A Tribute to Denali

You know, it has been a huge honor and responsibility to have another being devote her entire life to our family.

This weekend we had a chance to reflect on the life of Denali.

  She was a great woods-companion for Daniel.

She worked-out with Shelby.

She kept Andy company.


She was tireless retriever.

And she was my faithful girl.

She was so devoted to figuring out what we wanted her to do, and then doing it.  

This morning, she was especially uncomfortable–but when I asked her to follow me into the vet’s office, of course she did her best to comply.  I whispered into her ear—I thanked her for watching out for us, for being such good company, for her absolute loyalty.

I told her we loved her, and that she was a good dog, the best dog.  And then I said goodbye. She took a chunk of each of our hearts with her, that’s for sure.

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33 Responses

  1. Don Brownlee says:

    Sue, so sorry to hear this. She was indeed a wonderful dog, and Round Lake will not be the same without her. We all were privileged.

    We’ve been meaning to get in touch — we’re healed, rested and ready to come back! Will be making plans soon

    Joan and Don Brownlee

  2. Eric, Diane and Matt Gilbert says:

    We are so sorry to hear about Danali, we’ll miss her!

  3. Nana says:

    My sympathies to all of you! Denali will be missed!

  4. baltimoretim says:

    So sorry about your loss.

  5. Jerry says:

    My heart is broken into too many pieces at the news of Denali’s passing. I will miss seeing her as I pull up to Tuscarora. You tribute is a beautiful one. Thank you, Denali for being such a great companion and care taker of all of us who love the north woods.

  6. Phil Frost says:

    So sorry to hear this Sue. She was the quiet, watchful lady of Tuscarora. This family of dog lovers will shed a tear.

  7. Judi & Peter Barsness says:

    So hard to lose our Dog Family:) She was a wonderful sweet dog and so was your tribute to her. Hugs to all from us:)

  8. Julie L. says:

    Sue, Andy, Shelby and Daniel–as fellow dog owners we understand all too well how much of a bond we have with our canine companions. They are there with us through all the important milestones of our lives and even the mundane parts. Hugs to you all and may your memories of Denali comfort you as you mourn his loss.

  9. Kari Kennedy says:

    I’m so sad to hear Denali is gone. We will miss her next time we are there. Frequently the first to greet us as we arrived….not a single visit of ours is without pictures of her…playing with the kids on the beach or in the snow. What a wonderful life she shared with you and all of us lucky enough to visit.

    • Andy Ahrendt says:

      Thanks Kari – we appreciate your memories. So many pictures of her with the families who visited Tuscarora – we are blessed

  10. Sally Nankivell says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this. Denali was the best. What a lovely photographic tribute. Such a life! You were very fortunate to have each other.

  11. Cassandra says:

    Heart Breaking. Denali was such a huge part of my Tuscarora life. She was even allowed into the OG from time to time. She as sweet, rambunctious and tireless. We love you and will miss her greatly.

    • Andy Ahrendt says:

      Thanks Cass – you are very kind. She will always be there – at Tuscarora. Waiting for the squirrel to come down the tree, greeting guests at their car as they drove up and making the rounds of camp at night to check-in. She was sensitive and knew who was sad and needed a friend.

  12. Jayme says:

    So sorry for your loss, we send our love, Jayme, bob and cuddy

  13. Sheryl says:

    Sue, Andy, Shelby and Dan,
    I’m so sorry to hear about Denali. She was such a good girl and i’ll miss her.

    • Sue Ahrendt says:

      She always liked your house…and your toys Sheryl. Thanks for taking care of her!

  14. David Boccignone says:

    Dear Ahrendt Family,
    We are so sorry for your loss. Denali checking in at the door to the cabin each day of our stay is a special memory. Such a wonderful companion!
    The Boccignone Family

  15. Sue Ahrendt says:

    Thanks for all of the kind words—while Denali belonged to our family during the off season, she definitely belonged to the Tuscarora family during the summer….she made the rounds, she had her favorites, she showed up when the bacon was cooking. Thanks for all your comments, and thanks for throwing the ball…again and again and again. xo Sue

  16. Andy Ahrendt says:

    Thank you Tuscarora friends for sharing your kind thoughts of our (your) dear Denali. We will deeply miss her and this will take some time. She came to us the year we moved to Tuscarora and she kept me company through many things – trips to Tuscarora winter lake trout fishing, throughout camp as my companion during chores and rounds – always ready to lighten my heart with a ball or a stick dropped at my feet for a brief break and a reminder of where we are so fortunate to live. She stood with us through fires, raising kids and hosting guests. She was the Tuscarora Ambassador and she took her job seriously. Thank you.

  17. Greg Mickelson says:

    The Mickelsons are so sad to hear that Denali is gone. She shared a special place in the hearts of our family and provided some very fond memories of summers past. It is never easy to lose a member of the family and our thoughts and prayers go out to all of you.

    • Sue Ahrendt says:

      Somewhere I posted a photo of her with your cute (and really little ) boys. Did you see that Greg? Thanks for being so good to her.

  18. Jane & sheldon says:

    So sorry to hear the news of denali! Tears have been shed here in Spain. Denali kissed mom good by after our Sunday walk. Hugs to you all! Love you!

  19. Jim says:

    Sorry to hear about Denali, a wonderful companion to share those special years with your family.

  20. Doug Green says:

    Very sorry to read about Denali. Having gone through that ourselves with our own faithful companion, I know how wrenching it is. Thoughts are with you all.

    Doug Green