Luke Sky Watcher




Luke came to use the first week of November 2003. Luke was a beautiful Golden Retriever Labrador mix out of a litter of Ridge (Golden) and Kahlua (Lab) owned by Danny and Chris Grangaard of Tok. Luke was the runt of the litter but he grew into an exceptionally handsome, beautiful, and intelligent working dog and pet. At six months Luke was enrolled into the BASH (Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard) program at Eielson Air Force (AFB) where it was his job to assist his owner chasing birds and moose off the airfield to protect aircraft from bird strikes. For two years he was a major defense and working canine tool involving airport operations and aircraft bird strikes at the air base.

Everyone at Eielson AFB loved Luke-Airman, Pilots, and Civilian employees alike. Base Operations (Tower) Personnel would spoil and fuss over him and always provided him treats and tidbits that he so often “mooched and begged” for. He loved going inside of the building for a break and a drink of water and he loved doing tricks for them by lying down and sitting. On the airfield Luke was a true wonder dog. He would chase geese for two miles just to get them off the airfield. He was one of the fastest dogs on four feet. He never quit until the birds were out of the restricted zones. Luke loved the water and it was also his job in the spring to locate nesting birds around the water impoundments to prevent the birds from rearing their young near the airfield. Luke was an incredible dog to watch work, and he just loved what he was doing for the Air Force. Luke could smell a moose a mile away and alerted his master during times of darkness (when they were nearly invisible) that there were moose in the restricted zones that needed to be removed off the airfield. He had a ferocious and deep bark that would scare even the boldest of moose and send them running off to wooded cover off the airfield. Luke was also a great watchdog at work. He protected the inside of the work truck like it was his own and no one would go near it for fear of being bitten. It was just another part of his job because we had tools, weapons, and ammunition stored inside.

At home Luke loved to spend time with us and he was always the second one into the bed after his masters. After we were asleep he would move to the cooler comfort of the floor and then rejoin us in the morning until we got up. Luke was trained daily in obedience and social skills. He loved playing with other dogs and socializing with the cats. He loved my wife Joanne so much as I was the disciplinarian and she was always spoiling him. He would always perk up and gaze at the door when I mentioned her name. They loved to go skiing and on walks together. He loved riding in the John Deere tractor at the farm in Delta Junction and he loved hunting and chasing Sharp Tail grouse in the windbreaks during the fall. He had an incredible nose for bird hunting and his hunting skills bordered on that of a “field trial champion.”

On November 17, 2004 Luke was victim of senseless tragedy when a speeding truck in front of the house hit him. Luke was not allowed to go out in the road, and had his flashing red collar on that morning. When I found him he had been dragged from the side of the driveway into the main part of the driveway and he was just lifeless. We have cried for weeks now and I still grieve for him. He was such a big part of my life and my work. I miss him so much it hurts.

uke was cremated and his remains will be scattered at the Eielson Air Force Airfield and at the farm in Delta Junction where he always loved to work, play and hunt. I want to say thanks to all the wonderful people who offered condolences and sent cards. So many people will miss Luke, but I am grateful for the short time I had him and I am a better person because of him. If there is a “doggie heaven” I know he is there. Take care their ole Luker dog. May you rest in peace there always, little buddy. We will love and miss you forever.