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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Kennel Visit

Jim and Judy with Juma


Beautiful Juma

Nacha left, Juma right


Houdini, 11yrs old, is Jesse's brother

Yoda, 13 yrs old, is half brother to Jesse

Mukluk, 14 years old, is Jesse's half brother

Chewbaca, 13 yrs old, is Yoda's sister and Jesse's half sister.

Chica is a half Hedlund Husky not related to our Zulu line. She is a half sister to our Phoenix and came to Jim and Judy from Mush Knik Networking in Alaska.

Neil and I took the morning yesterday to visit some members of our canine family at a kennel in Northfield, Minnesota. Juma and Nacha are Klaus and Sweet Pea's sisters and were placed in a wonderful home with Jim and Judy nearly 7 years ago when they were pups. Also at this kennel are relatives to Juma and Nacha on their mother, Jesse's side.

Since this can get confusing I'll explain. What I call my "Zulu line" began with a breeding between Zulu and a 55lb female named Jesse who was bred as a long distance racing dog in a northern Minnesota kennel. Jesse has a very muscular build. She's got blue eyes and a shorter coat. Zulu and Jesse had 8 pups in 2001; Bazil (father of Tuloon's 2007 litter), Klaus, Sweet Pea, Nacha, Juma, Zimbi(dam of planned fall litter with Phoenix), Blue and Gretta. Jim and Judy gave a home to several dogs from the same kennel from where Jesse came which are then relatives to the Zulu/Jesse 2001 litter. I can't tell you how much fun it is to be able to see dogs from the extended lineage. It helps to create a better mental picture of one of the the lines on which we're currently working and gives us more insight.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Points Unknown Gathering

When you've got 7 loose dogs in the back yard, the only safe place for the grill is in the empty dog kennel!

Special thanks to Brian for taking over the grilling duties unexpectedly, shortly after they began!

We had a bright sunny day yesterday for our Points Unknown gathering. It seems we only get together in a group in the winter so we decided to have a gathering in the summer to show our appreciation to those folks locally that have played a part in Points Unknown over the years. These folks ranged from Jean who has taken care of the house during our winter months away, to kennel helpers and their families who have driven the helpers back and forth to various events and to the kennel year after year, dog handlers who have been there to take excellent care of the dogs while I had to be away, other dog mushers who have represented Points Unknown and given excellent service and adventures to our guests and our beloved chefs who provide everything from exquisite meals to humor and who pitch in with all of the dog chores and activities.

You are all very much appreciated.

The dogs enjoyed the event and got all of the attention they could ever want. The puppies were super socialized and got their first introduction to very young people. Tuloon and pups were very accepting of the visitors.

Canicross Hikes 2009; Willow River State Park

Hailey with Journey and Oken at the overlook to the falls.

Neil with Phoenix

Marilyn with Conan

Along the base of the falls there is a cool place for the dogs to rest.

Brian and Olive

Lunch break

Back to the trail.

Conan takes a dip

Hailey and Oken

Olive and Brian give Canicross Hiking a try with the assistance of Neil and Phoenix.

Break at the overlook

Willow River Falls

Neil and me with Phoenix and Journey

This photo reminds me of the opening clip from a "Charlie's Angels" episode. Don't ya think?

What a wonderful July day for a hike! It is very rare you gets temps in the upper 60s and low 70s in July. This was perfect summer weather for dogs. The water features of this park make it a favorite among the dogs and the people.

We did roughly 5 miles on Saturday with a couple long breaks at the waterfall. We were joined on this hike by Neil's parents who are visiting for a few weeks from England. With a quick introduction back at the kennel, prior to the hike, they took to it quickly and enjoyed the help up many of the steep hills on our return trip that the dogs provided. Three Points Unknown dogs got to go on this hike. Phoenix was the seasoned veteran at the sport in attendance. He hasn't been along on a hike this season. This is mainly due to the fact that he is so powerful and I have been trying to allow a soft tissue injury to my foot to heal so have taken the smallest dog in the kennel, Zala. Neil and Phoenix were a team. Oken joined Hailey, our kennel helper, and feeling as though my foot was less vulnerable, I gave Journey a turn today. Marilyn and Conan were along today as well and Conan, our "German" Sled Dog, gave our sled dogs a bit of competition as he pulled very well today. He has a slow and steady pace, like a good (herding) freight dog.

The next scheduled hike on August 8th will be canceled as this musher is heading back with Neil and his family to see a bit of England. Our next hike will then be at Afton State Park on August 22nd. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

4 Week Old Puppy Photos

Hailey with Topa

After a few warnings from Tuloon to stay away from her bone, White Feather remains at a distance.

Notice Topa waiting patiently and obediently for her turn at the bone and see little miss White Feather trying to sneak in yet again.

Tumac, getting used to his accommodations for flying to New Hampshire in several weeks.


Topa with Blueberry

Hailey with Hana and Topa

White Feather and Hana rest in Hailey's lap as Tumac heads toward the action at the other end of the deck.

The puppies turned 4 weeks old today. They have made the perfect transition to their outdoor space and everyone seems to be enjoying the extra room as they now explore every corner of the kennel. An extra shade cloth was put up to make certain there is ample shade though out the day and the kennel was puppy proofed prior to their arrival.

On the kennel walls, there is hardware cloth affixed to the chain link fencing going up about 3'. This allows the puppies to meet the other dogs in the kennel without concern of an adult dog getting overzealous and possibly harming a pup through the chain link. Tuloon's water bucket was placed on top of a dog house in the corner of the kennel with the bucket attached to the fencing so as not to accidentally fall. Two shallow water bowls were placed in the kennel and are changed several times a day. A puppy can drown in a small amount of water so we make certain that the water is never too deep.

The puppies are also free feeding at the moment as everyone seems to be able to properly control their food intact. No one is too heavy. Leaving food out all day also makes it available to Tuloon to eat when she becomes hungry and with fourth mouths to feed, she is eating a lot more. Having the puppies on puppy food also takes some of the pressure off of her and her milk is becoming a supplement to them.

The pups were wormed again today. Their first worming was at 2 weeks old. Two more will come, one at 6 weeks and one at 8 weeks. Since they have been outside, their toenails didn't need to be trimmed this week.

They all got their first outing on the deck the other night. They began in the grass and were called from atop the deck. They needed then to climb up three wide stairs to get to us and did so quickly and with ease. It seems that new milestones are reached every day!

Tuloon/McKenzie Pups; 4 Weeks Old

White Feather weighed 6lbs 7oz in her fourth week. She continues to be the social butterfly. She moves around the kennel as if she's on a mission and tests Tuloon endlessly. Patient mom she is, Tuloon is consistent with her mild corrections. She is the first to seek out anyone who enters the kennel. White Feather is one of the two pups staying at Points Unknown.

Topa weighed 6lbs 12oz at 4 weeks old. Topa is a thinker and will stare into your eyes endlessly. She doesn't mind being help on your lap for long periods of time. She has paired up with Tumac as the pup with which she spends the most time. Topa will be one of the two pups going to Uktousa Kennel and our dear friends, Lidia and Richard.

Tumac weighed 7lbs 9oz at 4 weeks old. He is a somewhat serious pup but often surprises us with bursts of humor. He and Topa are a tight pair and are similar in many ways. Like Topa, Tumac doesn't mind being held for long periods of time and is accepting of whatever his circumstances are at the moment. Tumac will be joining Topa at Uktousa Kennel in New Hampshire where he will be the foundation for their Hedlund Husky preservation program.

Hana was equal to Topa today in weight and weighed 6lbs 12oz at 4 weeks old. She is the first to do everything new, it seems. She is a confident and eager to please girl with a very charming personality. Hana will be staying at Points Unknown kennel.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Out of the Pool!

Grabbing a snack

Thick comforters were placed all around the base of the pool to break their fall once they decided it was time to jump.

Well, Neil was right. We awoke yesterday morning to find that all four pups were out of the pool and were running all around the laundry room. A couple were eating out of Tuloon's dry kibble bowl, while the others were drinking some water left out for Tuloon. I'd say they're ready to be outside at this point. Once they're out of the pool there is no way to keep them in and the clean- up becomes an even bigger job.

They were very unhappy, at first, to be in their new surroundings but soon settled in. A big rain and thunderstorm came in the afternoon so they got another new experience. Before the storm we made certain they were all in the dog house safe and sound.

It's been their second full day outside and they actually spent it outside instead of inside the dog house. They've come a long way in just two days.

Socialization in Pairs

Blueberry watches intensely as Neil tries to get Tumac interested in a toy.

This introduction went amazingly well. Puppies can have a difficult time meeting new friends at this age, especially if they look very different than their mother or other littermates.

Tumac seeks the comfort of Neil on the cozy dog bed while Hana looks on.


Hana and Tumac


Beautiful Topa


White Feather

White Feather trying to get Topa to play

White Feather

A few days ago, the pups came up to the sun room for the first time, in pairs, to meet the little house dogs and get some one on one socialization. It was fun to watch each reaction to a new fuzzy face. In addition, they were being introduced to new surfaces like carpet and hardwood flooring as well as all kinds of toys made out of different materials.

They seemed surprisingly adaptable. We only got one "squawk" out of Topa when Blueberry, a little King Charles Spaniel/Beagle/Sheltie mix put his nose in her face too quickly. Of course, this scared Blueberry more than Topa so he quickly backed away. When he returned seconds later to re investigate, Topa accepted him as something not quite as scary as before.

The toys didn't get much attention as the pups were just very interested in their new surroundings. Like every litter before them, they seemed to gravitate towards the big, green, soft and cuddly dog bed. White Feather and Hana did the most exploring and continued to want to investigate under the chairs, back behind the woodstove and under the gigantic potted Norfolk Pine tree. Topa was more subdued and was happy to watch from afar then she did what she loves best; she fell asleep. This is a very laid back pup. Tumac was interested in checking things out but not quite as far away as his two sisters. He enjoyed his time on Neil's lap in the cuddly dog bed the most.

At the end of the evening, Neil thought that after this evening of fun, they wouldn't be staying in that pool for very much longer..............