Denali didn’t come from the most prestigious breeder. He didn’t have the flashiest pedigree. He accumulated more than his fair share of controversy along the way. Denali didn’t know any of this. What Denali did know was he was loved, he got to travel and do fun things that many dogs don’t get to experience in their lifetimes, and he accomplished quite a bit in his life. Beyond any of this he was my companion, a cherished pet, and avid athlete. He accompanied me on many hikes, trails, errands, and pretty much anything else. He was fantastic gentile friend for our toddler and we had hoped that he would be our oldest’ s introduction to the show ring this fall. Time had other plans for us.
Denali was our first show dog and ultimately became the first AKC Champion in our kennel. For his critics it wasn't enough. I had members of the parent club telling me to neuter him, re-home him, get rid of him since you don’t fill your kennel with garbage….based solely on who his breeder was. I was told that he would never be a quality dog and to give up on him…it was difficult for me being new to the show world to understand why people took such a dislike to my dog and why they felt it was justifiable to be so cruel about it.
While people were focusing on who he came from and how unassuming his pedigree appeared Denali excelled in a variety of harness sports. Originally running on the team as one of my first lead dogs- eventually he would find his home in wheel as it was pretty undeniable he was a powerhouse worker. Having found he also performed well in weight pull it was obvious where he belonged on the team.
While receiving this dog as a gift from someone who ultimately took a chance on a novice Siberian owner and refusing to throw him away when told to may have cost me a great deal in reputation….Ultimately I wouldn’t trade the experience of having him for the world. From the show ring, to weight pull, dryland and dog sledding, pack hikes, and multiple trips around the country….Denali may not have been everyone’s cup of tea but he was one heck of a first show dog, companion and best friend.
You left us too soon my dear friend…you are missed so very much. Your boy still asks where his DD is, and that my friend is a mark of the goodest boy if there ever was. Rest easy and were your Silver Harness with pride. You have earned it.
AKC CH Kaniska’s Ashen Hotshot Denali
11/25/2010 - 03/13/2023
While we knew this day was coming its never one you can really prepare for. The day we have to say goodbye to our loved members of the family. Tikaani left us sometime in the night on February 26th peacefully in his house with his family near by. Age had finally caught up with the last of our wolf dogs and took him quickly. Our boys are finally together north of the rainbow bridge.
Tikaani came to us in early 2009, just months after we had been a part of a large scale rescue effort of a wolf dog breeding program that had lost their owner. Tikaani was found wandering in the same area and shared many features of the dogs from the rescue - figuring he was from the same kennel we took him in. He was reserved but good natured. He bloomed into a gentile loving companion. He welcomed all of our young additions to the kennel with tail wags and playful antics. Its hard to imagine not having Tikaani to welcome our future kennel additions….without a doubt this boy has left a large hole in our hearts. We are happy he was able to go in peace at home with his family that loved him.
The following night we were blessed with one of the best displays of the Northern Lights we have ever seen this far south. We take solace knowing that he has found his way home and is dancing with the rest of his ancestors North of the Rainbow Bridge.
Priest lake Race recap
The last time we ran a dog team at Priest Lake was in 2016. The year before life came crashing down around me and life itself became incredibly uncertain. This year it was with great pride we took to the trail with our dogs for the 6 dog sprint. While we weren’t out there to break any land speed records we were there having a great time running our team and enjoying the company of some fantastic mushers we are so privileged to share the trails with.
Like so many others its been a challenging year keeping dogs on the trails for us. With the inconsistent weather, heavy snows ruined by heavy rains and quickly disappearing trails…I had worried that we may not have had the training to run even the 6 dog 6 mile race. Thankfully it appeared the dogs had the training and the incentive to run a consistent pair of days! Our times were among some of our better times this season showing great improvement over the early fall runs of last year. There were some down right beautiful moments on the trail, and I couldn’t help but to just be proud of us getting back on the trail despite some of the bumps in the path we’ve had to overcome. While the team looks a lot different than the last time I ran, Keegan being the only dog on our team with any sled racing experience, it was nice to see the dogs that have been so much of my heart over the years doing something they were bred to do and doing it well.
The race also provided another proud moment for us as breeders. Our first Bred-By puppy Phoenix put on her harness and ran in her first race behind her parents Keegan and Maddie. She shows a lot of great potential and had some wonderful opportunities to get some much needed positive socialization amongst other dogs and people. Overall I was very happy to see her blooming and growing in confidence with each day and each passing mile on the trail. She maintained a good attitude and tight tug line the entire time, there were even a couple of moments where she looked like she was going to out run my main leaders - maybe she’ll be the next generation on the front of the team, she certainly has the genetic aptitude for the role!
Not to be outdone, I want to take a moment to highlight another special member of the main team this year. Sakari is our only rescue dog to run on our main team. Over the summer last year Sakari and a companion (who was sadly never recovered) were posted as a pair of local troublemakers in our area. They were harassing local livestock and killing wild turkeys. Their days were numbered as a number of our neighbors were calling for the pair to be shot. A local contacted me alerting me to having contained the white female but not having seen her companion since earlier that morning. I felt that we needed to help this troubled girl before she met the likely same fate as her friend. While we searched for her owner, no one ever came forward to claim her. She was shy, not well socialized, and lacked a lot of manners, and she was incredibly thin. After vetting and some weight management and conditioning we decided to see if she could be rehabilitated through harness work. Seeing the complete transformation in this girl in just a few short months has been such a wonderful source of pride. From shying away from contact to jumping into my arms and enthusiastically into harness to run with the team….just pure joy.
On the second day just a few yards down the runway I could see Gypsy’s gait was indicating she was not feeling well. She had dropped back a couple of times the day before but always threw herself back into her harness. This time there was something different. I slowed the team and got them onto the main trail and past where the other 6 dog teams would be coming back onto the main trail to stop and put her in the bag for the rest of the trip. She was not happy about having to ride in the bag at first but eventually did settle. We did crash once when she shifted her weight in the bag as we hit a hard corner on the back loop- thankfully it was a soft landing and we were able to recover quickly. Our times were relatively unchanged so that was positive. We had the race vet check her out once we got back. She got prescribed rest and relaxation for most likely a strain in her rear. She should have a full and speedy recovery- another positive bit of news.
Overall I don’t know if we could have had a better weekend with our dogs. They came in each day with tight lines and big smiles. This race was exactly what we needed to see this is where we are supposed to be- We are already making plans for future training, racing, and what comes next for us in dogs. Stay tuned! We’re excited to share our upcoming adventures
Oh there are so many GOOD things to start 2023! Its hard to choose where to begin- so I think I’ll start with the biggest accomplishment so far. After 7 LONG years I stepped onto the runners of my sled and hit the trails with 6 of the most amazing dogs I have the pleasure to share life with. It has been such a joy to be back on the winter trails! This is largely possible through the love, support, and encouragement of my husband Zach. Without him I’d be lost. While we have a lot to improve upon to get back to the performance we had experienced at the end of our running oh too many years ago, its still a cause for many smiles-
We also welcome our oldest Kyler onto the trails! Kyler comes from my husband’s prior marriage and is turning 10 this year. Kyler has been doing a lot with the dogs and wanting to learn more- he was able to run in his first race last fall on the scooter but the sled has brought some additional learning opportunities. So far he is showing great potential as a budding mini-musher. His confidence is growing leaps and bounds with each outing!
Additionally I have to share that my husband has also taken to wanting to learn how to run dogs. On one of our last outings he has taken the smaller team out to share our trail adventures. While the little team isn’t quite able to keep up with us yet, I’m sure in time he’ll be passing us with ease. It has been beyond fantastic to have someone who shares my passions and wants to participate in the world that I love so much and had feared I had lost. Seeing my family grow in the sport brings me great joy and I see many memories being made together!
The biggest news is probably the addition of our newest member of the team. Welcome Stryker! Stryker comes to us from Highlander Siberians and is poised to be the next generation of show and sled adventures. Stryker is a fantastic blend of conformation and working lines. He is already showing what a smart boy he is and is fast to pick up on our expectations. While he has a ways to go before he can step into a harness this is exciting to see! He also has a lovely temperament, we can see his sweet and gentile as he plays with
December 02, 2022
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.
End of 2021 wrap up
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!
Diamond In The Ruff
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.
The Fur Is Flying
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!
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.