So, with the exception of the 'Explosion' litter, whose are still too small, every soul that calls NorthWapiti home is 'Inked'.
I actually have 5 tattoos - four are pawprints on my left leg - one to signify every Iditarod I've finished (an idea stolen from the Dixie Chicks, who have a small 'chicken print' on their feet for each gold record - and encourage by Colleen, who is a very bad influence on me!) - and a small, stylized husky head with a maple leaf on my left arm.
Mark has three - a lovely maple leaf on his right arm, the coolest Snoopy tattoo you've ever seen on his left arm, and a wedding band tattooed on his left ring finger (I know, how sweet is that!! The guys a the tattoo shop thought he was CRAZY - and they all have holes and tattoos in places I would easily call crazy!)
Bait has an ID tattoo that the local vet clinic put in when he was neutered. Tic...well Tic has his deceased brother Tac's name tattooed in his ear. Yeah, I really can't explain that except to say that it was Mark that dropped him off at the clinic to be neutered and filled out the forms. "Why didn't you just get his name put in his ear?", I queried. "It's a tribute to his bro. Who gets their own name tattooed on them?." Mark replied. But of course (I'm still shaking my head).
Cricket has a tattoo from the rescue group she came from and when Bet was spayed a few weeks back I had 'EFT BET' put in her ear (that will become understandable as you read on).
And that leaves the Siberians.
In Canada it is illegal to have a purebred dog leave the breeders property without being tattooed or microchipped. Every country in the world should have this law - it would certainly help lost dogs find their way home and be of SERIOUS help to rescue groups - as well as making it harder for unethical breeders to turn their backs on the dogs they have produced over the years.
We have a number of chipped dogs and I think chips are great, but I like something visible on the dog that identifies it without the aid of technology. So every NorthWapiti dog sports a tattoo.
Canadian Kennel Club tattoos can be in one of four spots on the dog - left ear, right ear, right flank and left flank. Ours are done in the left ear.
The tattoo begins with a 3 character series that identifies the breeder. Our tattoo combination (assigned by the CKC) is 'EFT'. Then they have a number that indicated what puppy it was born to that breeder in a given year. The last character is a letter which indicates the year the pup was born. This year's letter is 'X'. So when Todd, the first born NorthWapiti puppy in 2010 was tattooed today, his tat read 'EFT 1X'
Here is Sherwood (EFT 3X) showing off his...
And Hambone (EFT 4X)....
And Fletch (EFT 2X)...
NorthWapiti residents that were not born in Canada have our tattoo combination and a number indicating the number dog they were imported by the kennel without the 'year letter', in their left ear (for example Runner's tattoo is 'EFT 16')
The tattoo is done with a specialized clamp. I have no doubt it hurts for a second, but in moments they are busy chewing on each other and acting like obnoxious normal puppies! They actually screamed as much when we trimmed their nails earlier today as they did when the tattoos were done.
I think a few moments of discomfort for a lifetime of security is a good trade. I always want my NorthWapiti kids to be able to find their way home if they need too!!