Cheyenne 1993 - 2008

The Best Dog in the West

On June 29, 2008, at the age of 15, Cheyenne decided to shed her ailing body and run free and wild for evermore.

Found in a tiny trailer-trash yard at 5 months old, Cheyenne came to us as a "lost german shepherd/australian shepherd mix".... of which breed she had neither in her!

The best we figured was a pit bull/whippet cross; as one hike in Mammoth we came across her identical twin... with the same wild brindle coat pattern.

Here she is at 7 months old on top of Job's Peak (Lake Tahoe). Her brindle pattern was a perfect 'camo' coat for the Sierra Nevada Mountains she grew up in.

Cheyenne was quite the wild child! For all of you who have hiked or ridden horseback with us as she was flying off-piste can attest... she never did care for staying on trail. After all, nothing fun or interesting could be sniffed on the trail!!

Cheyenne 7 months old, Jobs Peak
Cheyenne & Gabe meet

Here, Cheyenne and Gabe meet for the first time in our backyard. They became the best of friends and trail companions. Even when Chey would be running so far afield that I couldn't hear or see her; I would ask Gabe, "Where is Cheyenne?"... and Gabe would stop, look around and cock his ear in her direction... and when he heard her, he would just relax and continue down the trail, knowing she was coming... even if I had no clue where she was....but I knew Gabe knew, and that was enough for me!

Cheyenne loved water and took every opportunity to belly-flop into streams, lakes, and mud puddles, even though she didn't particularly like to swim. She just loved water on 'da belly!

She taught herself how to fish in a creek above 5 Lakes above Alpine Meadows Ski Area. Doug and she were taking a break from their hike when she spied something moving in the pool of water. She jumped in, the fish scattered and a true addiction was born!

Carson River Hot SpringsFishing became her obsession. She endlessly chased fishies up and down creeks for hours on end, or until we dragged her limp and quivering body from the creek and forced her to quit! When the fish would hide under the banks, she thought they went up on the banks somewhere and she'd jump out of the water and search the grass for them. Quite entertaining!

Speaking of creeks, her first visit to Little Hot Creek in Mammoth was when she was very small, and she had no idea that all water wasn't that nice and warm! She sat in the hot water, up to her chin, while we were all bathing, and we noticed her just as her little head was slipping under the water... she was practically cooked through!

This pic is of the Carson River Hot Springs in 1995; before the big floods that took out this awesome pool & hot shower cascade. Our friend Carole Taylor took the pic of her husband, Steve, Doug, me & Cheyenne soaking in backcountry hot tub bliss!

Meiss Meadows horseback ride with Becky

This picture was taken in 2004 by my riding partner, Becky, after we had ridden our horses 7 miles up to Showers Lake and then took the 8 mile loop around Little Round Top to Schneider's Cow Camp and back. This last leg was long and hot and Chey was really smiling after her cool dip in the wildflower-choked creek. The 22 total miles of this run was a short one in her book. Double or triple that in 'doggie miles'.

As most of you know, Cheyenne had well over 200,000 miles on her. Every horse back ride I did, she did easily 3 times the distance.

She had visited three countries (Canada, US & Mexico), 11 Western States, and the only places she didn't go with Doug and I in the last 15 years were to Hawaii and Connecticut!!


Cheyenne had knee surgery at age two. Forever after, she didn't sit on her haunches like most dogs, but sat completely over on one hip, or like here, on anything conveniently located nearby; her longtime neighborhood friend, Rachel.

Rachel 'n Chey
Lake Mead, NV; off-piste camping

A seasoned camper, she knew when we started loading the camper that a 'road trip' was in the works. She has camped in every corner of the west....

I love this picture of Chey and me at a 'dispersed' camp site along Lake Mead, Nevada. If you look closely, you can see the top of the Tequila bottle by my leg and the look on Cheyenne's face tells it all. (mom's being silly and wants me to sit on her lap like I'm a stupid little lap dog, blah, blah, blah).

Boy, did I love that dog....

This puppy really loved backacking. (I mean, REALLY).

Cheyenne was always, "Queen of the Mountain." (notice the smile). She could camp for days and always be smiling! Wish I could say the same!

Here she is packing out of 4th of July Lake, 2002. My sister, Dawn, and her puppy dog, Jesse James Bond, were terrorized by bears all night cuz I was totally inept with the bear-bagging thing.... but the puppies kept chasing bears to keep us safe.

What wonderful animals the canine species is!


Southern Sierra Backpacking



Here Cheyenne is in 2003 at the "Fourth Recess" in the Southern Sierra on a backpacking trip with Doug and our friend, Tim Calkins and Tim's son, Rex (notice prone body behind her).


Yup.... still smiling....... what a great dog!

Cheyenne & Stella Dean

Cheyenne's Sister, Stella Dean, my Mom's dog, loves to hike, too!

We were all hiking 'off-piste' near Jeff Davis Peak in Hope Valley area, 2007.... the doggies all thirsty... and waiting for Doug to dig a little 'doggie drinking pit' where the snow melt trickled down and disappeared in the granitic soil.

This was probably one of Cheyenne's last really good hikes. :^{

She loved being out there..... you just can't keep a good dog down!

August 2006. Fallen Leaf Lake. Cheyenne had just run from our house to the lake and did triple doggie miles.

The look in her eyes says it all.

"Okay, Mom, just take the picture so I can go home, now, please, okay? Huh? Common.... now!"

Then it was back over Tahoe Mountain and to the stables to cater to Gabey and then the long walk home, and THEN the doggie cookies... *SHEESH*

And they call this a "dog's life"?

Pismo Sand Dunes

Here we are in 1997; so she was 4 years old. We are at Pismo Beach, CA, on a camping/motorcycle riding trip.

Chey loved running the dunes! I had to stop and grab her for this picture, and her tail was wagging soooo hard, I had to grab it and stop it from beating my face!

Cheyenne loved camping on beaches. When we were here in Pismo, and in Baja, she spent many hours running up and down the beach chasing the gulls. Her greatest thrill was when a huge flock would settle on the beach and she was the one who got to run them off, flapping and screeching further on down the beach.

Cheyenne devoured many miles of the Pacific Crest Trail.

She ran miles of the PCT from Mexico to Canada!

This picture shows the southern terminus, at Campo, California at the Mexican border.

I guess by now you figured that Doug took most of these pictures... cuz it's always Me & Chey... but I don't mind!


Well, I'll be!

Here's a picture of Doug and Cheyenne!

Somewhere in Canada, 2002.


Check out how the trail crossed the cascading torrent.

Cheyenne totally HATED crossing the open grating ~ it took some encouragement; but she was brave!


Going through these pictures was really inspiring in remembering the incredible life she lived!

This last winter, 2008, was very hard on Cheyenne. She couldn't walk in the deep snow, and every day we had to pack down a trail on snowshoes for her to walk on in the back yard.

I was totally amazed one day when she made the monumental decision to leave the snowshoe track and head for the only warm surface she could find!

Oh, what a wonderful find it was!

Normally, the hot tub stands a good 4 feet off the ground, but with the snow about a half foot taller, she felt she could chance it ~ and she "jumped" across to the warmest surface around!

Winnemucca Lake Flowers


Denise & Kathy: How many times have we hiked to Winnemucca Lake in search of the wildflowers????

Here we are in 2004 surrounded by mile-high lupine and one smiling dog.





July 20, 2008 -- Deanne and Doug and Stella.


Memorial hike for Cheyenne
to Winnemucca Lake and the
incredible wildflowers.

Yup, you really have to see 'em to beleive 'em!

Anniversary 20 in Cathedral Meadow

June 26, 2008.

Doug & Deanne's 20th Wedding Anniversary.

Our Wedding site, Cathedral Meadow, Beneath Mount Tallac.

Cheyenne's last walk-about.

Look at how she posed for the timer-picture. She knew how to take good pictures! I would always say, "P I C T U R E", to both Cheyenne and Gabe, (okay, Doug, too), and they would automatically look all glazed-eyed until I said, "Good Picture!"...... and they would relax.... what a great family I have, huh?

Even tho this was a smoky day in Tahoe, I will always treasure this last picture of "our little family".

And..... ~DRUM ROLL PLEASE~ ..... Cheyenne's very last picture, ever....

Grinnin' and happy to tolerate me when I asked her to pose beside the beautiful Lupine on June 26... I told her this picture was for Kathy Palmer cuz she wanted to see the awsome lupine bloomin'.....

Kathy.... this one's for YOU!

S M I L E!!

Da Last Picture Show
  Cheyenne passed 3 days after this picture was taken. A stroke last October, and then unending seizures the night before.... she was so brave!

Everyone has told us their favorite "Cheyenne story"; but there are way too many to fit on this page. I can't even begin to think of all the stories over the last 15 years that are so very entertaining... Cheyenne was just that kind of dog -- one that inspired stories told over campfires -- a legend in her own time!

A lot of Cheyenne's best doggie friends had predeceased her; so we know she had quite the welcoming committee! Titan was her first boyfriend; then there was her great pal Timi, and neighbor dogs Rachel & Grizzly, and of course Jasmine and Yoda with whom she climbed every peak around here; and she loved submarining down through the powder or terrorizing the chippers and marmots (it was the porcupines that got the best of her!)

She will live on in our memories -- forever running free.

Thank you, Cheyenne, for being the incredibly special puppy dog that you were and the most treasured part of our little family.

Love, Forever...

Mommy & Daddy
aka Deanne & Doug

  Copyright, 2008, Deanne Del Vecchio. All rights reserved.
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