Thursday, August 23, 2012

Welcome to Two Rivers, Vladimir

Last night Alaska Airlines flight 195 landed in Fairbanks beneath a brilliant display of the Aurora Borealis.  I was there to welcome a very special passenger, 7 month old Vladimir.

Vladimir is an incredible gift from my friend Kyle Belleque and his family.  The Belleques own Nushagak Kennel, and Kyle and I have a shared interest in old school village dogs consistent with historical descriptions of Native bred dogs of earlier centuries.  Some of the stars of our Stardancer team have either come from Kyle, or come from a breeding with one of Kyle's dogs. 

Last year, while I was away at work, my handler helped Kyle transport his bitch Juliet for a hook up with Brent Sass' famous heroic leader Silver.  I've long admired Silver for his solid head, tenacious attitude and the love he shares with his master for the toughest weather and trail conditions that Alaska and the Yukon Territory can provide.

You can get an overview of Silver's heroics from this video clip:

Vladimir, "Vlad for short" is a pup from that litter.  Although I've only known him a few hours, he's already showing signs of being the most well mannered and well behaved 7 month old puppies I've ever known, including those from our shared Torus X Lucky litter.  Kyle has been spending a lot of time with these pups, and it shows in his behavior. 

He has settled into the dog yard very quickly, and spent much of today playing hard with Aumaruq and Chetan.  Although he wasn't particularly hungry last night, today he's shown that he knows what food is, and REALLY likes it a lot, digging into his pan of kibble and salmon pieces with the kind of enthusiasm that makes any musher smile with glee. 

Vlad shortly after arriving at Fairbanks International Airport

Vlad showing off his cued "sit" and waiting for the salmon reward

Vlad weighs about 35 lb currently, which is about the same weight as Animosh and Chetan as his age.  Kyle says his growth spurts tend to be about a month behind the typical pups from his kennel, so odds are good he'll grow to a very nice size, I'm guessing at least 60#.  Silver is a solid 70, but Juliet is considerably smaller.

He has lovely amber eyes that sparkle with curiosity and intelligence, and he is showing that he is a very adaptable young guy indeed.

So, please join me in saying "Welcome Home" to the newest and youngest Stardancer.


  1. Sooo interesting to see how your team has changed in the last three years. Very good to follow certain dogs and their development/personalities, as you write about them. Good wishes to you and Vlad :-)