Folks often ask me why there are so many Eskies in rescue.  The phrase "human stupidity" comes to mind...but, I realize that I should provide a fuller and less incendiary explanation.  The story of our Chiara will help me do just that.

Last summer, I was contacted by a New York City priest who was at his wit's end with his one year old female Eskie.  Now...I admit, I was scared.  This demon dog had exhausted the patience and tolerance of a man who is responsible for putting a lid on human sin.  And, it seemed to me, since I believe that human sin is infinite, that this sin-buster must have had an exalted capacity for patience and tolerance.  So, I was struck dumb at the horrible possibilities presented by the  twenty pound bitch who had brought this seasoned sin-buster to his wit's end. 

Father M. reported to me that Chiara was untrainable.  Only one year old, she had raised holy hell in his home, despite his best efforts and the efforts of a professional trainer.  The litany of Chiara's offences was impressive, including chewing a hole in the kitchen wall.  I wondered how in the world this dog could be so screwed up in one year.  Soon, I had my answer.

Father M. had purchased Chiara from a local pet store.  Ok. comes the obligatory rant. In this day and age, when it is clear that the impulse purchase based, pet store puppy selling process has produced such huge numbers of unwanted dogs, I am shocked that these stores are still allowed to operate, and dumbfounded that any reasonable person would support this process with their puppy purchase.  Of course, no reputable breeder would put their pups in a pet store, so it is a safe conclusion that pet shop puppies come from the vast numbers of puppy mills across the country...many of which are illegal operations that violate local animal husbandry and cruelty laws. 

Oops, I've just tripped over my soapbox....but, nonetheless, Father M's situation is a typical one.  Chiara is an extremely high energy puppy, who was integrated into a household where there was already an aging Lhasa Apso who was losing her battle with cancer. Imagine foisting a puppy on a senior!   Factor in owners who have a hectic schedule, limited time to spend with Chiara, and no capacity to provide leadership, and you have the breeding ground for behavior quirks of the colossal order.  Chiara bloomed right on schedule.
I agreed to take Chiara, but was undecided about which foster home would be able to perform the exorcism.  Ultimately, I wanted her to reside with our foster mom, Melanie, who had adopted Cherokee James from us the previous year, but, Melanie was a new foster mom, and it seemed wise to meet and evaluate Chiara before we foisted Chiara on her.  It was time to draft Janine.

Janine is our fearless foster mom, who has adopted just about every incorrigible Eskie reprobate we have had.  Her pack looks like the Eskie version of the Dead End she would be the best person to meet Chiara first.  I gave Janine the big cautionary build-up on Chiara and awaited anxiously for her report. Oops, nevermind....Janine chortled as she pronounced Chiara a doll, and wondered what the hell the problem was in the first place.  Well, that is the benefit of perspective.  When you have a dog pack like Janine's, you are always underimpressed.

Chiara made her way to Melanie, who also gave her two thumbs up.  This dog was a natural charmer who was blossoming with each day.  Simple changes like leash walking and proper exercise, structure and discipline were transforming Chiara.  We were ready to begin looking at adopters for her.

Cherokee James, Melanie's Eskie, had a paw in Chiara's training.

Really, there was only one choice. When Penny and Dan contacted me from Connecticut, I made an instant adoption decision. I would give these folks any dog they wanted, and have since recruited them as foster parents. Penny's big passion is agility competition and obedience training. Let's face it...the American Eskimo Dog is a buttinsky breed, and will get into your business quickly, if he or she doesn't have a job. Agility is the best job possible, short of circus work, which seems to be in short supply. Penny's passion has translated into several blue ribbons for her champion girl, Becky, who continues to wow the competitive agility circuit.

The day was set for Chiara's adoption, and Melanie and I met to transport Chiara from upstate New York to central Connecticut.  When I reached Penny and Dan's home, I was delighted to meet Becky, champion Eskie and her older housemate, Abby, a very opinionated Sheltie. Penny's dogs are beautifully trained offleash, and I was getting that "home run adoption" vibe.  The dogs got on well initially, and we went inside to chat further.  And...there it was....and it left me speechless...the "Wall of Fame," on which all of Becky's awards and titles were proudly displayed.  I was humbled in the face of such canine competence.

Suffice it to say, this adoption is a home run...perhaps one of our best success stories ever.  For a dog to grow from pain in the ass into an agility competitor in under a year is astounding, and reflects the unbridled potential in this beautiful and talented breed.  Here are some of Penny's reports:

August 18, 2007

Hi Denise,

I can't believe that we have only had Chi for 1 week as of today. What a week! She is such a sweet, lovable dog. I received the health records from Janine yesterday, please tell her Thank you. I went through them last night. She actually had her AKC Registration # and her Microchip# and a copy of her Pedigree in there. So I just have to call the AKC on Monday and see if she was ever registered. I think the previous owner got the paperwork, but never filled it out and sent it in.  We looked at her Sire and decided to change her name. Her father is McIntosh's Arctic Prince, so her Registered name is Sunstruck's Arctic Breeze, with a call name of Breezy. She likes Breezy better. Chiara just didn't fit her. Too stuffy!  She is a ball of energy, and Breezy describes her better.

She now walks like a lady on the leash. She is so easy to train. She sits at attention at the front door and waits until I tell her it is ok to go out, instead of just barging her way out. She knows that in order to go for a walk (yes, she knows that word already) she has to sit while I put her leash on. This week we are going to work on the "Down" and maybe "Shaking Hands". She has come a LONG way is just 7 short days! This week we are also introducing her to some Agility equipment to see how she likes it.

She is quite the little celebrity at the store. She loves everybody! We haven't met a customer that she doesn't like yet. She automatically goes into her crate for her nap. We keep the crate door open all day, so she can go in when ever she wants. That is like her "nest" now. Whenever she is tired, she goes in her crate. I still have the big crate set up in our living room. She loves that one too, because it is large enough for her plus one of the cats who has adopted her. It is funny to see her and Jeffery curled up together in the crate. She lays on him, steps on him, uses him for a pillow, and he doesn't care one bit.
Dan & I can't thank you enough for allowing her to join our family. She feels like she has always been a part of it.

September 5, 2007

Hi Denise,

Here are the latest pics of the crew. Tiko is filling out nicely, good weight and FLUFFY!!! He is such a good boy! He has that special sparkling personality that just makes you want to snuggle with him all day. He loves snuggling too! He is good with kids, still a little leary of big men, but the little guy has come a long way.

Breezy is growing like a weed! I swear she has grown an inch taller! She was in to see the vet the other day, (just routine checkup) and the vet commented, she is all legs! We take her this month to have her hips and elbows x-rayed. As long as her X-Rays come back clean, she starts agility training.

She loves being outside so much that when I start training Becky for Tracking, I'll start Breezy too. (Tracking - where we train the dogs to searchout people or personal items- like a bloodhound is trained to do) She should be a natural at it! She and Becky flushed out a pair of Pheasants this morning in a field.

I honestly can't imagine having another breed of dog. They are just so darn versatile and fun!

The last pic is Becky! Her and Breezy were just tuckered from playing ball. So tired that she fell asleep sitting up, but wouldn't drop the ball. Silly girls!

Have a good evening!


February 10, 2008

Hi Denise 

The kids best buddies, Rusty and Toby stopped by to visit the other day. We took them out in the field to play. They had a ball! Even if it was raining!  Yup, we were out in the rain. What we do for our pets! I tried to get pics of Tiko, but he was like a jackrabbit! Hopping all over the place. I kept getting shots of his butt! NOT the end I was trying to get a picture of!  LOL

February 12, 2008 

Hi Denise! 

Breezy is doing great! She is in beginner Agility classes on Saturdays. We are hoping that she will be ready to compete this spring or early summer. As you know, I am a firm believer in giving dogs a job. Keeps them from getting bored, gives them exercise, and makes them a well rounded pet.  Breezy's first Obedience show is April 20th in West Springfield. I am taking her and Becky. I don't expect much out of her for her first show, but you never know. Becky came in Third at her first show. Floored me! 

Breezy is so easy to train. She is very willing to work, and loves training because that is "Alone time with Mommy". She is thriving on attention. What a sweet little girl with a wonderful "drive". She will be wonderful in Agility, once we get her properly trained. I wish all dogs were this easy to train!  

We also started Tracking last Saturday. LOL! Yes, Saturdays have gone to the dogs!  Saturday mornings we go tracking (like Bloodhounds- the dogs have to follow a scent trail to a hidden item; usually a glove or a wallet.) She is a natural at this. She picked it up so quickly, surpassing Becky hands down. Saturday afternoons is Agility training.   

I am taking the girls (Becky & Breezy) to a Tracking Seminar in Upstate New York in April. This will be her first hotel stay!  I am hoping that I can get them trained and Certified in Tracking. They will be the FIRST American Eskimos that compete in AKC Tracking.  

Since Eskies are known for being versatile, I am aiming for an AKC Versatility title for them. Breezy will need titles in Obedience, Agility and Tracking to earn the prestigious Versatile Companion Dog (VCD) Title. Right now there is ONE Eskie with that title in the whole US. I am hoping to make Becky #2 and Breezy #3!  

 Thanks so much for letting Breezy become part of our family!  She is such a joy! Sincerely,

Penny & Dan