In Memory of Ali
Ali was born on 8/13/2002 and she passed away 10/17/2011. She was a good girl and will be missed. We got her in 2005.
Rest in Peace, Ali. Thank you for your love and the things we learned from you.
Over the years, we have been privileged to share our lives with many Siberian Huskies. This page will be a small tribute to those huskies and what they taught us. In relating what we learned from different dogs, you will see our learning curve and how most of us are well meaning but start out lacking the knowledge we need and don't even know it until the right person...or dog, teaches us. I hope in sharing some of my mistakes it will encourage some of you who are starting out.
Thankfully, we learned from our mistakes which were many, and once we knew better we did better. Now there is no going back! The welfare of this breed and our love for these beautiful dogs has become our priority. We thank our early dogs for putting up with our mistakes and loving us anyway. We also thank the wonderful dedicated Siberian people who had the patience and took the time to work with us, even when we didn't have a clue. Their patience with "newbies" really shows their love for this breed. Thank you Karen, Denise, Jill, Roben and a few others. Your knowledge, kindness, hours of phone calls, visits or e-mails have meant a great deal and gone a long way toward getting us where we are today in our Siberian Husky experience.
Our very first Siberian back in 1996 was Oreo. He was a black & white male who was 3 or 4 when we got him and became a loved family pet. He somewhat became my husband's dog. For whatever reason, Oreo decided he was really Steve's dog. :) He was a house dog and knew many tricks, which kept us entertained. Oreo was neutered, and we got him before we knew much about this breed. He was not in fencing and one day, he ran off from our 80 acre property and ended up 30 miles away. He had name tags and rabies tags. Since he was named Oreo, the people who found him, kept him for a few days while their little daughter fed him lots of Oreo cookies because that was his name. When he got sick and had diarrhea from all the cookies, they decided not to try to keep him and they called us to return him. We were thrilled to get him back home. After that, we used a leash.
Oreo developed cancer several years later and he passed away in my husband's arms in 2000. He is still missed and talked about within our family. He is the one who started our love of this breed and our "Siberian adventure". He taught us the need for fencing. He taught us commitment to a pet and walking with them both through life and death. He taught us courage and to the very end, despite his pain, he would try to wag his tail when he saw my husband.
While no dog could replace Oreo, when we knew Oreo would not make it, we added Sadie to our family in 1999, a gray and white AKC Siberian Husky with blue eyes. A while after getting Sadie, we got a beautiful black & white AKC male named Blue. Sadie got out of her kennel at about age 7 or 8 and ran off. We never found her despite ads on the radio and in the paper offering a reward. She taught us to make better, more sturdy fencing. We are in hopes that someone found her and loved her. She was a hard dog not to love. She was loved by us and greatly missed. Being so people friendly, as this breed is, she would've gone with anyone. She was AKC and left us one of her pups to love and raise. That was Chelsey. Thank you Sadie.
Blue died less than a year after getting him as a young adult male. He had heart worm and went instantly. From this, we learned what heart worm was and that many times there are no signs of it until sudden death occurs, which was the case with Blue. We needed to use heart worm prevention, although Blue clearly had this before we got him. Blue also taught us about the loyalty of this breed. He got lost on an outing about 20 miles away and after 2 days, he made his way home! Not all Siberians can do this because their noses aren't so great . He was so beautiful and was with us such a relatively short time before passing that his loss hit us extra hard. He taught us to look into the needs and medical issues of this breed, so this would never happen again. He also reinforced AGAIN, that Siberian Huskies are runners!
Some time after that, we were given Kita. She became a loved pet . She was a beautiful girl. She had an outdoor kennel because Oreo had taught us the importance of fencing, but true to many Siberian Huskies, she was an escape artist and she managed to get out of even that. We searched and searched and she was found on the railroad tracks, hit by a train. That was a horrible day! We did more kennel fortifications. We had a few other Siberian Huskies along the way...Sidney,our first Lacey, Chloe, and several others that touched our lives with love and loyalty and taught us their own special lessons about this breed and sometimes about life.
Some of these were used in therapy with children who had RAD, in our therapeutic group treatment foster care facility. Kids who could not bond easily could take care of a dog, which was less threatening than a human and would many times aide in their learning to bond and connect with a living thing.
In 2005 I responded to an ad in the paper for Siberian Huskies for sale. I went and purchased 2 of them, Echo and Myshka. I found them way out in the country, with a group of Siberian Huskies tied out in a field with no shade except for random plastic dog houses sitting in an open field in the sun, with a dog tied out by each house. Their water dishes were empty and one had her dog house broken apart...one of those plastic houses that attach in the middle.
I purchased Myshka and Echo but could not stop thinking about the others tied in the sun. There was also a litter of Siberian/Beagle puppies all in a dark broken down barn, an "oops" litter bred by this same woman. Echo, being a puppy, was in a dark, dirty barn that looked like it might collapse at any moment, with no light and he had diarrhea. He was an older puppy, a very pretty AKC pure white with blue eyes (as I discovered after his bath). I learned that she had bought from a South Dakota breeder. I should have refused him but I couldn't stand to leave him there. He ended up bringing giardia into my existing kennel which spread to the other Siberian Huskies. That was my first experience with giardia, so that was one learning experience that came through Echo. It was a new parasite, that in 9 years of having Siberian Huskies, before getting Echo, we had never experienced. This taught me what type of person to get dogs from and what type not to. However, actually going there and walking into this situation and seeing these dogs with such lack of care, it was difficult to walk away and just leave them there. I considered it a rescue at the time.
After going home and not being able to stop thinking about the dogs that were left on tie-outs in the sun , I called this young woman and offered to give the rest a home if she wasn't able to place them quickly. These dogs were not selling and several were sick, so she took me up on the offer, at which time I brought Ali, Kataya, Akkia, and Champ home and added them to Myshka and Echo who'd already come home and to my little group of Siberians that I already had. We built new kennels to accommodate these additions as well as spent money on treating all the dogs for giardia, worming them, getting rabies shots and taking Kataya, who was sick, to the vet. I worked to get these rescue dogs back into good health and good coat. It took a while. Akkia was eventually placed with a fabulous pet family down south where she is loved and happy and I am still in contact with her. Kataya was placed in a pet home in Texas. Champ was diagnosed with heart worm and sadly, Ali, passed away Fall of 2011. Ali was a very sweet girl, black & white with blue eyes. Echo was later placed in a loving pet home that also has one of his sons and Myshka was placed as a loved pet who is 8 years old and still thriving.
Echo was AKC and a real "talker". He and Myshka sired several of our early litters. Both had nice temperaments and at the time, I thought they were beautiful. Akkia had and still has one of the sweetest temperaments ever. Kataya was shy and so was Champ. Ali took a while to warm up to people. She got along very well with other Siberian Huskies and was just an easy girl to have around. I learned from this group about rescue and also about the unconditional love that dogs will give humans even when they've been so poorly cared for.
These dogs were all part of our beginnings or early years in this breed and were loved and valued as well as being Siberians that we learned from. Our learning curve really shot through the roof starting about 2007, when we came into contact with decent, honest,reputable breeders and show people, who were doing things in a correct way and were willing to share their knowledge and expertise. I will forever be in their debt.
Our dogs are not breeding machines. They are a part of our life. They are involved in sledding and showing so they have a "job". We have begun to feel that if they cannot make it in the show ring, they should not be bred. If they do not have superior enough conformation and temperament to win in the ring, then they may continue to be our pets or be involved in sledding, but we will not use them to take this breed forward. If we pair dogs, we try always to have at least one champion in that pairing, but most importantly, two dogs that complement each other and who are excellent examples of their breed and have been tested and shown to be genetically sound.
A big thanks again to our first Siberian Huskies who loved us despite our mistakes and who were such awesome dogs that they started a passion in us for this breed. We honor them by working always to do the right thing for this breed! We also work to educate anyone willing to learn, as a way to pay it forward in thanks to the great exhibitors and fanciers of this breed who helped teach us. THANK YOU!