Wednesday, February 22, 2017
The worst part of loving dogs is losing dogs. I have had to write memorials in the past and each time the words have flowed out of me. I was able to capture the essence of what made that dog special to me but this time I find myself at quite a loss. How do you capture the spirit of a dog that was such a force of nature? A dog that never gave in to anything or anyone, even me. Loving Chili was like loving a wild animal- unlike any other dog I have owned, I know her love for me was her choice. Every time she listened to me, it was because she decided to- you could not force Chili to do anything- she was afraid of nothing. You couldn't bribe her either- trying to offer her a treat to perform a task resulted in a look of disgust. As a dog trainer, she humbled me like no dog has ever humbled me. I know her success in obedience, under harness, and in the show ring was not affected one whit by my ability in training but was solely Chili's own will and desire to win at life. In spite of her intelligence, fearlessness, lack of respect for the will of humanity, Chili was quite a social dog. She liked attention- it was a way for people to pay homage to her- but she did not require it for her happiness. She liked children most of all and was very comfortable around other dogs. Her death leaves a huge hole not just in my heart but in the world.
Chili had attitude from the moment she was born. Her breeder had her picked out for me as soon as she started shooting around the whelping box. At 8 weeks, Chili went to stay with some long time Chinook breeders until I could meet them at a dog show a month later to pick her up. They contacted me the day after they picked her up to prepare me for what I was getting. They said she was the smarted dog they had ever seen and calling her a handful was a vast understatement. As soon as I met her, I knew we were going to have quite the journey together.
Chili with her longtime pal and future sire of her first litter, Brett. Chili was a fast and powerful sled dog but could not run solo lead. She was smart enough but her fearlessness lead her to make some questionable decisions, like trying to lead the team over a pretty sheer cliff and into water. The other dogs would follow her anywhere- no matter what they thought of the obstacle in front of them, Chili's will instantly convinced them they could just run down the mountain side and could swim across the river dragging the sled. Putting her with a more "reasonable" dog created an enjoyable sled team.
Chili enjoying a day of fishing with me at my parents camp in New York. Chili was up for any adventure.
Chili was not often a cuddly dog but had her moments.
I loved Chili's eyes. They were so dark and wise looking. People were always asking me if she were part Dingo or coyote- she had such a spirit of wildness about her
Chili playing with the family cat
Most of my pictures of Chili are action shots. Life was too short to stand still very long. Chili was very active but I would not call her hyper- she always had a purpose for moving.
Chili loved showing. She was not what I would call the "typiest" Chinook but she won a lot and easily finished her Grand Championship. Judges couldn't help rewarding her attitude- she thought she should always win, so win she did!!
Chili's favorite sleeping position was belly up and twisted to the side. This is how she slept almost every night. Even in sleep she was a character.
All of these ribbons were from one weekend of Chili showing in conformation and competing in a weight pull competition. Chili pulled over 2000lbs and even then I pulled her from the match because I did not want her to overdo it. I did not trust her to quit before she hurt herself. In a future pull match, she would pull over 2500lbs. She was strong in more than just will!!
Chili was not particularly toy motivated but would occasionally lower herself to jump in and play with the other dogs. The other dogs LOVED when Chili would play with them. They would wiggle and squeek and be besides themselves with joy.
Hmmm.... what's going on out there. Knowing Chili, she jumped off the porch by going over the banister right after this picture was taken.
Chili with her pup, Cornelia Marie who was born at my house and never left. Cornelia is a lot like Chili in her loyalty but is much softer and cared a lot more about what people think.
Chili loved kids and was very tolerant. She stayed at a stud owners house for a few days while we were attempting a breeding and the child in the house made her paper hats and played dress up with her. Even though I did not have kids and she was rarely around kids, she had a natural affection for them.
For her third and final litter, Chili decided she wanted them born in the dryer. When I put a stop to that, she decided she would have them outside. She always wanted to have her pups outside and would lie in the whelping box refusing to cooperate in having her pups and then would pop one out as soon as I took her out to potty. She had puppies all over my yard and porch but rarely in the whelping box.
Chili's Well Loved Book litter was a rainbow litter.
Chili's Deadliest Catch litter
Chili was an easy breeder, an easy whelper, and a wonderful mom. She loved having puppies and I am glad to see her pups grow up and produce litters of their own for a number of Chinook breeders. It makes her passing easier knowing she lives on through her pups, grandpups, and great grandpups.
Chili's first litter was my NFL Quarterback litter. The pups were sweet, wonderful dogs and this picture from the litter was my Christmas greeting for many years.
God speed Chili. Saying I will miss you, that I love you, is not enough but it is the best I can do. Our journey together changed me for the better
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
One of the pups from my Well Loved Book litter has been bred and is expecting pups of her own! Reine ( aka Moonsong Small Wonder) is a daughter of Chili and Jiggles- two wonderful Chinooks who are/were very special to me. Jiggles died last year so I am happy to see his offspring go on and Chili is a fit and happy senior Chinook- still full of life and giving me fits with her shenanigans. This litter is extra special because it signals the start of a brand new breeding kennel. The Chinook breed is small and still endangered. It is a blessing when someone decides to contribute to the continuation of the breed by breeding. You can visit Spook Nook Chinooks at the link below to learn more about the parents and follow the pups:
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Moonsong Chinooks is very happy to announce the arrival of 6 beautiful Chinook pups. The dam is Frontier Lady Luck aka Bianca and the sire is Sugar River JackJumper Song aka Jack. There are 3 males and 3 females. You can see more pics of the pups and there will be weekly updates at: http://moonsongbiancalitter.blogspot.com
Sunday, November 9, 2014
I am so sad to announce that Katsuk ( GRCH Hurricane Katsuk Rainsong CGC TT TDI) has crossed the Rainbow Bridge. She fought very hard to stay and she was not wanting to go but her body just could not fight anymore. She was finally recovering from surgery after having several cancerous breasts removed when she developed pneumonia and that proved too much for her to overcome. Katsuk was not only a gorgeous, sweet, powerful dog who was loved by many but she was also the foundation bitch of Moonsong Chinooks. She started me on my way as a breeder of Chinooks and her pups and grandpups have gone on to produce litters for several other kennels, both established and new. She was exactly what I was looking for in a female Chinook. She was large and powerful but still athletic. She had quite a journey before ending up as a permanent member of my pack and touched a lot of people on that journey. She was truly one of a kind.
Katsuk could do it all! She was a wonderful wheel dog on my sled team. She had great power and could really pull but she could also last all day. Her pups and grandpups have also proven themselves in harness.
Katsuk was a very successful show dog and with limited showing was in Top Ten for her breed and produced Top Ten pups. She easily finished her Championship and Grand Championship. She did not really like to show but did it with a tolerant attitude because I wanted to show her off. She had an amazing chest and bone which is commonly lacking in this breed. She really was quite a figure.
Katsuk produced some wonderful litters for me. In her first litter she produced one of my favorite of her pups, Marshall ( CH Moonsong Onondaga Lawman - the middle pup shown above) She also produced Jiggles (GRCH Moonsong Mukilteo Bluejay- to the right of Marshall) who I kept and became quite special to me. One of her female pups from this litter went on to produce litters for Frontier Chinooks and the other pups went on to become very cherished members of families all over the country.
Katsuk's Jungle book litter was a nice rainbow of pups that turned into service dogs, sled dogs, weight pull dogs, rally dogs and, of course loving pets.
Katsuk produced a singleton pup named Watson that grew into quite the stunning boy who now watches over his human "sister" in Oregon
Katsuk's final litter produced two pups- Wink, who is with the Moonsong pack and will hopefully carry on her dam's legacy and Nod who is well loved by his family in Oregon.
I first met Katsuk when she was an 8 week old pup. I hitched a ride with her breeder Joyce when I came from Florida to Washington for a new job. Joyce on her way to Washington for a dog show so we drove together. I was offered one of the pups from the litter, as Joyce owed me a pup but I declined as I already had a new pup, Hyak, joining my pack and with a new job and only a temporary place to live, I was not in a position to take a pup. The pups were evaluated at the show and it was determined the only red tawny pup was last pick because of her very bulky, awkward appearance. The other pups were quite well built and moved well- miss tawny could barely walk without falling over and while she was quite large, she looked like spare parts. Ginger Corley, of Rain Mountain Chinooks, had taken two other pups as her picks but wanted to give miss tawny a chance to mature before removing her from the gene pool as a pet so she found a foster home for her in California until Joyce could figure out what to do with her permanently. At 6 months old, she came back to Washington and when Ginger and I saw her, our jaws dropped. She had come together and turned into one of the most gorgeous Chinook girls we had ever seen. She was already the size of most adult females with a large chest and larger bone. She looked like she could pull the heaviest sled through the largest drifts but she was active and tireless and moved beautifully. I wanted her but I was still not in a position to keep another dog so I found a home that was willing to keep her intact. She lived with Anne for a couple years and Anne put a Therapy Dog International title on her and took her to schools and nursing homes where she could share her loving temperament with everyone. Anne also brought her out to shows where she quickly finished her Grand. Family issues forced Anne to give her back to me but I had recently been contacted by a woman looking for a service dog and thought Katsuk would be a perfect fit. She became a mobility assist dog for Marie and would also let her know when her blood sugar became high/low. She pulled a cart for her and carried groceries and braced Marie to help her stand up/walk. When it came time for her to retire from these duties, Katsuk came back to me and one of her grandpups took over as a service dog for Marie. Finally Katsuk came to Moonsong Chinooks permanently to retire and live out her life.
At 8 years old, a retired Katsuk still looked quite fit and ready to help train some Moonsong youngsters to harness
A yearling Katsuk looksing a lot like her dad, Thunder- she inherited his large head.
Katsuk was a great companion and even though she loved to work, she was quite willing to enjoy a sunset with me.
She loved to swim and when a lake or river was not available, a kiddie pool would do. She loved to submerge herself under the water until only her nose stuck out. She looked like a hairy Hippo
Katsuk had a wonderful face and expression.
Katsuk was a great retriever and loved to play fetch. She passed this on to many of her pups and grandpups.
Of course she loved football!
Katsuk showing off her lean, muscular form. She was quite a mover for a dog so large.
Katsuk and her pup Jiggles after a day of sledding. I love this photo
Katsuk going for a swim a couple months before she died. She loved to swim and would just swim around and around, up and down the river. if I threw something, she would retrieve it but even without something to chase she would swim for the love of it.
Katsuk leading Faethe and Wink across the river to play on the opposite shore
Kattsuk looked great for an 11 1/2 year old girl
Katsuk, in the middle, with her river playdate group
Just a few short weeks before Katsuk died, we went to visit with Frontier Chinooks who had a litter of pups that were great grandpups of Katsuk. While there we took a 4 generation photo of Katsuk, her pup Lilah, lilah's pup Kasute, and Kasute's pup Miss Pink. 4 generations of beautiful girls!
One of Katsuk's first shows as a pup with her brother Malibu (middle) and sister Cheyenne (left). I knew then how special she was then but I did not know how important she would be to my life in Chinooks or how many other people she would influence. Godspeed Katsuk- I know Jiggles is happy to see you at the Rainbow Bridge as is UConn and Pharaoh and the other Chinooks that have gone before. You will be greatly missed by those you have left behind.