soon as the weather cools, I have more shrubs to transplant to the area and I'd like to make it a bit larger, though not too much. I'll be adding more evergreens and herbs since they seem to do well in the rocky soil. (The earth is rich with nutrients between the rocks but I have to dig every hold with a pick ax.)

As you walk downhill, away from our gate. From right to left you will first encounter a rock
for Bannack, then Thunder. On the other side of the mint plant is one for Ladybug (yes, it's
red with black spots), Near Ladybug is a rock for her son Moose and one for the litter she
lost to a virus when they were just 2 weeks old. Beyond them are many others. Plans are to
expand the garden to the right, where you see the old Radio Flyer wagon; I'll reclaim about six
more feet of space from the pasture grass growing there now.

Approaching as you climb up the hill towards the gate, first you encounter Holly's rock and that
of her daughter Misha (Rain Mountain Stillaguamish). Back under the fence are those of my very
first Chinook, Northdown Skykomish, my first Chinook stud, Hurricane Cheechako, and Rose's
Vixon, the second Chinook brood bitch I had. Pam Chambers of Springcreek Chinooks donated the
gazing ball and the cherub that lights up at night.  Hmmm, I think I need to do some weeding.

Trying to remember all Bannack's titles was not
easy. It took a few phone calls to Corinne to
make sure I had them all right.

Thunder's rock is a nice flat one good for sitting.
Though most people know him as "Thunder Wonder"
around the house he answered to "Goober."

Ladybug Jones, aka, WoodsRunner Lady Rain and her son Moose (Rain Mountain Yakama Pride) sired by
Thunder or the Rocky Mountain Litter, sired by Bandit. After she lost the Rocky Mountain Litter, Lady
retired and went to live with Susan Shemeta and Ron Schoener, close friends of mine who live near me
here in Stanwood.

Jenna in front of her two pups, Kodi and Taaku, whose deaths this past winter were the
instigation for this project. The original stillborn pup is buried under the flat quartz stone.

Northdown Skykomish was the first Chinook I
owned and dam of my first litter back in 1990.
That was over a hundred+ puppies ago.

Hurricane Cheechako was the next Chinook to join
my household and a finer dog will never be known.
He was the ultimate gentleman. Vixon was only with
me briefly.

Living with Holly was an adventure for nearly 14
years, and one I hope to never repeat. Toketie
is the closest I've come to her since.

Misha was just a good family pet and a good mom
dog. She lived a long and happy life.

There are still some notable dogs missing from the garden and I hope to get stones added for them soon.  WoodsRunner Brandy and WoodsRunner Rorik are in process now.  Hurricane Malibu Rain and Frontier Rain Dancer McKenzie were important contributors to Rain Mountain, as were Bear Creek Riki's Echo of Rain (aka, Ginger) and her sire Rain Mountain Steele of Bear Creek (Jenna's littermate). Carie Taylor will be adding rocks for Hurricane Katsuk Rain Song and Moonsong Mukilteo Bluejay and Susan Fletcher will be adding one for Quinnie (Mountain Rain Dancer Quinault, littermate to Misha). So stay tuned for updates as the garden is  expanded and updated.

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Copyright Ginger Corley, Rain Mountain Chinooks, 1988 to present. No material may be reproduced without permission, though permission is usually granted. Logo by Susan Fletcher, Frontier Chinooks, used here with permission and much appreciation of her great talent.