In the winter season of 2008-2009, we again borrowed Lightning’s sister Moonrise and half-sister Canyon. These girls ran on our team two years prior when we were racing and won the Top Sprint Racing Award from the Samoyed Club of America. We also got to puppy-sit one of Lightning’s sons for a few weeks, which gave us six dogs to play with. We hooked them all up to the sled on a fan-hitch, an arrangement which allows all the dogs to run side-by-side instead of in pairs on a long gangline (as is traditional for our part of the world).
From left to right: Lightning, Stormy, Moonrise, Nimbus, Canyon, and Moxie. The ages of the dogs on this team range from six months to nine years. Moonrise and Canyon belong to Kay Hallberg of Wolf River Samoyeds, the breeder of our dogs. Moxie belongs to Amanda and Michael Berkeley.
Here is our team at the 2007 Mount Massive Sled Dog Race in Leadville, Colorado. This picture captured all 16 dog-feet in the air. I was very proud of all the dogs: Lightning (left lead), Moonrise (right lead), Canyon (left wheel), and Nimbus (right wheel). Lightning and Moonrise (who are siblings), celebrated their seventh birthday earlier in the year. The whole team worked as if the altitude and warm sun were of no importance. This was a fabulous race site on the highest golf course in North America. The course went out along a fairway, then wove back and forth through the forest before returning.
The two grey dogs on the far right are another team that left the starting line at the same time we did at this “dual start” race. We had never started this way before, and it went really well. As you can see, we beat the Alaskan Husky team out of the chute, and followed them closely for a mile or two.
This was one of the races that helped our team to earn the SCA Top Sprint Racing award for the 2006-2007 season, as well as the 2007 OWS Sled Dog Racing award. Our team won these awards all three seasons they raced. Running this team was a dream come true!
We drove from Oregon to Pennsylvania to attend the 2002 Samoyed Club of America National Specialty. Round trip was almost 9,000 miles! During our adventure, we visited some of the most beautiful spots in America. One of our favorites was Yellowstone National Park. Here is Lightning surveying a herd of bison. Both of our dogs were fascinated by the gigantic animals.
Nimbus had his first birthday party on July 10, 2002. We wanted to do something that he would really enjoy. To celebrate we took a boat to Buck Island on Howard Prairie Lake in southern Oregon. Lightning (right) cooled off by biting at the bow-wake as we made our way across the lake.
Once at Buck Island, the dogs raced across the beaches and through the woods. We gave them a swimming lesson. Because Nimbus grew up during the cold winter months, this was his first experience in deep water. He was surprised when he could no longer touch the bottom, but enjoyed being cool during a record-breaking heat-wave. Afterward, Nimbus (left) and Lightning (right) hopped up on stumps and surveyed their realm.
Nimbus got a birthday cake. It was a hamburger that we shared with the boys when we returned to the marina. Everybody had a great time at Nimbus' first birthday party!
Lightning (on the left) and Nimbus (on the right) carried 25% of their body weight in their Wolf Packs Reflector dog packs. Nimbus' load included one of his favorite stuffed toys, and both of the boys carried water, their food, treats, dog boots, first aid items, and other necessities.
Nimbus, Corby, and Reign earned points toward their Working Samoyed titles on this 14 mile trip. Lightning has already earned his Master Working Samoyed title, which is the most advanced working title offered by the Samoyed Club of America.
Lightning earned his Master title in these areas:
- Excursion Sledding (includes kicksled & scooter)
- Recreational Skijoring
- Competitive Skijoring
- Special (moving logs & limbs from downed trees & to build a gate)
Lightning has traveled many miles, and is always ready for a new adventure. We are very proud of our hard-working boy!
Our powerful Lightning was the official scooter salesman at Wolf Packs during 2001. When the US distributor of BlauWerk scooters went out of business in early 2002, we bought their entire remaining inventory and passed the price-break we received along to our customers.
Here is something that Lightning loves to do. At a flat-out gallop, he sails through the air. He can really cover a lot of ground quickly!
On the drive home, we stopped and both dogs got an ice-cream cone to further celebrate Lightning's big day.
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.
We attended the 2001 Samoyed Club of America National Specialty. Lightning enjoyed many venues, including a five-mile backpack trip in the Rockies. Here is part of the hiking group sitting atop Brother's Lookout in Alderfer Three Sisters Park in Evergreen, Colorado. Lightning is standing on the highest point, wearing his royal blue Reflector dog pack. Lightning's brother Loki is on the left side of the group, wearing his custom burgundy Reflector pack. Most of these dogs carried over 25% of their body weight in their backpacks, earning them points toward their working titles.
Lightning made the cut in the Open Dog conformation show ring under breeder-judge Pat Morehouse, pulled the second heaviest load in his weight class for the Novice Weight Pull, was certified by Delta Society as a Therapy Dog, and trained twice with his sister, half-siblings, and cousins while pulling an ATV.
Probably the biggest event from the 2001 National was that Lightning got a puppy of his own! Nimbus is now sharing responsibilities as Wolf Packs' mascot. Nimbus and Lightning are nearly full brothers.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.