{Tsuga Siberians}
September 28th, 2008 - "Kelim's Romeo of Tsuga"

Kelim's Romeo of Tsuga
(July 2, 2002 - September 23, 2008)

Team Tsuga lost part of its soul this week with the passing of our precious Romeo. He died quietly in our arms, laying in green grass, under a beautiful fall sky. Our hearts are broken and the tears won't seem to stop.

Romeo was bred by Kim and Kelly Berg. They used Karen Ramstead's Super Grover with Holly, who they had from us (Jim, Squiggle, and Kobuk's sister) to produce a very good litter of 5 pups. Romeo came home to us as around a 10 week old, as I recall, adding to the ten dogs we had at the time.

By the following winter, at a year and a half old, he started racing. From 2004 until the 2008 Yukon Quest, Romeo finished every race he ever started. For all of 16 straight events covering over 2500 miles of race trails in New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Alaska he was a key part of Team Tsuga, including four straight Can-Am 250's, the Taiga 300, and the GinGin 200. During last years Yukon Quest, which proved to be his last race, he injured his shoulder in the rough jumble ice between Circle and Eagle. Despite a shoulder muscle that was giving him discomfort, he continued to lean into his harness and pull hard. When I tried to put him in the sled bag to rest him, he would have nothing to do with it and demanded in no uncertain terms to be put back in the team. He still had the desire to go when we got to Eagle but was dropped there for the only time in his life. He recovered quickly and was training again the Monday after Quest finished.

Attitude defined Romeo. We called him our little, big man. Napolean. Tough Guy. He was a line-backer of a dog, Short, stout, driven, rugged. As loyal as the trail is long. His heart was huge and he gave us al of it to the end. He left us far too soon. This year's racing season will be dedicated to him and no matter what the results, we'll work
as hard as we can, doing our very best, just like Romeo always did.

Rest in peace, our dear friend.
Quest start next to uncle Jim.
Resting at Rocky Brook 2005 Can-Am 250
Resting on the trial during the Taiga 300
Yukon Romeo
Romeo at home


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