8 Years of Norah: A Photo Essay

A photo essay in honor of Norah's, my Siberian Husky, 9th birthday.

May 16, 2023

8 Years of Norah: A Photo Essay

On May 14, 2015, I brought home Norah, a wild Siberian Husky who failed out of being a service dog. This story would be indicative of who Norah is: The craziest, spunkiest, smartest, most selfish dog I know. 

My friend and professor at the time, Julie Paegle, called and asked if I was interested in a dog. The rescue she and her family had adopted a few of their dogs from had called to ask if they wanted another husky. Unfortunately for Julie, her and her family were already at max dog capacity. After not nearly enough thought, I decided to I’d adopt Norah and drove all the way out to San Diego to pick her up. 

Even though having Norah has been quite challenging over the years, including being the cause of breaking my leg while hiking five years ago, I am so thankful I’ve had Norah in my life. 

Norah in the back seat the day I brought her home.

A black and white husky with her tongue hanging out on a pink blanket.

Norah, with her eyes closed, getting settled in for the night.

Black and white husky falling asleep while sitting up.

Thanks to Norah, I made some great mountain friends when we lived in Crestline, California. This is Norah and her best mountain friend, Bear, in the pools of the Heart Rock Waterfall Hike. My friend Sina finally convinced me to let Norah off leash, and they would go wild.

A black and white husky standing in a pool of water next to a brown and white German Shepherd mix in the forest.

Norah and Chaka, Julie’s dog, after a hard day’s play. Julie and her husband, Steve, would invite us over to get Norah some husky time. Her and Chaka were natural pack leaders.

A black and white husky and a grey and white husky laying on the wood floor with their tongues out looking at the camera.

Norah looking fiercely at the camera while getting comfy on clean blankets she wasn’t supposed to lay on, which has been my phone’s lock screen photo for seven years.

A black and white husky laying on a zebra and brown blanket on the arm rest of a mint green couch.

Norah looking majestic in a shallow riverbed. I can’t remember where this picture was taken, but she should've been a model.

A wet black and white husky staring intently at the camera while standing in a riverbed.

In April 2017, Norah and I moved from the mountains to Loma Linda, California. It was a tough transition for the both of us. We had to leave behind some great friends, but Norah and I made it through. Here Norah is somehow wrapped up in my kitchen rug. One moment she's all beautiful and majestic, and the next moment she's acting weird.

A black and white husky under a quilted rug next to a pile of dishelved papers in the living room.

Norah in my favorite sleeping position of hers where she wraps up tight, tight into a ball.

A black and white husky curled up into a tight a ball next to green chevron printed pillows on a mint green couch.

Norah, freshly groomed, surrounded by soon-to-be destroyed stuffed animals.

A black and white husky surrounded by stuffed animals with some of the stuffing ripped out.

This is Norah with her guilty face. I don’t know what she did, but she was definitely caught red-handed.

A black and white husky in a corner with a guilty look on her face.

Norah curiously smelling the tumbleweeds during a hike in Hulda Crux Park. We’d do this hike two to three times a week until one day Norah went up to a rattlesnake. In my panic, I grabbed her leash to pull her away and my leg got stuck in the soft sand. When I pulled her, I fell and broke my leg. This inevitably led to us moving back to the Coachella Valley. Norah went with my mom for a about four months, and I moved in with my partner, Diego, while healing.

A black and white husky smelling green and brown tumbleweeds in the glow of the late afternoon sun.

While my mom was watching Norah, she and my mom’s three dogs escaped one night. I was a mess. My leg was broken, my dog had escaped, and we didn’t know where she went. With all the grace of Facebook, someone spotted Norah and my mom’s dogs a few miles away from her house. This is her with her guilty face when we picked them up.

A black and white husky in the front seat of the car with a guilty look on her face and her tongue out.

In recent years, we added another husky to our now two-dog team, Red. Red’s Norah’s best friend. 

A black and white husky and a red and white husky laying outside on their own separate pillows.

A black and white husky and a red and white husky squeezing together on one pillow while they play.

They crack me up with their non-stop wrestling throughout the day. Red’s about three years younger than Norah, but you wouldn’t know it. Norah, at nine years old, is as spunky as ever. Chasing Red down and tackling him to the ground. 

Finally, Norah and I on her birthday. Not pictured here is Red, who was making it impossible for Norah and I to take a selfie because she was trying to escape to begin their evening wrestling.

A black and white husky and a woman smiling and posing for a photo.

A black and white husky and a woman smiling, kneeling down, and posing for a photo.

And, this is eight years of Norah. Norah is the hardest, most stubborn dog I’ve ever met, but I don’t know how I would have made it all these years—especially through my 20s—without her help. 

We don't deserve dogs. Their happiness and love for you never fails.