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An Angel Goes Home

August 24th, 2007, 02:38 PM
I thought this would be appropriate here as this person was such a Guardian Angel to all animals, but especially dogs! Martina Delp was the founder, owner and operator of Long Haul Kennel in Salcha, Alaska. Martina would take in Husky and Husky mixes from the shelter, train them as sled dogs, and if the right person came along, rehome them. She had no problem keeping any dog that never found a home regardless of how good it was as a sled dog. Martina had a dream to run her little underdog team (often the dogs were from sledding kennels who couldnt work up to par so the mushers would just dump them or set them free) in the Yukon Quest and perhaps even one day, the Iditarod. She didnt care about winning with her team, she just wanted to show that the "cast aways" could still do it.

Martina and I used to go back and forth with e-mails a lot sharing tips and tricks for sledding and general Husky care and training. For a while, we had been planning on me moving in with her in her tiny 16'X16' 2 story cabin but I couldnt go before finishing school and such so our plans had to be placed aside for a while. In the mean time she recruited help from the local Air Force station where she worked part time. She was an awesome woman who cared deeply and passionately for all animals and would always be willing to help those in need.

I fondly remember her sending multiple e-mails to me during moose migration season that the mose had torn down her fence again and the dogs were going nuts because there were a couple wandering around the dog yard!!! There wasnt much she could do to keep them away other than fix things and try to do some rearranging for the next one that came through.

I truly regret never having the opportunity to meet Martina in person. She is a true inspiration to me, not just in the dog world. Martina had a way of coming up with ideas that sounded completely nuts and impossible, but regardless of obstacles she would always pull thrugh and make her dreams happen! There was nothing this woman couldnt do no matter how short her resources. She could take any scrap pile and find something useful for every part in it!

Martina didnt care about monetary value. She didnt care about having the comforts of royalty. All she cared about was that her animals were happy and healthy and that she had a little food in her belly, a roof over her head, and a good pair of carharts to be able to work in the yard even during the colder days in Alaska. She made things work by finding ways of trading services rather than always paying (for example getting chainlink panels to build kennel runs for the price of plowing the company's parking lot every day). Martina never even had plumbing in her little cabin! She always told me she planned on getting some put in the following summer (she said this every year) but never did because she always ended up buying something for the dogs instead...

Sadly, on May 18, 2007 Martina was taken from us by accidental electrocution in her cabin. I havent had any contact with Martina in about 6 months in it was a complete shock when a friend gave me the link to an article on her death. I only found out today. She will be missed dearly by all who knew her. Rest in peace Martina, until we meet again! Keep the Huskies in heaven running as you did those here on earth.

Here is the article on Martina's passing on Sled Dog Central:

To learn more about this amazing person, here is an interview Martina did, ironically 1 year before her passing. I remember her telling me how surprised and honoured she was to have this article done on her as she never really considered herself any more special than anyone else so couldnt figure out why Sled Dog Central would want an interview with her.

August 24th, 2007, 04:20 PM
How sad,this young woman must have been an:angel: on earth,but maybe she was needed at the Rainbow Bridge,I'd like to think so..:cry:

August 25th, 2007, 12:37 PM
Oh that is terrible. Martina sounds as if she was just about perfect. So sorry to hear of her passing.

August 25th, 2007, 03:50 PM
Why do bad things happen to :angel: , I am so sorry :sad: