BrownStone Chinooks is devoted to fostering the excellent health and wonderful temperament of Chinook dogs. Hard-working Chinooks excel in many activities such as agility, obedience, back yard play, hiking, dog powered sports, search and rescue, and as service dogs. The affectionate Chinook is an excellent family dog matching its activity level to that of its companions - be it strenuous exercise or snuggling on the couch.
Last Sunday was to be Christmas card photo day. Sled on van - check. Red coats, harnesses and Santa hats in van - check. "Not even a tiny patch of white anywhere and raining" call from Dave up at the ski area. Take
picture of disappointed dogs and van before unloading sled, coats, hats and harnesses - check.
Yesterday, I was determined to get a Christmas card photo. I re-loaded the sled, harnesses, coats, hats, camera, dogs and Dave into the van and headed off to the highest place we could drive to in the local Cascade mountains - the Willamette Pass Ski Area. I had arranged to meet up with Tule Loowit and her family.
"TULE IS HERE!" The dogs were ecstatic when we arrived and could care less about the lack of snow. They were free to run, play and explore together.
Tule picking on her brother Trask
While Sarah, Greg and Dave were conducting Ski Patrol candidate training, the dogs led me up the hill in search of a Christmas tree.
This is not snow. It is hoarfrost but it is white. Trask was beside himself with excitement at being in harness.
Try as hard as they might, Team Nookies could not make the sled go. Of course Dave standing on the brakes hindered their progress - and saved the runner surface.
Can't beat 'um - join 'um.
Snuggle Boy Trask
Now that's a handsome team and driver.
Next was Tule, Sarah, and Greg's turn. Tule Loowit figured out right away that it would be easier to ride on the sled than pull it.
CH "PR" Moonsong Cedar River Touchdown, CGC, WSD (Cedar) is 8 years old.
I really was not expecting to buy another Chinook. After all I had the Magnificent McKenzie and Silly Willy. Then a friend, Jackie, asked if I would like to ride to Seattle with her to look at a litter. I was smitten.
Soon Cedar - "Moonsong" from Moonsong Chinooks; "Cedar River" because my Chinooks are named after rivers chinook salmon live in and she was born near the Cedar River; "Touchdown", because she was part of the Moonsong "quarterback" litter - joined McKenzie and Willy and her sister Zita joined McKenzie's 1/2 sister Rosie at Jackie's home. Jackie and I both being nurses and having a preference for down-ears, decided we should have the combined skill to train Zita and Cedar's ears to go down. After a lot of research, we decided on the nickle/moleskin method. Jackie and I have a lot of nickles lost in our yards. Cedar and Zita have distinctive up-ears.
People always ask "how I tell my dogs apart"? I say "the ears". At first Cedar's ears were almost as big as she was.
They made her stand out when we went to the mountains.
They provided shelter from the rain in the woods.
Even at 2 years old, Cedar's ears were outstanding.
But she was also developing into a real beauty. Graceful, sweet tempered and beautiful enough to take National Champion of Champions when compared in confirmation to all other Chinooks at the National Specialty.
Yes she turned into quite a beauty...
and a catch. She had no trouble attracting a sire for her first litter. They were whelped during the Iditarod Race thus became the BrownStone Iditarod litter with each of the puppies named after checkpoints along the trail.
Except for the nursing part once the little ones got their sharp teeth, Cedar adored her puppies.
Pregnancy became her.
Cedar developed into an athletic beauty...
who I could take with me anywhere.
Unfortunately her second pregnancy ended tragically. We lost Silly Willy and her 10 puppies to an unknown toxin.
But she sprang back.
She taught daughter BrownStone Iditarod Koyuk to mush. (She is easy to spot).
They also pull my dryland rig.
My beautiful, sweet Cedar.
One year ago on her 7th birthday.
Running on her 8th birthday with her grandson, BrownStone Cascade Mt Trask (Trask)
As I write it seems like I am producing a eulogy. Far from it. Sweet Cedar with her up-right ears should be running in the woods and on the snow; snuggling as tightly as she can get in bed at night; flashing smiles guaranteed to garner treats and; training her daughter Koyuk and grandson Trask on the finer points of being a Chinook for many years to come.
The Willamette Valley has the kind of cold that chills to the bone - damp cold. With another huge rainstorm predicted for tomorrow, today became the annual holiday greens gathering day. Every year Kerstin and I head to the woods for wreath and swag making materials. Klara and Lupin joined us today.
McKenzie's daughter, 11 year old, Lupin kept up with the other dogs all the way over the ridge and back.
Poor Klara is just the right height for Trask's unbridled affection. After she slipped, he just lowered himself and continued the kissing.
Yesterday, November 31, was in the low 20's. I decided to change up the exercise routine and take the dogs for a run to the back pond. The dogs flew in the cold weather. Taking pictures while wearing winter gloves and racing along proved almost futile
The skim of ice on the pond did not stop the dogs from playing in the water.
I finally coerced them into posing for a picture...
which of course means a Pavlovian response as soon as the camera clicks.
Then it was back into the water.
Trask blowing bubbles.
Happy Nooks back on the trail toward home.
I love Trask's ears.
The trip back included more exploring.
Without the visibility vests, the three dogs would disappear just feet of the trail.
It was cold enough to see Cedar's breath; freeze the camera shutter and put my gloves on for the remainder of the trip home.
Today, December 1, we awoke to deep hoarfrost covered with freezing rain which quickly turned into a ceaseless deluge of pouring rain at 34 degrees. The dogs spent their day alternating between playing Chinook tag in the rain and lounging by the fire. I took advantage of the dismal weather by putting up holiday decorations.