As we wind down 2022 we want to take a look back over the happenings of the year. Its been a positively productive year over all!
Starting in May our first Bred By took her first steps into the show ring. While there’s room to improve it was a good experience for all. She was a little shy and the weather didn’t help her first outing. We look forward to next season and perhaps a little more maturity to help.
In August we welcomed not one but 3 foster dogs. Starting with Maya (formally Daisy). She was an owner surrender from a former co-worker of mine. Starting out life on a farm she proved to be an escape artist that ended up with her living on a chain. She could still pick off the chickens and occasional rabbit. It wore on her welcome and eventually wound up with her looking for a new situation.
She went to another mutual friend of ours who adored her, but didn’t feel it was fair to her cats who now had to worry about this newcomer. We offered to evaluate her and see if there was anything we could help with. Overall she was a sweet girl, she was horribly obese, and didn’t have a lot when it came to other dog social skills.
Maya has been working in harness with our scooter team and has lost a good majority of the unnecessary weight. She has been an absolute doll.
Sakari and Goose soon followed. Sakari was found via social media as a loose trouble maker harassing local wildlife and livestock. Knowing that typically ends in disaster. We were able to catch her and property contain her. She was not well socialized but was very gentile natured. It took her a minute to warm to everyone and get the expectations but once we started working together in harness she made leaps and bounds.
Goose followed shortly after Sakari. He was originally a foster dog with a local rescue but after being found wandering loose on the road by a passer by it was discovered his foster home was not adequately prepared to care for him so the Good Samaritan who found him took him home. He was cared for and safe and by all accounts a lovely boy. Until he discovered the chicken coop. After a chicken massacre his welcome was no more. We decided to foster him as well.
With the additional fosters we had to do some upgrades to the kennel yard. We added a walkway in front of the kennels and added 3 smaller module kennels to accommodate the growth of the kennel. To say we are pleased with how it turned out would be an understatement.
The biggest accomplishment this year was getting a team back on the competitive trail. Team Keahi participated in the Dirt Rondy with not one but THREE teams! We ran the 6-dog sprint, 2-dog scooter, and our oldest ran his first run in the Junior Class.
In a recent post on Facebook from I Love Responsible Dog Breeders I found it really hit home....then it hit me that this is a deeper issue than a personal vendetta. This is a problem in the dog world. The issue? The Blacklist.
The Blacklist was intended to keep dogs out of hands of people who would legitimately harm them. Its also (and I feel more frequently used) to 'settle' disagreements between breeders/fanciers.
I have been Blacklisted. I have been written off by many. Am I a bad dog owner? No, I don't believe I am. I don't feel like my dogs hate or fear me. Quite the opposite in fact.
Have I made mistakes? Have I fallen flat on my face? Yes, yes I have. I have also picked myself up, made changes in my life (big changes) and have dusted myself off vowing to never let the situation that I had lived through (survived more like it) EVER happen again. I will not let that situation define me as an owner, breeder, fancier of my breed.
Originally though, I earned my place on the Blacklist for receiving a puppy from a breeder with a checkered past. Yes, you read that correctly; received a puppy, I did not purchase this puppy. He was a gift. I gift I broke down in tears over as I couldn't seem to find the right secret code to break into the coveted well bred dog community. Here was someone with the most beautiful puppy I had ever seen and someone who was willing to take a chance on the ignorant pet owner who innocently purchased a puppy mill Siberian and who didn't know how to contact reputable breeders. For shame. Ultimately that breeder burned me just as I was warned she would eventually. I learned my lesson, I don't fault the dog for his breeder being a bad human. It wasn't his fault.
Over the years I also developed "extremist" views of wanting to maintain a functional representation of our breed that still maintained the appearance of a Siberian. As such I started looking for other mentors, even being outside of the area, to help me navigate how to get there. This was also used as a massive red flag to bar me from the community.
Because of these atrocities, some breeders in the community took it upon themselves to fabricate reasons to Blacklist me. Reasons that were so laughable it was hard to imaging them sticking. I had members of the parent club testifying as being my neighbor to how my dogs were housed. However this member had never been to my house and lived 11mi away and over a mountain pass. Yet these lies prevailed.
A few years ago I earned a spot on the list. I was in a domestic violence relationship, one that was physically, emotionally, and financially abusive. I was kicked out of my home, my dogs were used to threaten my compliance or watch them be killed. I watched helplessly as my dogs suffered, unable to gain any sort of control back over my finances, nor my mental health. My capacity was diminished to that of pure survival- there was room for nothing more. I tried to get help for my dogs, particularly the senior dogs and hard keepers, and was told no now wasn't a good time by those who should have stepped up for their charges without question. I was offered a less than helpful bit of advice in that we "all get sad sometimes" as a justification their cold and callousness. A select few of my friends helped buy a bag of dog food here and there. It wasn't enough but it was all I could do at the time. When that was found out I was threatened again with bodily harm for the embarrassment that caused my other half.
I'm not the only one who has ever ended up in a bad situation. But when I needed help, when my dogs and I needed our breed community, we were ignored. I feel maliciously- to watch me fail - to give them more cause to say 'see we told you so'. To justify their actions and accusations they had originally laid against me. Now, I do not entirely fault these people. After all, you cannot understand nor truly have compassion for a situation that is so far outside of anything that can be grasped for you. So for that I'm grateful that these people have had lives that have afforded them the luxury of not having to survive situations that were dangerous and unhealthy for all involved.
So I ask, in a thought that will probably ruffle more than a few feathers....Even if the act of blacklisting IS appropriate and animals ARE in fact being harmed or in danger - what good does it do to cast these people away than help them get proper care and dare offer a bit of compassion? Is ignoring the calls for help justified in order to take a more self-righteous road of rumor mill justice? Hurting more people to make ourselves feel better about our situation? Lets break that cycle of hurt people creating more hurt people for a change. I know this may enrage more than a few people who read this post. To them- shame on you. Shame on you for thinking it better to play these hateful shadow games over actually doing anything or even talking to the parties involved. Do better.
So while I may not have an answer either, it is a topic I have grown quite passionate about. I I am fine being where I am. I know I will most likely never get off the Blacklist, and that's OK. I'm OK not fitting in a rigid mold anyway. What I am not OK with is standing by silently watching others be drug through the mud and being so rigid as to not see when second chances and a bit of compassion could be the best thing we can do for one another.
To the breeders, friends, and fellow fanciers who did not discard me like trash when I needed you the most- thank you. To the women who let me cry, vent, and fought for me to not give up - thank you.
I also want to thank the original poster from I Love Responsible Dog Breeders for being brave enough to share their story and for igniting a growing ember that I had within me.
With much excitement Team Keahi was back on the trails before the snow fell in 2021! Its been a long few years away from what we have truly loved and it felt amazing to have dogs back in harness sharing the trails with some of the most amazing beings we could hope for! While there is a lot we have to work on to get back to where we were, 2022 looks very promising!
Our team looks quite different from the last time we ran. And while there's some sadness in that there's also the excitement of rebuilding. We have shuffled some dogs around and have discovered 2 blooming lead dogs in the making! We are very much looking forward to more time on the trails.
Kona has taken his first runs on the team, and much like his sister, he is proving to be quite the natural in harness! He is fitting in with everyone and is settling down into his new home well. We are so happy to have this gregarious young male and his goofy antics.
We are hopeful for some more exciting things for this guy's future! Stay tuned!
We are so pleased to announce the arrival of our first in home breeding between BISS GCH Silver Falls Summer Lookout At Keahi *Keegan* and INT CH Zuska's Footprints In The Black At Keahi *Madison*. Both parents are exemplary representatives of the breed and have been exactly what we have been waiting for as the foundation of our future. Both have been performing exceedingly well in harness, even after our 4 year break in working dogs, and continue to present well in the show ring.
Phoenix will continue the dreams as we Rise From The Ashes and rebuild our goals. We look forward to her stepping into the show ring with us next spring and seeing if she can capture the magic that we see in her already.
Welcome to the family Phoenix - Keahi's Rising From The Ashes
Not to go unmentioned we also welcome Kona - Zuska's X-treme Adventure to the team! Konda comes from Susan Parraga of Zuska Siberians. He will be trying his paw at being a working sled dog and who knows what the future may bring for him here at Keahi Siberians! Thank you Susan for entrusting us with this lovely boy! We cannot wait to see how he fits in with the rest of the team!
We are deeply saddened to share that Diamond has crossed the Rainbow Bridge. After 14 amazing years she let us know it was her time. Though it was a struggle for us, but we honored her by letting her go with dignity. The kennel already seems so empty without her presence. She was so loved and will be sorely missed.
Diamond came to us in 2008 as a rescue while we were still volunteering with Adopt-A-Husky West. She was a 9mo old puppy, born deaf, and suffering from a skin and coat issue that had been hit by a car. Her front legs had been shattered, but even with all the damage she managed a smile and a wag of the tail. She certainly had the spirit of a Siberian. The odds did not look great but with the efforts of the group, the Siberian Husky Club Of America Trust, and Dr. Ryan Brown she was put back together and the long road to recovery began.
She came to us to foster through her recovery. She needed 24hr assistance with both front legs wrapped in large casts. She could balance on the casts, an she could hobble but not far. Even as difficult as this time seemed she was still a mischievous Siberian, trying to test her limits off lead or pushing the x-pen to another part of the room.
As the healing process progressed we were able to get her casts sized down and eventually off all together. Her journey was still just beginning. As we weaned her off the pain meds it was clear there was something else wrong as she screamed in pain every time she moved, that's when we took her back to Dr. Brown's office. More x-rays showed a broken rear leg and fractures in her lower spine. With strict rest and upped pain management those too healed. Unfortunately the x-rays also showed that Diamond, at less than a year old, was also severely dysplastic. Dr. Brown suggested keeping her light and offering moderate low impact exercises to manage moving forward.
Her coat quality was still very poor and she itched constantly. Some of which was contributed to the vast variety of meds she was on. The long term use of these meds had their side effects too. It was at this time an infection took hold in the only non-effected limb she had and threatened to take her leg. After aggressive treatment she lost 2 toes but kept the rest of the leg.
With her recovery process going better than anyone had expected we were invited by the SHCA Trust to attend the 2008 National Specialty with her. We boarded a plane from Washington state to Washington DC.
The difference in her in just a few short years was nothing short of amazing. Shown here at the 2013 National in Midland Michigan its easy to see how far she had come. Diamond traveled with us to many National and Regional specialties. She loved every moment of it.
The special moments we shared will live on displayed proudly on our wall of achievements- She may be gone but will never be forgotten.
All of a sudden spring is upon us here in the Pacific Northwest. Which can only really mean one thing in a Siberian kennel....that summer blow out is on it's way! No we don't mean deep discounts, or flash sales. We mean that time of year when all of that undercoat our dogs grew in preparation for the cold of winter is getting ready to go. It also means some of the dogs are looking pretty homeless right about now. Its time to bust out the combs and fire up the drier because the fur is about to fly.
While some may think that this may be the opportune time to make an appointment at the grooming salon for a shave. Shaving is actually detrimental to the health of a Siberian as well as reduces the cooling capabilities they once had with their coat intact. In the warmer months the undercoat is much thinner and aids in trapping cooler air, insulating the dog from overheating as well as adding a protective layer for the skin against the sun.
We recommend a good grooming rake with tines at least 1" long to reach safely through the guard hair to pull the loose undercoat out without causing damage to the rest of the coat. A straight comb, or greyhound comb, can be a great help to separate the hair to allow for more breathability. Lastly, if you do have a double coated breed its suggestable to invest in a high velocity dryer. A HV dryer can help make quick(er) work of the fur storm, especially after a good bath!
Our model Denali looking fresh(er) after a quick brush and blow out - there's still more grooming to go, but he's closer to being summer time ready!
Enjoy the warmer weather and Happy Grooming!
We are devastated to announced that Enya left us suddenly after a brief battle with an unknown medical problem. We are still trying to make sense of everything but our veterinary team had narrowed down the possibilities to an autoimmune disorder or cancer. By the time they had come to these considerations she was extremely compromised and we decided to let her go with peace and dignity rather than prolong suffering with unknown expectations of recovery.
Enya joined the family in July of 2012 as a fiery little ball of fluff. We had aspirations of her being one of our next show prospects and potential foundation for the future of our kennel. While some plans didn't come to fruition she found her place in harness on our early sled teams. She took to her work in harness with enthusiasm and drive.
Enya brought many years of joy to our team and home. It is hard to imagine our kennel without her happy woos, her enthusiasm toward everything she took on, and her fiery spirit. Words cannot express the depth of our sadness having to have let her go so soon.
Enya has earned her Silver Harness and we know she is wearing it with pride - until we meet again baby bird, we miss you and love you.
January 1925, a Diphtheria outbreak in the town of Nome the cure 500 miles away in Anchorage. Planes were unable to fly in Alaska's extreme winter weather. Trains could make it as far a Nenana, The only option looked like the dog teams running the 650 mile freighting line, the Iditarod trail, a trip that would typically take a month for a single team a relay was the only real option. 20 Mushers volunteered to take on the "Great Race of Mercy" to help save the stricken residents of Nome.
Leonard Seppala and his 12 year old leader Togo were the first on the trail traveling 260 miles from Nome in just three days. The serum continued its journey being passed from team to team running legs of 24-52miles each finally reaching Seppala in Shaktoolik on January 31. The temperature was estimated at −30 °F and a wind chill of −85 °F when they departed. At Golovin, Seppala passed the serum to Charlie Olsen, who in turn would pass it to Kaasan and Balto to complete the final 50mi leg to Nome.
Kaasan's team lead by Fox and Balto came into Nome on February 2nd completing a monumental feat in just 127.5 hours. While its undisputed that Seppala's team, lead by Togo, took on the majority of the monumental task , Balto arriving with the Serum became a media sensation. Fearing that Fox would be mistaken to be a real fox Balto became the image of teamwork, courage, tenacity, and of hope.
The run is commemorated every March when sled-dog teams gather from around the world to participate in the Iditarod, a race that follows the serum-run route.
Ch Wanalancet's Baldy of Alyeska, one of the lesser known prolific dogs in the breed. Baldy is described as a tall, handsome blue-eyed sled-dog. A true testament to the breed.
Born in 1940, he was the great- grandson of Kreevanka, on ne of the last imports from Siberia. Baldy was a nicely proportioned male that went on to become the first Siberian to win the Working Group in 1941. He also became the foundation stud for Earl and Natalie Norris' famed Alaskan Kennels. From that stock the Norris' produced the first Best In Show Ch Alaskan's Bonzo of Anadyr, CD in 1955.
In February of 2019 I published a blog post with honest optimism that things were finally falling back into place for us. It seemed my partner's betrayals had maybe finally come to an end and we were slowly climbing back out of the hole we found ourselves in after multiple affairs and selfish acts had taken their tolls. Unfortunately that hope was short lived and things slid from bad to worse in many ways. Looking back some of what transpired is almost too unbelievable even for me to truly comprehend and I lived, or rather survived, the nightmare. Betrayed by people I once kept close to me and called my friends, let down by a breed community, and ultimately left broken by someone who was supposed to be my partner.
My original thoughts were to post my side of the narrative. Knowing the only people, or person, it would benefit would be my own heavy heart. Unfortunately the truth doesn't sell as well as the rumors did on the lips of those who really don't matter. The ones who are so miserable in their own situations they would rather gossip about others than actually reach out for eachother when there is an actual need. You see I never asked to end up in a domestic violence situation. Worried that every word or action would send us spiraling into another fight. I never wanted to be kicked out of my own home not knowing where to go or if my dogs were being cared for while I was not there. I didn't want to be embarrassed at work finding out my partner was having an affair with a co-worker and was subsequently fired for sexual misconduct. I never thought I would ever end up at a point of critical depression that I thought suicide might be the only way to stop the pain. I certainly never wanted to have to make the decision to sell equipment or having to ask friends and family to help buy dog food to make sure my dogs had food in their bellies, though sometimes it wasn't enough. Because of this I have been called weak for allowing myself to be abused and manipulated for as long as I was.
There have been others who have stood fast by our sides, helping us ultimately survive when times looked the most dire. The ones who have stood by us are there still. They know the pain, they know the truth, and they know how far we are going to have to go to rebuild everything we gave up or lost in effort to save something that was never salvageable. I will never forget the day I realized I was fighting for something that was gone. The moment I realized I was going to have to give up all of me to be nothing to him.
So, where do we go from here? The good news is I found my way out of a bad situation for me and the dogs I have remaining. Rightfully so I did have to give up some of the dogs for their best interest, though it was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. The only decision I would change is the one to contact the breeder of the higher maintenance dogs, assuming that option would have been available at the point I needed it most.
So what does 2021 look like for Keahi Siberians? Well, I'm happy to report we have a new partner who not only supports our vision but is engaged in learning everything he can about the dogs we love and the sports we are privileged to share with them. Together we have an up and coming Jr Musher/Handler, thats something I never thought I'd say! He has truly been a breath of new hope into a life that was once so dark and broken.
We have slowly stepped back into showing our dogs and rebuilding a vision I thought was all but lost. Its going to take time, but time is something we have and we will spend making new joyous memories. Look for us back on the trail in the 2021-2022 season and we cannot wait to share our future with our friends!
From all of us at Keahi Siberians- May your trails be smooth, May your runs be fast and safe, and may your dogs be happy Happy New Year
Growing up in Montana my love of the Siberian Husky started at a young age. It has been quite a journey so far. There has been much to learn and still a lot more yet to learn! I truly believe that we are never too old, too experienced, or too full of ourselves to learn something new. I also believe that knowledge is useless unless we are willing to share it with others.