Sunday, July 22, 2007
After a false heat in March which caused her June heat to be delayed a few weeks, Tuloon has granted Bazil the honors and yesterday at 9:30AM they had their first tie. Both being new to all of this, a full day went by with both trying but neither figuring it out. Fingers crossed, we hope to be expecting a litter of big, fluffy, happy and healthy pups around September 22nd.
Tuloon came to the Points Unknown Kennel from Kim Fitzgerald of Mush Knik Networking in Knik, Alaska in 2004. Tuloon is very intelligent and independent with an extremely dense coat. She comes from a lineage filled with leaders. Her excellent build and mellow temperament added to the qualities we wanted to pass along to a future generation. Had it not been for an unfortunate accident as a puppy, requiring a major leg surgery and months of recovery, we're confident she would have begun her leader training at a very early age. She has been working in lead for the past two of her three years. Her first year she was apprenticing under Zulu. Last year was her first solo year.
Bazil is Zulu's, our open country leader extraordinaire, son and has lineage back to Susan Butcher's famous leader Granite. Bazil is a big boy at 78lbs. He is extremely eager to please and one of the hardest pullers on the team. He comes from a litter of mainly leaders. Both parents are leaders as are many others down the line. He has been in another kennel for the past 5 years and has never been put up in lead. I believe that had he been, he would be just as amazing as his dad based on what I see in his personality and confidence level. Bazil is very muscular like his mother and, like his mother, has a shorter coat with a dense winter undercoat.
Our hope with this breeding is to bring out the longer and extremely dense coat of Bazil's father Zulu, while keeping the muscular build that came from his mother. Tuloon's dense coat can only add to the odds of more densely coated offspring. Both lines have a long legged and rangy body type which is also desirable. In addition, the temperament, overall personality and excellent health of both Bazil and Tuloon made this breeding an easy and very exciting decision.
Breeding isn't taken lightly. We assume the responsibility for any pups we have for their lifetime, be it with us or with friends, in another sled dog kennel. There are far too many unwanted animals on this planet as it is. At the same time, we see how important it is to preserve rare and truly unique lines and breeds. Tuloon and Bazil, have truly rare and extremely special lines, very much worth passing down.
Friday, July 20, 2007
There is a scar on the earth where the barn used to be, in that view out our front picture window. As mentioned in a previous post, we were to attend a county meeting to discuss the new development plans for this piece of earth we call our view. Our biggest concern was that of disclosure. We have sled dogs. There are two sled dog kennels within view of this proposed development, mine and my soon-to-be ex-husband's. There have been sled dogs here for over 20 years, which is much longer than our seven year presence in the area. We want those would-be buyers of those high dollar lots who are not familiar with a rural area, to know this. Sled dogs and rural living may be foreign to them and people tend to feel most comfortable when they are surrounded by what they know.
The meeting began with the county officials going over the proposal from the owner of our view. They were all set to approve the development "as presented" and asked for public comment. Brian and I were the only "public" present for this meeting and we told our story. Politely and respectfully we explained that we knew we couldn't stop "progress" and we were concerned about our quality of life with this new development moving in. We want to be able to live our lives with our sled dogs as peacefully as we have been up to this point without being concerned that, at any time, a complaint from someone new to rural living could be made that could change our lives unnecessarily.
We did it! We were successful in making our point to the county officials. The development was approved pending verbiage added to the declarations and covenants for that development that disclose the existence of sled dogs in the area. These documents will also state that complaints regarding normal operation of the sled dog kennels will not be warranted. In addition, to preserve the water fowl habitat on the small "bay" of the wildlife lake that is located in front of the house, a "no wake" zone will be applied. The little people can make a difference!
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
They say you can't stop progress. The downside of living in the country, close to a major city is that your peaceful way of living can be suddenly interrupted by what they call progress.
Looking out the picture window last evening, I saw the beginning of such progress. Our view, for many years, has been a very serene wildlife lake. On its eastern shore sits that barn, or at least it did sit until last evening. The neighbor has decided to build a high dollar development and the barn must go to be soon replaced with three McMansions, of sorts, likely to be built and occupied by those who desire to bring the suburbs with them into the country. What this means is that sounds and smells not associated with the suburbs may not be tolerated by these displaced suburbanites.
Sled dogs make noise. Not a lot of noise, mind you, just at feeding time, while loading the truck for training or when hooking the dogs up to the sled. This may be just enough noise to be quite out of the ordinary and unacceptable for someone not familiar with such a lifestyle.
What can be done? For starters, a county meeting is being held this evening and we will be in attendance. Having lived here for years, its important for the county officials to know that we are concerned about how our quality of life will be affected by this development. Our view will forever be changed. We can live with that. What will be more difficult to live with is the idea that uninformed buyers will purchase those high dollar homes and complain about the noise coming from the sled dog kennel across the lake that they had no idea existed. Disclosure will be the key and our hope is that the owner of the development will be required to legally disclose our existence.
We plan to also put up signs along the road indicating our presence. As the lots sell, you can bet we will be the first in line to welcome them to the neighborhood, with a sled dog or two by our side.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Chris and Frankie making a successful creek crossing.
Hey, what's wrong with this picture?
Lily deciding that Sara should be the one in the water. She'll stick to the rocks.
Lily deciding that Sara should be the one in the water. She'll stick to the rocks.
Today's Points Unknown Canicross Hike was held at Forestville State Park. The temperature was 74 degrees with low humidity. There were blue skies with big fluffy white clouds. It was a beautiful day for a hike!
This park is known as an excellent equestrian destination so we knew we would have some very good chances for "on-by" training. The hike began with a relatively steep downhill grade then leveled off once we crossed the South Branch of the Root River and remained level most of the hike. There was a bridge for our first water crossing. Little did we know that on our hike to the Big Spring we would encounter several creek crossings designed more for our equestrian friends than for people with dogs attached to them. Being as this is a karst region and the creeks are fed by springs and run underground at times in the numerous cave areas, the water was a brisk 48 degrees F. As you might imagine, the dogs loved the cool water break. Their human counterparts, that may have ended up in the water unexpectedly, may have thought otherwise.
Once at the Big Spring and at the end of the first leg of our 4 mile trail, we took a long break as the dogs played in the water and we watched as the horses were lead into creek. Then it was 2 miles back on the same trail. We were able to progress to practicing moving "on-bys" as several groups of horse and riders passed us head on, versus doing stopped "on-bys" as we did on the way in.
I think its safe to say that fun was had by all, including those unexpectedly dumped into the "drink" during our challenging creek crossings.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Friday, July 6, 2007
All plans were off for the 4th of July when we awoke to a huge tree down in the dog yard. The tree fell in three dog kennels, demolishing the top rail of two kennels. Thankfully the dogs were unharmed. It looked worse than it was, however four hours were spent just cutting it up and hauling it out to burn, not to mention the time taken for repairs.
Temps were in the 90s with the dew point in the upper 60s. This made for a challenging day working outside next to a massive fire. By the end of the day, all dogs were safe and happy in their newly repaired kennels.