TONYA OF SEPPALA, who died on 2 August 2011 aged 15 years 9 months, reigned as undisputed Queen at Seppala Kennels. Tonya was a once-in-a-lifetime lead dog, the best we ever had, as well as "poster girl" for the Seppala Siberian Sleddog breed, her image recognised throughout the Worldwide Web.
Born 1 November 1995, Tonya was sired by Xpace of Seppalta (Uelen's Ebony of Sepp-Alta x Dynamikos Ruby) out of River View's Sprite (Peter of Sepp-Alta x Powder of Markovo). She was a pure-strain Markovo-Seppala, a back-to-the-boater with Markovo Second Foundation dogs showing abundantly as early as the fourth generation of her pedigree. The most powerful influence in her pedigree is the Baron/Mokka mating, but her unique colouring probably comes from the Minto/Zeita mating.
Tonya was deeply loved by both of us. She became quite a crusty old gal in her old age. In her senior years here in Rossburn, every evening she would demand to be boosted up onto the bed, where she would burrow under the covers beside Susan, to emerge ten minutes later panting heavily from the heat in summer; in winter she might remain there for hours. She still regarded the green Dodge Ram Turbo Diesel 4WD truck as her personal property, and got quite angry with Jeffrey if he took it anywhere without her. A very vocal gal, she would carry on long conversations at the slightest encouragement. I often used to say that when Tonya passed, it might turn out to be the end of the SSSD Project -- but Tonya had the last laugh, triumphantly outliving the Project itself. Her death has left a huge void in our home life; life just isn't the same without Tonner ruling the roost. Ave atque vale, Noble Lady.
(Below is Tonya's special Scarlatti Sonata (K27 in B-minor) played by Marcos Diaz in classical guitar transcription. Tonya led a dog team with the exact smoothness, onwardness and drive that this work embodies. Whenever I hear this sonata, I think of Tonya, running her trail.) Also Guillermo Portabales' "Guantanamera" which inspired Tonya's own little song.