SNOW DOGS AND SNOW DAYS

SNOW DOGS AND SNOW DAYS

SNOW DOGS AND SNOW DAYS

Like many of you, I have had enough of the cold and snow. But there are certain members of my family who can’t seem to get enough of it—my beautiful, sometimes stubborn and always energetic Siberian Huskies.  My love of this breed began 12 years ago when I found myself going through a sort of “empty nest” phase of my life. My two oldest children had grown up and left home, and I found that even though I still had a 10-year-old in the house, I had a lot more free time.  What better to do with that free time than go buy myself the dog I had always wanted, a Siberian Husky.  What started with one dog has now become 10 dogs and a wonderful hobby/business known as Howling Ridge Huskies.  Our “pack” consists of Buddy, Thor, Tundra, Boo Bear, Mystic, Zoey, Stormy, Marlee, Abby and Luna.  I have met many wonderful people, and made many lasting friendships, thanks to our dogs. Siberian Huskies are considered a medium sized breed, and can be any color from solid white to solid black.  They are, of course, known for their stunning blue eyes, but can also have brown eyes, green eyes or bi-eyes (for instance, one blue eye and one brown eye).  They have a thick fur undercoat and are able to withstand temperatures of -65 degrees, so the weather we are having right now is actually quite comfortable for them.  They are extremely intelligent, but can also be very stubborn and headstrong, which is why they are not always the breed for everyone.  They also do not make good watch dogs because they are seldom mean, tend to like everyone and, in fact, are known to be very loving and affectionate.  Legend has it that women of the Chukchi tribe in Siberia designated certain dogs to remain at camp with their families to act as companions and guardians for the small children, while the other dogs were trained by the men of the tribe to be sled dogs.  The AKC classifies them as a working breed, and they are extremely strong for their size, have a lot of endurance and love having a job to do. I bet you are wondering what do you do with 10 dogs.  Well…we do have a dog sled, but have not quite mastered the art of hooking all 10 of them up at once; however, we have been able to get a few of them harnessed at the same time to cooperate.  I do have a couple of them that think it would be more fun to ride on the sled instead of pulling it. We also enjoy visiting the Pre-K and Head Start programs at Cameron Elementary every winter when they study arctic animals, educating the school children and anyone else who will listen to us about this breed. We have also participated in pet shows.  For several years we were also members of the St. Clairsville, Ohio Kennel Club, and assisted with their annual dog show. One of the families we will forever have a lasting friendship with is the Dunn family of Kittanning, Penn.  Allen is an active, competitive musher, and I am very proud to say that three members of his team came from our kennel.  In 2012, Allen and his team competed in a 60-mile race at the prestigious Can-Am Crown International Sled Dog Race in Kent, Maine.  At that time, his team consisted of purebred Siberian Huskies.  Since that time, he has begun training with Alaskan Huskies, which are not purebred, but rather a mixed breed (usually a Siberian Husky mixed with anything else that can run fast, such as a Greyhound).  The Alaskan Huskies tend to be faster and perform better than the purebred Siberian Huskies.  The Can-Am Crown draws mushers and teams from all over the United States and Canada. So even though we have had enough of this weather, there are those out there who really enjoy it. Thankfully, however, Spring is just around the corner!