TYCHO (c. January 2001- April 9, 2016)


Tycho (whose full name, "Sampson's Tycho Brahe of Westover, Mighty Killer of Vermin," was more consonant with his dignity and regal appearance) came to us on June 22, 2001, from Alaskan Malamute Rescue of Ohio. At the time he was about 6 or 7 months old (he still had one remaining puppy tooth), was full of energy and possessed of an attention span of about 3 seconds. He was our first Siberian Husky; we weren't quite prepared for a dog that bounced off the walls and shed about a pound and a half of hair every day, but we learned to deal with them all, and he calmed down a lot in the ensuing years. By the way, don't ever let anyone tell you dogs can't talk: until the end of his life Tycho had an amazing repertoire of sounds, each of which had a specific meaning. He was by far the most vocal dog we've ever had, and got us pretty well trained to know what he was "talking" about. He didn't bark much, but he had an amazing repertoire of yodels, yips, and gargling noises.

We got him as a tribute to the memory of our late beloved Tucker, who was part Husky. If you've been reading these doggie bio sketches you'll also see that he looked a good deal like my father's dog Dante, though I didn't realize it when we got him. I now realize that in many ways taking him in was a form of atonement for Dante's death at my parents' hands. The picture above was taken not long after he arrived.

Since the 22nd of June is the Summer solstice, we named him after the 16th-Century Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, who is known today mainly as having been the teacher of the great Johannes Kepler. Tycho Brahe made the best of the pre-telescope measurements of the heavenly bodies, and though he himself always believed that the Earth was the center of the Universe, Kepler later used Tycho Brahe's data to prove that it wasn't, and that Galileo was right about the heliocentric nature of the Cosmos.

Our Tycho wasn't interested in the stars at all, but rather in subterranean things, specifically moles and any other animal that lives in holes. He was an ace mole-catcher. Within a month of his arrival he'd scored several times, in the process digging up a fair percentage of our back yard. Over the years he greatly improved his technique. We stopped counting when he had at least 40 confirmed kills, including several small birds, three fully-grown woodchucks, and several rabbits. One of his favorite meals was woodchuck, preferably still warm and wiggling. He would eat the entire thing: furs, bones, guts, and all.

He was also incredibly fond of apples. He and Tessa used to eat windfall apples by the bushel, and I've seen him leap as much as 4 feet in the air to snatch one off a low-hanging branch. In his youth he could catch mourning doves by stalking them and knocking them out of the air when they took off. I'm not entirely sure how dumb a bird has to be to let a five-foot long white dog sneak up to him but I've seen it with my own eyes. He never tangled directly with a possum or a skunk though once Tehya got sprayed and the others, including Tycho, got thoroughly imbued with the stench. The small critters in our yard eventually put a price on his head. Any cat foolish enough to cross the fence wouldn't have lasted 30 seconds.

When he wasn't engaged in what the rescue organization euphemistically described as "...primitive canine behaviors..." he was into random digging and the removal of flowers from Susan's garden, perhaps as a way to vary his diet. He got along well with Meg and Tessa. As he matured we thought that he'd claim the position of Senior Dog, but Princess Tessa managed to prevent a coup d'etat chien, by the astute political maneuver of assigning him the Assistant Dog position despite his youth. After the deaths of Meg and Tessa, and the arrival of Lucy and Tehya, he was relegated to the Omega slot: Lucy is such a dominant personality that she overshadowed him completely, and bullied him unmercifully.

He died on April 9th, 2016; he was at least 15 years old. For some time he'd been wobbly on his feet, weak in the hind end, drifting into senility, and occasionally incontinent. He always was a bit of a couch potato and never was very playful, but eventually he slept 23 hours a day. His end came when he could no longer stand up, had been totally silent for months, and could no longer eat or drink. Cedar Run Vet Services came to our home and his passing out of this world was as quiet and peaceful as could be wished.

Although he was very difficult to handle at times, I already miss him terribly and will grieve for him all my life. In the picture below he is shown with Tehya in April, 2011. The image above of him reclining on the couch was taken in 2003.


TYCHO'S HAIKU

I am the White Death.
Rabbits and groundhogs beware.
My fangs are fatal.


| Gordo | Penny| Dante | Toby | Tucker | Meg | Tessa | Tycho | Lucy | Tehya|

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