Mike Cavaliere and I have corresponded by Email from time to time, regarding old-school traveling and freighting types of sled dogs. Mike was running a nice little team up in the hills north of Fairbanks and having a great time. Unfortunately, circumstances now require that he move out of Alaska, and he can only take four of his dogs with him. Mike wrote that he had a not-quite six month old puppy he needed to place, and also mentioned that he is returning some dogs to my friend Kyle Belleque, down in Dillingham. When I read the names of the dogs going back to Kyle, my heart nearly leapt from my chest. The dogs that Kyle named Max and Basil were originally named Midnight's Son and Polaris, from our Torus / Lucky litter. They are brothers to Orion, Capella and Cassiopeia.
I wrote Mike that I would take the puppy, and phoned Kyle to ask him if he wanted me to take Max and Basil. Kyle has a racing home in mind for Basil, which he feels would be a better fit than my recreational touring kennel, but agreed that Max (aka Midnight's Son) could come here.
By four O'clock Mike was pulling into my driveway with the two newest additions to the Stardancer kennel.
Innoko - the Puppy
First, the puppy. This not-so-little guy is a mix of Canadian Inuit Dog, Alaskan Malamute and some Yukon Village Husky. He came from Charlie House's lines, and the dog's parents work as trapline dogs up on the Sheenjek River. You'll recall that Sheenjek was the name of my best wheel dog who died last fall.
I've never had more than an academic interest in the Canadian Inuit Dogs or Alaskan Malamutes due to their reputations for being very scrappy with their team mates, but when I saw the photo that Mike sent with his Email it just triggered some sort of intuitive storm and I immediately decided I would take him. His conformation is similar to every photograph or video I've ever seen of Canadian Inuit Dogs.
I also knew immediately he needed a different name. His "BS" (Before Stardancer) name was the same as a certain illegal immigrant self-proclaimed "dog whisperer" who likes to hang huskies by their collars while telling his widespread television audience how great he is. I despise Cesar Milan, and certainly didn't need a dog named Cesar as a daily reminder. It wouldn't be fair to the puppy.
So, the new puppy is now named Innoko, after the Innoko River. Last night Stephanie Little Wolf was visiting, and we were searching for some historical information about Alaska's coastal dogs when we came across a quote from Lavrenty Zagoskin about the river, and it just struck both of us that Innoko is a beautiful Native Athabascan name for a beautiful dog with deep Native roots. When I went out on the deck to try it out on him, he raised his nose and howled - the only noise he's made since coming into the yard.
Here are a few photos of our new not-so-little 6-month old baby, Innoko.
|Innoko & Swanny|
|Pretty Face and Really Big Feet|
The Return of Midnight's Son
When Kyle Belleque and I bred my Torus to his gorgeous leader Lucky, we had a litter of six. Half stayed here with me, and the others went to Kyle's Nushagak Kennel in Dillingham. The last time I saw him he was just a wee little puppy.
Renamed Max by Kyle, this little guy grew up into a fine big working dog. He's the spitting image of his sextuplet sister Capella, with similar color and that same distinctive foxy-face that is so reminiscent of historical descriptions of eighteenth and early 19th century Indian dogs. Here are a few photos to demonstrate this boy's great looks and our happy reunion.
|Are you happy to be home?|
|Now THERE is a face.|
|A great semblance to an historical "Indian Dog"|
Later today I'll try to get some photographs of Midnight's Son with his siblings.
Selene is Settling In Nicely
Meanwhile, Selene seems to enjoying her new home here with the other Stardancers, and she's been quite popular with kennel visitors. She's a big, beautiful soft love-muffin who never yet met a human she didn't want to interact with. Her plush fur is so soft and cuddly that no-one can resist giving her a healthy dose of loving.
|Rose and Selene saying "See You Later"|