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The world will miss the bright star that she was. The dog world has lost a most wonderful advocate.

 

Hilary will live on in so many of our hearts and dreams.

 

Every time I think or dream of Alaska or the Iditarod I will think of AKDogDoc/Hilary. And I will toast a lady that lived life to the fullest every time I drink homemade wine.

 

Sending prayers to her family and friends, she was a person who will truly be missed.

 

A very sad day indeed.

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Oh, how shocking! What a huge loss for Hilary's family and friends. I will always remember her posts and stories here fondly. My sympathies and prayers for you, Tranquilis, and your family.

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I was stunned when I heard of this on my way to the trial this morning...Hil and I were friends and she was my sounding board. The world lost a fine person and Tess was waiting at Heaven Gate for her.

 

I am dedicating my runs to her this weekend.

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What shocking news. I never knew her 'real' name. To me, she was always AK Dog Doc. When she posted, I always made sure to read them..not just for her sensible way of looking at the world, but because she had such a way of writing.

My deepest sympathies to Tranquilis and family. The world has truly lost a gem.

 

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Tranquilis, thank you so much for taking the time to write more about Hilary. I knew her only as AK Dog Doc, and loved her writing, her passions, and all else I knew of her.

 

Thank you for suggesting the donations in her name to dog/horse rescues. I'll be doing that tomorrow.

 

Ruth aka urge to herd

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Words fail.

 

I have her blog bookmarked and though she hadn't updated in 18 months or so, I would still check periodically. I loved her writing.

 

I was a vet tech for many years, and would have had a blast working with her. Anything she wrote was informative AND entertaining, and that is a very hard combination to achieve. The world is a poorer place without her.

 

Damn.

 

Totally sucks.

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I am very saddened by this news. Her posts were a joy to read.

She brought the Iditarod to life for me with her commentary.

She will be greatly missed. My condolences to her friends and family.

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This is such sad and shocking news. :( Tranquilis, your family will be in my prayers. I am so very, very sorry for your loss.

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Like everyone I too am shocked and saddened to learn of Hilary's untimely passing. Her posts touched so many, myself included, with an honesty and clarity often lacking in e-communication. I felt as if I knew her, and wish I could have met her in person.

 

Sincere condolences to her family and friends; we will all miss her.

 

Amy

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Hilary drew a lot of satisfaction from the fact that through her work she made the world better in a tangible way -- that at the end of her workday the animals she treated were better off than if she hadn't been there. She also loved the beauty of Alaska and the unique experiences it offered. This is something she wrote to me back in 2005. I don't know if it found its way into her blog or not, but I don't think she'd mind if I posted it here, so newer Boards members have a chance to appreciate how she could see her world, how she could write, and the life she led.

 

 

So, this was kind of cool.... Dave invited me to go flying tonight. We went up to Knik Glacier. At the foot of the upper glacier there's a lake called Lake George, which is silty and cold, water the color of flint. Below that is the rest of the glacier, which is grey and white and blue, from pale ice blue to deepest turquiose, corrugated and fissured and indescribably ancient.
You fly up the glacier from the bottom, first that old rumpled ice mass, then the lake, scattered with ice floes from white to Easter egg blue. The upper end of the lake is edged in an ice wall, which has calved all the ice floes into the lake. Dave circles it around once, then twice, looking for hazards in the water (icebergs, even small ones, being what they are, you want to keep them away from the floats.) On the third pass he sets it down ever so gently, ready to yank it back up at the first scrape against the floats. But he's chosen his path well, and his bird settles in like a swan nestling down into the breast of the water.
He turns it around, cruising the flinty surface, looking for just the right ice cube. The one you want is one that rides low in the water, clear and transluscent, not the ornate, opaque ice castles of the bigger bergs, riding higher in the water. The one you want is barely visible, between its low profile and its transparency. So Dave picks his target, cuts the engine, and is out on the float while our momentum is still carrying us on a rapid drift toward it. He pulls the oar out of the float rigging and corrals the ice delicately against the float, using it as anchor and ballast so that the plane does a slow, graceful pirouette around the pivot point of oar and ice and float. Dave happens to have chosen a sizey hunk of ice that has an ice bridge arching over the top, so he can pass a line through the arch and tie it off to the plane while we drift. Out come the cooler and the claw hammer, and he knocks off a cooler full of hundred-thousand-year-old ice to take back for cocktails. Because of the age and the compression over millenia, the ice is clear as glass and much harder and denser than usual ice, he tells me.
Dave takes it back off of Lake George, flying low on the deck, skirting the rock wall that borders the south side of the glacier. We see a couple of mountain goats or maybe Dall sheep on the cliff, white and nimble, and overfly a pair of swans on the wing, skimming low over the braided streams flowing out of the bottom of the glacier. Gorgeous evening, the clouds from earlier storms massing in the west and dropping the ceiling down behind us. He takes it back and sets it down on Seymour, where we go inside and break the ice down to smaller chunks. It is denser than usual ice, hard to bite through; your enamel creaks against it a bit before it gives. It tastes the way rain smells.
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What sad news. I met her at a Whistle for the Cure, I think. She was a neat woman. And had studied under my cousin's daughter in California.

 

What was Hilary's last name? I will add her to our prayers at church tomorrow, anyhow. But I'd like to let my cousin's daughter know.

 

She was way too young to go. But we do know that she'll be swarmed with greeters at the Rainbow Bridge.

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Thank you, Eileen - You've absolutely nailed her writing style and voice comprehensively with that quote. She was a wordsmith par excellence. A couple times, she complimented my own writing - It was a huge honor, and made me smile down to my toes.

 

 

Update on causes and cases:
This will be a bit blunt, so if you don't want details, stop with this: "She died suddenly and likely without more than momentary pain."
Information is filtering out in fragments and rather slowly, but we've learned some new details.
It looks like Hilary died *very* suddenly/quickly. She still had her soap and towels in her hands when they found her, which suggests it was pretty much instantaneous. It also means it's less likely to have been respiratory collapse - though her pulmonary system was severely compromised by a very long-term infection. More likely, given this information, that it was a stroke, aneurysm, or massive cardiac event, and while her being sick was probably a factor, it may not have have been the immediate cause. There will not be an autopsy,* so we won't know for sure, but we can be pretty certain it was immediate.
This removes several horrifying scenarios from our minds, and is oddly comforting.
The woman who found her deserves sainthood. Not knowing how long Hilary had been down, she tried full resuscitation efforts - she did everything right. The State Troopers are impressed, and they don't impress easily.
*Clearly natural causes, no suspicion of foul play, no real need to get invasive.
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Eileen what a beautiful passage! I too was always sure to read her posts as they came across and loved her pragmatic views, but that is something else entirely. Just gorgeous.

 

Tranq, wishing you and your entire family peace and comfort in this time. I'm so very deeply sorry for your loss.

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Eileen, thank you for posting that lovely passage. Hilary had such an amazing way with words - it is magical.

 

The night that I read about her sudden death, I was outside about midnight. It was cold, clear and calm. To the north, I saw the Northern Lights...They are often quite visible during the winter, but no so much at this time of year. I'm taking as a sign that Hilary was being greeted by all the animals that she helped and loved during her lifetime on earth and that the heavens were greeting her as well.

 

there are no words that can take away the pain and loss...just know that you and your family and all her friends are in my thoughts.

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For those in the Wasilla area, Susan Dent is organizing Hilary's memorial for her friends and colleagues.

 

From Susan:
As many of you already know our dear friend, Hilary Petit passed away last week. Her family will be having a memorial service for her back East. My daughter Sarah Spike Fisk, is planning a memorial service for her here. It is scheduled for Friday, May 31, 7 pm in the basement of the Wasilla Vet Clinic on the Parks Highway. Her family requests that in lieu of flowers to make donations to www.wildhorsefreedomfederation.org
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AK Dog Doc's terrific posts were some of the best things that ever happened to this forum, and I'm heartsick to learn of her death. She was so generous with her knowledge, so kind and intelligent and sensible, and she wrote so well. That passage Eileen quoted was spellbinding. My deepest condolences to her loved ones. Tranquilis, you and your family are in my thoughts.

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