Wednesday 22 August 2007

August 22, 2007 NorthWapiti Lines In Obedience (Brag)

- By Jackie Wepruk
I would like to take an opportunity to brag about some of our boys, which have close ties with Northwapiti, and show just how diversely talented these lines are. A few weeks back Triton (Tucoldturain's Triton - GroverxKadie) and Hugi (Northwapiti Tucoldturain Hugi CDX CGN APDT Rally Level 1 - StikerxBreezy) were each entered in Rally Obedience trials.

Rally obedience is a relatively new sport with trials through the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), and very recently starting through the Canadian Kennel Club. If you want to learn more the APDT website is a good resource ( There is another association - CARO - that also hosts trials.

Hugi was entered in the first ever CKC rally trial in Alberta. He received a perfect score of 100. There were a few perfect scores, so 1st place was determined by fastest time. Hugi did not have as fast a time as the 1st place dog, and other placings were not given out. However, Hugi now has one leg toward his Novice Rally title with CKC. Hugi is a sibling to Kara, Lokie and Odie.

The star was Triton, who was entered in two APDT Rally trials the same weekend and walked away with 2 High in Trials. A perfect score in APDT rally is 210. His first round was a 206. His second round - a 207, could have been perfect except for me! The last exercise is a bonus one for 10 points. Triton did it perfectly, but in my enthusiasm, I released him before putting his leash back on - 3 point deduction. Triton is a Grover son (which automatically makes him special).

The judge for Triton's second round is a gal who has been working with Karen & Dasher in rally obedience. So, I issued a 'challenge' to Karen through our judge that I want to see her in the rally ring. :-) It's public now,

Jackie Wepruk
Tucoldturain Siberians

Tuesday 21 August 2007

August 21, 2007 My Trip To NorthWapiti

- By Mary Uhlir

I have just returned from a visit to North Wapiti and had the express instructions from Karen to write a diary entry. Those of you who know me know that I am not much of a writer, but here goes anyway.

I haven’t been to Canada since I was a little girl. The first thing I noted on the drive from Calgary north was how clean Canada is. I’d heard that from other people but it was so nice to see. I was also amazed at how clean and organized everything was at North Wapiti.

Karen does such a great job with her diary entries that I felt that I knew many of the dogs even before I met them. Kind of like Karen, too. During the kennel tour I could recognize many of the dogs although, I’m still not sure I have all their names correct. Here at home I scoop what I consider a lot of poop so I never thought that I would enjoy scooping poop so much, especially so much poop. But it really gave me a chance to meet the dogs in a relaxed manner. During the initial kennel tour, Nate was so excited that you could see his whole body quivering. Later on, while I was cleaning up, he was still high energy but much easier to be around, which is saying quite a bit about Nate.

Poor Kara. She must really have wondered about this visitor. At least the princess showed benevolence. Years ago I had a good friend who had a dog named Cara, as in cara, mia. So each time I said her name Cara came out automatically to be self corrected with Kara. I am sure she had no idea why I consistently called her Cara Kara. But, as any good monarch she just smiled and carried on.

Kara’s puppies are 8 weeks old and Karen was bemoaning the fact that she still wanted to nurse them so she was keeping her out of their pen for awhile. Later on Karen and I were in the next pen playing with the Hillbillies and we see Kara holding a dead mouse in her mouth and circling the pen trying to find some way to get it to her “starving” puppies. Did she learn that from Bait?

On my last day, it appeared that she was beginning to think this nursing thing was getting old. She went into the puppy pen and stood on a support half way up the side of an “A” frame thinking that she could see the puppies but they couldn’t nurse. It worked for a few moments and then those smart puppies figured it out. I did get some pictures and hopefully you’ll be able to see them. Just pretend not to notice her rather sad coat. Even princesses blow after a litter.

Fly’s hair is growing out and he is looking quite handsome. Cricket is a sweetie with a huge Great Pyrenees head and large feet. I think I remember at one point when I asked Karen how Cricket was working out she said that Cricket “appears to be a Siberian in big, white hairy clothing”. Well I don’t think she can say that any more. On Thursday morning, quite early I heard that wild screaming of Siberians, not the usual group howl or bark of anticipation or interest, it was “the scream”. It quieted down quite quickly so I gathered either Mark or Karen had intervened. Well, it turns out that somehow a very fat muskrat had gotten into Cricket’s pen. It must have really wanted in as I had no idea they could squeeze through such small openings. The screaming seems to have been disgusted Siberians. The muskrat was dead but still whole. Any self respecting Siberian would have eaten it before it could be removed. In the light the next morning, I noticed that both Olena and Kluane in the adjoining pens had tried to dig into Cricket’s pen. I’m sure to eliminate all traces of the offending vermin.

The first morning it was cold enough for me to tag along on a training run. What an experience to sit behind Karen on the ATV with 14 athletes out ahead. They are awe inspiring, and it’s just the very beginning of the season. I run a small team here in Tucson and like to pat myself on the back for doing that. I’m always telling people that they have to run their dogs to really see their strengths and weaknesses, and how form affects function. But there is no comparison. What a fantastic experience.

A friend of mine, who has had Siberians for 30 years and is an AKC judge, met Karen for the first time in PA. He said ”I thought I knew a little bit about Siberians, but after meeting Karen I realize how little that actually is.” How true. The best part of the entire visit was being able to discuss all aspects of Siberians with such a knowledgeable and caring person.
- Photos from Mary's Trip -











Barq & Irving




Kara & her pups





Monday 20 August 2007

August 20, 2007 The Life of Kara

At the request of my very spoiled lead dog, I thought that I'd take a few moments to update everyone on 'The Trials and Tribulations of Kara'.

First off, I don't think I mentioned the stress we took out of Kara's life last fall. During the process of a few house renovations we had the smoke detector moved to a spot 'away' from the kitchen (our house is little, it isn't really 'away' from the kitchen - just not as close as before). It took months to convince Kara that my cooking and burning things was no longer going to cause the evil box to squeal. In fact, it was has only been the last month or so that she has relaxed to the point that now she heads INTO the kitchen to see if their might be any scraps for her when I'm in there rather then running for the screen door!

Life was good in Kara's world - then came The White Monster aka Cricket. Now Cricket has settled wonderfully into our family and is day-by-day turning more and more into a viable 'replacement' for Fly in the dogyard. She plays with all the dogs in the yard, walks nicely with puppies and loves Fly - she does, however, hate Kara. When you weigh 38 lbs - as Kara does - having a 90 + lb enemy is not good - even if you have the backing of your Mom and Dad.

There have been 2 incidents between Kara and Cricket. Both happened in front of me and were VERY quickly stopped. Kara had no injuries other then slobber on her fur, bruised pride and a crushed ego. There was no doubt that she was simply appalled that this had happened to her. It had just never occurred to her before that anyTHING would DREAM of actually attacking her.

Of course, there is nothing amusing about the incidents. We understand the dynamics that are creating this situation - we are treating it seriously and are actively working getting the two of them past this - but that is not what this entry is about.

What it is about and what is amusing is Kara's reaction to all this.

First off, you must remember that Kara is buck-naked after having her litter a few months ago. She has virtually no undercoat, just some scraggly guard hairs, so when she lifts the hackles on her neck and butt every time she sees Cricket, she looks much like Pumba, the Warthog in the Lion King. It's very hard not to giggle at her, but the killer looks she shoots me when I call her Pumba do stop me in my tracks.

It took a bit, but she has regained her confidence in the dog yard and, with hackles raised, trots back and forth from the house to visit her babies (who are still not entirely weaned). However, when she is in the house and Cricket is loose in the yard, Kara insists on remaining out of sight of all windows and doors. That limits her to my office, the bathroom and our bedroom. Watching her sneak from room to room is like watching an episode of 'Mission:Impossible'. Dund. dund, dund, dund..

Now, in order for the world to be in balance, if Kara has this added stress in her life, there must also be something good happening to her - and there is. It came in the form of the 'cat door' Mark installed in our screen door off the living room. Now, it is well known that Kara only tolerates the cats (or that is the official 'position') so how could a door allowing the cats to come and go at will bring so much joy to her life??

Well, I believe I mentioned in an earlier entry that Bait had begun bringing dead and partially dead things through the door and into the house. So now, the cat door has become some kind of special 'Special Delivery' window for Kara.

I'm not sure whether Bait is intentionally giving his kills to Kara - or whether she just takes them, but the pattern is now (on occasions that I foolishly leave the sliding door open when not in the room to enforce inspections when the cats come in) that I will hear the cat door flick, there will be a flurry of feet and toenails clicking on the floor, and then Kara will trot into my office smacking her lips.

The result is that Kara is quickly regaining the weight she lost nursing her puppies. I'm not sure I recommend the 'Bait Mouse and Shrew' diet for anyone looking to gain weight, but it is sure working for her - and keeping her happy while we work to resolve her conflict with Cricket!


Wednesday 15 August 2007

August 15, 2007 Roary's Burp

IOkay - first off, let me tell you all, this story has a very happy ending! No need to fear!

Yesterday afternoon I was giving a kennel tour. We were taking our time talking dogs and visiting with each one while we worked our way through the yard - the usual.

When we got up into the bitch section and started to walk over to Roary, she didn't seem all that happy to see us. I asked her what was wrong and she moved away from me to sit down in another section of her area. Not normal at all for our friendly little redhead.

I coaxed her to me and reached down to put my hands on her belly. As I touched her stomach and noticed it was tight as a drum, she let out a yip and moved away from me again. These symptoms are typical of bloat and torsion, very dangerous conditions in dogs. Roary's gum color was very good and she still seemed quite 'bouncy' for a dog to be in critical condition, but we take no chances. I called the vet, who as always, found room in their busy schedule for us and loaded Roary into the van. She was very happy on her walk to the van, but yipped a few more times, especially when I picked her up to load her into her crate. Mark and she headed off to Westlock. 

Apparently once they got to Westlock, she yipped again when Mark placed her on the scale. When he got her into the exam room, she let out a big burp as Mark put her on the exam table. When Collin started to go over her, she just stood there and wagged her tail at him. No tenderness in the belly, no tightness, no yipping. His professional opinion - "She had a fart go 'sideways'" - and the burp had fixed her.

Mark paid the bill and drove the 40 minutes back to Perryvale. Roary is a red dog already, but I'm hoping under that red fur she at least had the decency to be blushing about the whole incident!


Tuesday 14 August 2007

August 14, 2007 Signs Of Fall

It is that time of year that the signs of fall and it's successor, winter are starting to creep up on us. The odd trees are already being touched by brush strokes of yellow, the blueberries are thick and heavy on the branches - with bears, birds and humans packing them away for the winter in one way or another. Mornings are starting to get cool and we are back to (thankfully) pulling the down comforter over us each evening. Puttering through the woods on my 4 wheeler the other day I got a whiff of that wonderful earthy aroma that is fall's signature fragrance - but the one big thing up here that tells us that winter is approaching is the arrival of darkness. See for most of the summer, despite my habit of getting up ridiculously early, I rarely see the night sky.

Although we are not Alaska, on June 21st we experience 19 hours and 13 minutes a day of 'illumination' here in Athabasca. With the actual sunrise occurring at 3:56 AM and sunset at 9:14 PM.

December 21 we have a whooping 8 hours 44 minutes of illumination, with sunrise at 8:54 AM and sunset at 4:08 PM.

(All Data courtesy of

It is funny how the hours of light being taken over by dark just sort of creeps up on you without notice until some sort of break in your routine jars it to the front of your brain. This year, for me, it was the trip to Pennsylvania. The morning after getting home from there I was shocked to realize that now, rather then getting up to the morning rays of sun and chirping birds, when Mark's alarm went off at 4:30 AM, it was to silence and the night sky. Not a problem, both are beautiful things, but what was shocking was that I hadn't noticed it sneaking up on us.

The other night we were over at the Husch homestead for dinner and didn't get home to feed dogs until alittle after 9 PM (normally they are fed at 8 - and trust me, they were well aware that their dinner was late. It think Fly was trying to break into the house to call the SPCA to report the fact that we were out 'gallivanting' and they were all starving to death because of it!). By the time we picked up the last bowls and spend a few minutes visiting with the puppies, our little solar powered front lights were glowing away.

This morning as I sit in my office tapping away at my computer keys at 5:30, I can just make out the outlines of the trees against the lightening morning sky outside my window (yes, these are the same trees that are interfering with my satellite internet dish - but they are lovely to gaze out at).

Not that I'm complaining - darkness is the element of long distance sled dogs and long distance mushers. The return of the night sky means the return of dog teams in my life.

You often hear fall compared to a 'winding down' and winter compared to a sleep, an end - or even as horrible a thing as death. But here it is different. Fall is the rebirth,; winter is life. Fall is full of promise, hopes, dreams and plans - winter is our time.

I embrace and welcome back the darkness. It inspires me and starts the fire burning inside. Soon it will be winter - and that is what the dogs and I live for!


Saturday 11 August 2007

August 11, 2007 Training Begins!

As any of you on our NorthWapiti News mailing list have heard, Ronny left the Kennel this past Wednesday to pursue other adventures. 

We certainly wish him well in his travels.
That has, of course, made us shorthanded – and me overworked – so we are again looking for kennel help. Anyone interested or knowing anyone that might be interested and suitable is encouraged to contact me.
Of course, as soon has we became shorthanded, the temperatures plummeted and I’ve been running dogs everyday this week. Lots of work – but great for everyone spirits!
I had started off this season alittle concerned about what I was going to have for lead dogs this year. Not that I don’t have a lot of dogs that lead – I do, but I’m talking about that ‘superstar’ leader that really ‘make’ a dog team. Grover, Snickers and Kara have been that for us the last few years and with Grover and Snickers gone – and Kara on the verge of retirement, I was really concerned about whether I was going to find THE leader to take this very good pool of dogs over the top. After the last two mornings, I am not quite so concerned! 

Yesterday I hooked Q and Charge up in lead. Their performance was simply dazzling! As stubborn and hardheaded as Charge is, he is very keen to please in lead. He seems to take missing a command very personally and keys well off of his co-leader – all while keeping the same drive and power that made him such an asset back in the team last year.

Q has really stepped up his game this year and is turning into a very solid and dependable young leader. He rarely misses a command and is always leaning hard into his harness. At the end of the run, while Charge constantly had to be reminded to keep the line out tight while I was unharnessing and putting away dogs, Q got sick of being pulled around and finally dropped to the ground in the middle of the trail doing his best impression of a rock. It was a very effective way to deal with his young co leader trying to drag him all over and he got heaped with praise for his inventiveness. 

This morning I tossed young Spider up front with Sprite. As Sprite was off last season raising a litter of puppies, I keep forgetting that she is a young lady coming into her prime. The run was simply flawless. They are wonderfully fast and responsive leaders and it was simply a delight to drive them this morning! I’ve added our dreaded ‘Widowmaker’ trail with it’s steep hills back into our run and was pleased as could be to feel the power coming down the line on those climbs!
Very promising!
As the runs are up to 5 miles now, I’m going to have to drag the water trough back out into the woods sometime this week and start stopping for a nice water break before upping the mileage again.
So, if any of you went to look at my Picassa online album after our PA trip – you will see that we took a detour on the way home to visit Cabelas biggest store, which is located in Hamburg, PA. Truly cool! Before I tell you about the cool things we found there, let me tell you a story about going there.
On Friday, as we were driving from Hamilton down to Niagara Falls we drove through Ontario’s wine country. I do love wine and asked Mark if maybe we could spend Monday night on our way home at a B&B in wine country. Despite not being a wine or B&B guy, he graciously agreed. 

Then right before my talk on Sunday, I heard that we were only an hour away from this huge Cabelas store. When Mark asked on Monday morning what our plans for the day were, I replied “Cabelas” without any hesitation. When we were driving back through PA on our way home later that day, Mark was having a good laugh. When I asked what that was about he said he couldn’t believe that his wife chose a couple hours shopping at Cabelas over an evening at a B&B in wine country. What can I say?? I am what I am!!!!
Anyway, both of us had a blast at the Cabelas store. It is simple HUGE and overwhelming, but despite that I found a number of needed treasures, including a couple new knives and nice new leatherman tool (this one will even cut through cable gangline) to replace the ones I left in Grayling on Iditarod last year. I played with some new LED headlamps, but nothing was top end enough for my needs. However, my favorite new toy is simply too cool not to talk about!! 

I know in the past I’ve chatted on about loving my wireless outdoor thermometer that allows me to check the outside temps in the morning to see if it is cool enough to run dogs without getting out of bed, well, I love it so much that I just couldn’t imagine finding one that I loved MORE – but it has happened. 

See this spring, my weather station somehow got it’s brain fried and keep telling me it was –33 out. I know it gets cool here, but not –33 in MAY! I bought a couple new systems but all seemed to be missing something – like the one that didn’t have a light on it, making me turn on my bedside lamp to check temps, so I had just been sort of making do for awhile until I found a good one. Well at Cabelas I found one that actually projects the time and temperature onto my CEILING!!! How SWEET is that!! Now I don’t even have to dig my arm out of the blankets to turn on the weather station light, I can just open my eyes and glance up at the ceiling! I’m in LOVE!
All else around the kennel is pretty much routine. The pups are all growing like crazy. Klu’s kids are evil with See usually leading on that trail. When I got back from my run this morning, the ‘Crees’ had all dug their way into their Mom’s run (which is right next to theirs) – well all except for Utin – he doesn’t like following his sisters. I think he knows they are bad news! Anyway, Kluane was giving them a pretty rough time and they don’t seem in any kind of hurry to dig under again since I’ve moved them back and filled the hole. I guess Klu figures once they have moved out they should stay out!
Sukih is actually moving to Connecticut to live with former NorthWapiti residents Whinny, Magnum and Flare at Kazlo Siberians. Tara is coming up to the kennel later in September for a visit and will take Sukih home with her then.
The Hillbillies are all weaned, but still hanging out with their Mom. Fritter and Roscoe seem to be the most outgoing kids in that group, but still hard to really tell at this age.
Kara’s little daughter, Beauty is proving to be very aptly named – not only is she gorgeous, she has a tremendous personality. All of those ones look pretty similar, so when friends are over and pick up one of those pups they will inevitably ask which one they are holding. I don’t even look anymore – if one puppy is being held – it is Beauty. She seems to make sure she is always in the right spot to be scooped off the ground.
We actually went ahead and bred one more litter for the fall. I usually don’t breed girls this late in the season and it is unusual for us to have 4 litter in a year, but I really wanted this breeding, so I figured I should just do it. Mom is Olena and Dad is Crunchie! Yes, this will be Crunchie’s first litter. She is due around the 20th of September - I can’t wait. I was thinking yesterday that I could feel a bit of a swell in her belly, but it could still be wishful thinking.

Well, I must run – many kennel chores to get to this afternoon!

Saturday 4 August 2007

4 August 2007 NorthWapiti's Finnegan

Gone...but not forgotten
NorthWapiti's Finnegan
(NorthWapiti's Q x NorthWapiti's Sprite)
October 10, 2006 - August 4, 2007
I waited a long time for 'the' puppy to bear this special name from my childhood. Finnegan was showing every indication that he was going to grow up and live up to our high hopes for him. Sadly, this past weekend, the promise of this young man was suddenly lost.

Rest well, my young friend. You are very missed.
Major Races
Current Working Status
Rainbow Bridge Member

Finnegan's Photo Gallery
(click to enlarge image - hold mouse over image for description)
Casey with brother Finnegan