Rob’s Facebook Post Before the 2013 Yukon Quest

Rob’s post from a year ago. Still makes me cry.

Rob Cooke
Friday, 1 February 2013 at 21:37
I was going to write a really long post this evening as my final contribution to facebook for a while but decided against it, well that’s the plan. I do just want to thank everyone for all the good wishes for the race whether on this page, our race page, through private messages or through Louise. Neither of us can quite believe that we are about to live our dream but at approximately 11.06 PST that is exactly what we’ll be doing as our wonderful dogs haul my sorry arse out of the start chute in Whitehorse and off into the unknown and a 1000 mile trip of a lifetime. 

I do have to express my deep gratitude and love for Louise for supporting this dream for the last 9 long and difficult years; we really have turned our lives upside down in search of what must appear to many as a ridiculous indulgence. We have gone from having an extremely comfortable lifestyle in the UK, with a nice house and a career with good prospects to living off grid on the edge of the bush in Canada’s Yukon Territories, scraping by to feed ourselves and having given up virtually every luxury imaginable, including regular showers . We have also selfishly abandoned our families on the other side of the world and that has been particularly hard for both of us; knowing that we can only get to see our loved ones every three or four years. 

I have been asked many times through friends, acquaintances and the media how we could possibly have come to this point and we always talk about how we got our first Siberian Husky and how it led us via a tortuous route to the Yukon Quest however that is not really the full story. In 2000 Bet Hawthorn and Mark Theaker sold us a puppy, Huskidoo Lesmok Mhofyr, a beautiful example of the Siberian Husky breed who not only became a UK and Canadian show champion but was also the 2005 Siberian Husky Club of Great Britain Dual Champion, thus recognising his outstanding work ethic. Fya turned out not only to be our ‘once in a lifetime’ dog but also revealed to us what Siberian Huskies can be, hard-working, determined and driven individuals; Fya really sparked in us the passion for working dogs that has brought us to the Toughest Sleddog Race on Earth; I should also add, without any shame, regret or envy, that Fya was Louise’s best friend. About four weeks after I left New Brunswick this winter and bound for Whitehorse Fya, in much the same way as he had lived his life, and whilst far too young, quietly and without ceremony passed away whilst lying in Louise’s arms. Fya was a very special boy and I think we both wish he was here to send off the 14 dogs on the journey that he did so much to inspire. That is not unfortunately to be. We will however carry Fya in our thoughts and our hearts as we face what the unpredictable and unforgiving northern winter has to throw at us for the next two weeks: in doing so we dedicate our race to Fya.

Good luck and a safe trip to everyone setting out tomorrow on either the 300 or the 1000 mile race; take very good care and again thanks to everyone from around the world who has offered us so much unbelievable support.