At the Samoyed Club of San Diego Specialty, Nimbus
was awarded Best Puppy in Sweepstakes! He won $9.00 which bought him a little purple horse toy made of rope.
Our judge was Alaskan Malamute breeder John Boughton. He was pleased to learn that he found a true working puppy among the entries when I mentioned that Nimbus has run in harness since he was five months old.
Nimbus' brother, Lightning
, finished his American Championship this Specialty weekend with back-to-back 5 Point Majors. It was a weekend for us to cherish.
On March 9, 2002, Lightning
was awarded Winners Dog and Best of Winners for a 3 Point Major by breeder-judge Annella Cooper at the Centralia, Washington show. Nimbus
was chosen as the Reserve Winners Dog (to a major) out of the 6-9 Month Puppy class on the same day! It was very exciting.
This image shows Lightning waiting for the judge to inspect him during the Open Dog class. Thank you Ron Manor for this candid picture of our boy!
A well-attended sanctioned Fun Match was held on the previous day, so we entered both of our boys as a way to remind all of us what to do in the conformation ring. Lightning went Best in Match, and Nimbus was the Working Group 2 winner! The boys won lots of ribbons, some mugs, and a pretty stained glass window hanging.
went for his first airplane flight today. The little guy took to it well, looking out of the window and eating yummy treats. Here we are about 3,000 feet in the air. The shadow on Paul's face tells the story of how this picture was captured.
(left) and Lightning
(right) enjoy exploring Castle Crags State Park in Northern California. From this spot we admired the rugged granite spires of the crags, and could also see the sleek white shape of Mount Shasta to the North.
Later in the month, Nimbus earned his Canine Good Citizen (CGC) title, and made his debut appearance in the conformation dog show ring, receiving 1st Place in his class. He loved all of the attention and treats, and charmed everybody with his calm disposition and sweet nature.
loves to pull his kicksled. Until this point, he has run solo. Now he has begun to share the fun with his five-month old brother Nimbus
. Lightning is a great teacher, and Nimbus seems to love this sport already.
This image was taken on Christmas Eve when the boys ran a mile together near Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. Lightning went on for another five miles. Nimbus was led back to the car to be played with until the return of his mentor.
Here is Lightning
(dog on right) teaching five-month old Nimbus
(left) how to be a good sled dog. This was Nimbus' first official team hookup. I was very impressed by how the puppy held his line tight, ran straight, and worked hard beside his brother. We went one mile, with lots of stops and oodles of praise and hugs. Nimbus knew he was doing something very special, and Lightning loved working next to him.
Besides me and the kicksled, the boys were hauling the brand new International Traildog Log, a journal which will be carried by adventurous dogs around the world. We were breaking it in on its inaugural voyage, after the original Traildog Baton was lost. This image graces its pages, as does a brief description of our fun morning.
Nimbus has been getting a first-class education about snow this winter, with local record snowfall for the month of December. Here he is laying on our deck "stairs", while the pile of snow behind him is over six feet high! Lightning and Nimbus love to play tag together in the deep snow. They keep each other entertained. One big bonus from having such a great snow pack is that both boys stay clean. We are not looking forward to the time when our snow melts and the dirt beneath is revealed.
Nimbus is learning how to pull. Our four-month old puppy has been introduced to a special adjustable puppy harness. Now we are allowing him to drag lightweight objects such as this partly filled plastic jug. Doing so will get him used to a noisy thing following him.
Nimbus was altogether unphased by the rumbling milk jug. After turning his head to look at the object, he walked along with happy enthusiasm while being praised for doing so.
Four-month old Nimbus loves to help his older brother Lightning, who puts between 30-60 miles a month on his scooter. Nimbus is quickly learning about this sport, and has already decided that the lines do not taste very good.
Young puppies can learn a lot from a trained working dog. Nimbus runs free alongside Lightning during some of our scooter runs. We travel at the puppy's pace for about one quarter of a mile, rest, then return home. Lightning continues his workout while one of us entertains the puppy.
We got to meet Nimbus
, our long-awaited new puppy, while attending the 2001 Samoyed Club of America National Specialty in Denver, Colorado. What a cute puppy!
He joins Lightning
to share mascot duties for our company, Wolf Packs
. Nimbus is a nearly full brother to Lightning. Both of these boys were born to the same mother, but Lightning's father is Nimbus' grandfather.
Shown here at 10 weeks, Nimbus is a fine example of the ancient Samoyed breed. He will eventually grow to be a strong, handsome 55 pound dog. In time, he will accompany Lightning on many adventures, as well as become a partner in harness. With a temperament as sweet as his brother's, we are very excited about this new addition to Pacific Crest Samoyeds!
completed his Herding Capability Test (HCT) title on January 7, 2001. Our boy earned the first leg toward his Junior Herding Dog (JHD) title too!
Our puppy entered the arena with much enthusiasm for running after those sheep or play with the other dogs present. Many of the people there were surprised that an energetic northern breed non-herding group puppy could display proficiency in herding, and were surprised that he was entered in the trial.
When our turn came, the crowd's interest level spiked. Lightning walked into the arena like he owned it. Debbie Pollard, one of the judges, introduced the Samoyed breed to the audience with a nice historical reference to their reindeer herding heritage. Lightning did a perfect sit and stay, controlled the sheep with grace and style, and returned them safely to their pen. The audience applauded loudly. Lightning looked very pleased with himself, nether knowing nor caring about his new title. He just enjoyed moving those sheep!
After the herding trial, we had to stop at one of the unspoiled beaches of northern California. This picture was taken on the ocean side of the gigantic sand spit that forms Big Lagoon in Humbolt County. Lightning's friend Tilly is chasing him along the water's edge. Tilly belongs to one of our friends who has been training her in herding, too.
Snow crystals float in the early morning air and surround Lightning
as he surveys his domain. Our 10 month old puppy loves to play in the fresh snow, sometimes persuading us to get an earlier start on our daily adventures than we had planned. This image won 1st Place in the art show during the 2002 Samoyed Club of America National Specialty!
was featured on a card titled "By The Fire", designed by Beth Bloch Creative Cards for her 2000 holiday series. Beth skillfully merges photos with watercolor, creating whimsical and often amusing scenes. Her art is available on greeting cards and other fun items. Lightning was eight months old when Beth captured his likeness for this fun card.
had his first experience flying in a small airplane in November of 2000. He was a little nervous during take-off, looking out the window and poking us with his nose.
Once we were airborne, the treats came out. He wagged his tail and gazed at the miniature buildings, cars, and landmarks below. Here are Linda, Lightning, and Paul inside the airplane together. Lightning has his front paws resting on our seat backs. There is a bench seat behind us for the puppy (or human passengers).
Our flying puppy was a real trooper. What a pleasure to fly with such a confident, well mannered dog.
Nine-month old Lightning
had his first taste of skijoring on the Pederson Snow Loop in southern Oregon. This winter route covers a more than two-mile section of the Pacific Crest Trail, and ends at a small log hut known as the South Brown Mountain Shelter.
Lightning carried the International Trail Dog Baton on our adventure. We strapped it to the top of his harness. You might be able to just make it out (the grey tube with white end caps) in these photos. Inside this baton rides a list of dogs from around the world who have carried it, along with the date, distance, region, and trail.
We followed five miles of packed trail thanks to two snowshoers and their dogs who hiked in ahead of us through two feet of snow. The trial wound through beautiful snow shrouded old growth forest, and the day was sunny and still.
Our puppy was incredible, contributing a great deal of power along the way. He was wearing a sled dog harness and a skijoring line. I was treated to wearing the belt that Lightning's line attached to. With him in lead, the two of us had enough speed to make Paul work pretty hard. I was so proud of how well Lightning responded to his commands. What a great dog!
Near the far point of our trip, these signs indicated the distance to Mexico and Canada. The hut was 300 yards ahead, and we were happy to rest there for awhile, sipping hot cocoa and offering Lightning special treats.
The Trail Dog Baton was the brainchild of the Trail Dog List
membership. You can subscribe to this list to learn about enjoying the outdoors with dogs.
first true snowfall came in mid-November when he was eight and a half months old. About four inches had fallen. A sunny window shone through the clouds for a moment, so we decided to drop everything and go for a walk.
This photo is taken on The Point - the top of a cliff popular with local rockclimbers. Lightning was attentively listening to a howling Siberian Husky 600 feet below.
As you can see, Lightning loves snow. He was a blur of white on white, barely visible but for his black nose, eyes, and lips, and that pink tongue. It should be very exciting for our pup after we get solid snow cover and the skis come out of storage.
visited Washington DC, and seemed to enjoy the majesty and beauty of the park-like grounds. Here Paul, Lightning, and Linda are sitting on the edge of the pond in front of the Capitol Building.
We walked toward the Capitol admiring the incredible bronze sculptures along the way. We were discovered by an adorable young lady who was delighted by Lightning's soft, waving tail. Our puppy was wearing his ID Cape with "Ask To Pet Me - I'm Friendly" and "Therapy Dog" patches, made by our company Wolf Packs
. He was hugged and petted by many children that day, which he really enjoyed!
Since the Samoyed is a working breed, various traditional working events were offered during the Samoyed Club of America 2000 National Specialty. We hiked with a group of friendly people and dogs on a five mile loop trail through beautiful Catoctin Mountain Park in Maryland, which is very close to Camp David. All dogs carried a pack, most of which held gear weighing at least 25% of the dog's body weight. Our Lightning (far left with blue pack) and his brother Loki (third from the right with burgundy pack) carried lightweight wadded newspaper because these puppies were only seven months old.
Here is our adventurous trail puppy about to embark on the hike. As you can see, we began the hike at an unthinkably early hour. Even though he's snowy white, the reflective trim on his Reflector
dog pack and his eyeballs are all that the camera flash could record.
Here we stand at the trail sign for Wolf Rock. We just had to pose the dogs by the sign because our company is named Wolf Packs
. Dogs from left to right: Kyber and Red (our token non-Samoyed) both owned by Diana Steele, our Lightning, and Loki owned by Cynthia & Matt Woodard.
and Linda made their debut in the show ring at the Samoyed Club of America 2000 National Specialty in Frederick, Maryland. Lightning's brother and cousins were in the ring with us, which made it feel more like a family gathering than a formal event. Lightning made the first cut in the 6-9 month old puppy class under breeder-judge Lynette Hanson-Blue. The show floor was described as a "sea of white" with over 500 beautifully groomed Samoyeds presented to the judges over the week-long event.
Little did we know at the time that our beautiful puppy would go Best In Show at the 2004 SCA National Specialty
, just four years into the future!
We took advantage of many working events that were offered at the National. Here Loki, owned by Cynthia and Matt Woodard (burgundy pack) sniffs noses with his brother Lightning (blue pack) prior to the Challenge Pack Hike. They are both wearing Reflector
dog packs were made by our company, Wolf Packs
was introduced to about ten gentle sheep owned by herding dog judge and trainer Roy Sage. Most people don't think of northern breed dogs as being capable of working livestock. Samoyeds were often used by their original nomadic people to tend reindeer. Many of their descendents still retain the instinct to herd.
Lightning took to the sheep right away. He circled the herd with much enthusiasm, keeping them in a tight ball around Roy. When several broke off from the cluster, he dashed after them, trying to get in front and send them back to their friends. This sometimes led to a group of sheep that split further, forcing Lightning to make a decision about which one to work.
After 10 minutes we rested the stock and the pup until all were recharged. Then it was back to the pasture with Roy. Just as much enthusiasm was evident as Lightning completed his second session of about 10 minutes. Our good boy didn't bark at the sheep, even though he was thoroughly excited to be running with them. What a neat way to work the mind and muscles of a trail dog! Herding will definitely be a fun way to keep our young pup fit for his future working career.
Our puppy Lightning
loves to bikejor with Linda & Paul. Lightning wears a harness which is specially designed for dogs that pull sleds. We wear a belt which was made for people who ski with their dogs while the dogs pull them (skijoring). Because Lightning's training for skijoring began in the summer, we decided to use our mountain bike on local dirt roads to teach him the commands.
At five months old, Lightning discovered the joys of bikejoring. Here he is showing Linda what he thought of his introduction to the sport. Since his training began when he was so young, I pedal hard to be sure that our puppy isn't pulling too hard against the line. We strive to make activities fun and safe for our dogs.
Here is our adventurous puppy Lightning
standing on top of an amazing balanced rock that sits near our home. I had often thought how wonderful it would be to photograph one of our dogs at the top.
Lightning is wearing a royal blue Trekker dog pack (now replaced by the Reflector
). Because he's so young, his dog pack is empty and just for fun. Puppies should never
carry weight until they are fully grown!
I worked with my little buddy for a week with my "Rock" command, using tree stumps and low rocks to practice on. Basic click & treat rewards were part of our program, whenever all four of his feet stood on the object I pointed to. He was very comfortable standing atop this geologically doomed formation for these photographs.
is captured here during his very first dog pack experience. He is a fine example of the ancient Samoyed breed, and will eventually grow to be a strong, handsome 55 pound dog. Lightning adores people, and has an outgoing, happy attitude toward life. He is a joyful member of our family.
Our 13 week old puppy is pictured in a royal blue Trekker (now replaced by the Reflector
) dog pack. These dog packs are made by our dog outfitting company Wolf Packs
, for which our dogs model. Although we couldn't resist letting Lightning try on an empty dog pack for these pictures, puppies should never
carry weight until they are fully grown.
Linda and Lightning are enjoying the sunshine on the summit of Soda Mountain in the Siskiyou Range of southern Oregon. This special region is now part of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, and has been deemed the most diverse biological area in North America. From our spot it seemed like you could see forever. Mount McLaughlin, an inactive volcano in the Cascade Range to the north, is visible in the distance in the top image.