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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kennel Visit

Amanda and I discuss the kennel set up.

Jasper, Amanda's wolf hybrid rescue.


Neil is at first unsure of Jasper.

Jasper is also a bit unsure of Neil. Jasper's expression reminds me of something one might see in an animated film. He's got a very nervous smile here.

Trying for some obedience hand signals.

Covered porch with misting system.

Large play area.

5 month old Tempo

Tempo and Bandit


We had the pleasure of visiting a small sled dog kennel during our mini vacation to Ohio. Amanda and her husband Byron live in a beautiful area abutting a park with their four dogs and one semi-wild "canid". Amanda's dogs, except for little Tempo, are rescues. They are pets first then non-competitive racing sled dogs second. She is also heavily involved in Wolf Hybrid rescue. I was amazed to discover there is a great need for this in the area!

Editorial - The practice of inbreeding wolf with any dog for the purpose of producing a house "pet", in my opinion and based upon my experience, is irresponsible and dangerous. In many states it is also illegal. Many of the sled dog lines, racing and freight alike, originating from historical Alaskan villages, contain wolf from many generations back. This is a part of their heritage and only remnants of this heritage can be seen in our modern day sled dogs. Interestingly enough, a high content wolf dog has proven not to make a good sled dog. Although Points Unknown does not participate in this practice, there are well meaning people out there working to recreate traditional lines of working sled dogs by inbreeding wolfdog into various Alaskan Husky lines.

Wolves and dogs are natural enemies. Just imagine what must go on in the mind of such a high content mix. The constant torment of a wild animal wanting to be in the wild and the domestic dog wanting to be at your side or on your bed. This all depends, of course, on what genes the animal is dealt as genetics is like a crap shoot and no two wolf hybrids are the same just as no two domestic dogs are the same.
Many present day dogs still display physical wolf-like traits such as a gait, a coat, a stance, etc, however the behavior is what actually sets them apart from their wild ancestors. The behavior of a wolf or a wolf hybrid is very different than that of a domestic dog.

Years ago I spent several years volunteering at a private wolf refuge where the socialized pure wolves were used for educational purposes and the wolf hybrids were rescued from those people who kept them in an irresponsible way, thinking it grand to have such an animal. Some dogs don't do well in apartment living much less a wolf hybrid or pure wolf! I had some of the most amazing experiences in my life working with these animals and also some of the most horrific. Having said all of that, they do exist and thank goodness there are people like Amanda to help pick up the pieces of a situation when it goes terribly wrong.

Amanda and Byron's kennel set up was spectacular. Amanda has done extensive research on the matter and it shows. Her dogs have a fenced-in and covered porch all to themselves with the beginnings of a misting system in place. Her kennels are attractive yet functional. The play area encompasses quite a large area and was constructed with two layers of heavy duty metal cattle panel fencing. The second layer goes up and above the supporting posts. Why? This is very interesting. Because if a dog tries to climb the fence, once above the top of the posts, the fencing becomes unstable because the posts no longer support the fencing. The dog looses its footing and does not then make it over the fence. Kudos to you, Amanda!

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