Shaytaan’s Psycho KIller: Psycho 01 June 2009 – 02 May 2020.
Last night around 19:15 I was sat in the lounge at home waiting for Sheila to come back with our lockdown take away dinner from the pub. Bored with Saturday night television I deigned to pick up my iPad and open FaceBook and there at the top of the feed was Rob’s post announcing the sad passing of Psycho. I fell into an uncontrollable fit of tears. They were still flowing when Sheila returned 15 minutes later. Psycho was an exceptional dog from an exceptional litter, part of an exceptional kennel.
I recently accepted one of those Facebook challenges from my brother, of all people, to post 10 photographs in ten days. Inevitably since it came from Rob this one was ten photos about being a dog owner and your relationship with dogs. My day 6 photo was of Rob coming into Dawson in February 2016 somewhat battered from a night stuck in snow drifts on American Summit. Ironically on that occasion he was without Psycho who had picked up an injury early in the race and was dropped at Mile 101. For those stories dig back into my blog. However I made the point on that post that my three Yukon Quests (so far) has taught me an enormous amount about dogs and our relationships with them. I still have an awful lot more to learn.
The impact Psycho’s passing had has made me think about the strange relationship we have with dogs and how close you can feel to a kennel of nearly sixty dogs that spend their lives four and a half thousand miles away from us and with whom I have spent an accumulated twelve weeks of time over the last four years. Despite the time and distance the bond is incredibly close. Some of that is of course the linked bond between my brother and sister in law and myself and Rob’s extremely intimate relationship with his friends and partners that he has travelled many thousands of miles with.
Many reading this will know Rob struggled with the idea of starting a 1000 mile race in 2020 without “The Crazies” in the team. Psycho and his brothers and sisters had been central to Rob and Shaytaan Siberian’s incredible achievements over the last ten years. The only purebred Siberian team to complete the Yukon Quest and Iditarod double in the same season, achieving that feat twice in 2015 and 2016 along with many, many other thousand mile finishes. Incredible, incredible dogs.
Back to Psycho. My last physical memory of him was in the early hours of the morning of 14th February in the dog yard in Dawson City towards the end of the mandatory 36 hour rest in the middle of the 2018 Yukon Quest. I was on team walking duty giving each of the dogs a bit of exercise whilst they were resting before setting out on the second half of the race. Whilst walking Psycho around in particular I was struck by the immense power that walked at the end of the lead. He was majestic athlete. Maybe the only other dog to come close for the emitting that sense of strength was Bering, Psycho’s son.
Psycho is survived by his sons and daughters including Bering but also his remarkable sister, Maddie, and brothers Skits, Looney and Nutter. Nutter in particular often ran alongside Psycho. I remember Nutter being distressed when Psycho was dropped at Mile 101 in 2016. I guess he will be missing his brother but I doubt that grief can compare to what Rob and Louise must be feeling now. We feel it with you. That bizarre relationship we have with dogs despite being so physically distant.
Psycho was of course named after David Byrne’s classic Talking Heads track “Psycho Killer”.
Hey Psycho “Qu’est que c’est”?
Shaytaan’s Psycho Killer: Multi, multi, multi 1000 mile finisher. Some things will somehow never seem the same without you.
Run free big boy.