We were in Missouri for the 2008 SCA National Specialty, where 16-month old Stormy
had her first introduction to sheep.
These were very tough sheep and Stormy was quite young, but she handled the sheep with confidence. She earned the first half of her Herding Capability Test title, and received lots of praise.
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.
Also at the National, Lightning (left) and brother Loki (right), got to work together. They were introduced to a Sacco cart, which is a sit-down device with four bicycle-style wheels, special friction brakes, and a unique hookup system for the dogs. The "U" shaped aluminum tubing above each dog serves to anchor the harness in place. The ends extend back to the cart. Here the boys are just back from a run around the site of the National, waiting patiently to have their harnesses removed.
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.
At nearly 18 months, Lightning
was awarded Winner's Male at the 2001 Canadian National by breeder judge Jeanne Zuver. Winner's Male is similar to Winner's Dog in the USA. It means that the judge felt he was the best representative of the breed among the non-championed male dogs present in the ring.
This win earned him 3 points toward his Canadian Championship. The judge commented on Lightning's beautiful movement. We are so proud of our boy!
During our trip to Point Reyes National Seashore, Lightning
taught himself an unusual dance step. Here our clever boy is seen showing off for his new friends as he practices standing on one foot. The other dogs look intrigued, and are possibly eager to practice this for themselves.
helped to rebuild the log gate on our driveway. It had rotted away several years ago. We searched our land for a sturdy 20 foot long log. Finding just the right one, Paul took most of the branches off so that it would drag smoothly.
Then we wrapped a chain around the thickest end, and hooked it up to Lightning's special weight pull harness. He lowered his head and dragged it into position for us. We're easing our boy into weight pulling, and this was the heaviest load he's been asked to pull to date. The log easily weighs more than he does, though we have no idea exactly how much more. The new gate works beautifully, and we will think of Lightning whenever we open or close it!
Lightning entered the 2001 Williamette Valley Samoyed Fanciers Specialty. A "specialty" is a dog show that focuses on a single breed. Since he has a title, he was qualified to compete in the Working Dog class, which is only occasionally offered at specialties for working breeds such as the Samoyed. Here are Linda and Lightning gaiting in the Working Dog class (we're the team in the lead).
Our boy was awarded 1st Place in the Working Dog class under breeder-judge Shirley Mangini. Next we went into the ring with the winner from the Working Bitch class. Lightning was again awarded 1st Place, to become the Best Working Samoyed at the specialty! Lightning was also awarded 1st Place in the 12-18 Month Dog class. It was all quite exhilarating, although win or lose, he's always a winner to us.
Lightning received lots of ribbons and prizes. He won some pretty nice stuff, including some special grooming products to help keep his coat in top shape. We met many nice people, admired many beautifully groomed dogs, and had a fun day all around. Lightning didn't let all the attention go to his head though, and slept soundly on the drive home.
At 15 months old, Lightning
began to do serious backpacking. We are shown here resting atop Hobart Bluff in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Tranquil Hobart Lake is 680 feet below us. The town of Ashland, city of Medford, and the Rogue Valley spread out beyond into the distance.
Here Linda and Lightning take a break on a fallen tree along the Pacific Crest Trail in southern Oregon. His loaded Reflector
dog pack weighs over 12 pounds, which is ¼ of his bodyweight. We hiked five miles on this outing, following a nearly seven-mile hike on the previous day (which was National Trails Day, June 2nd, 2001).
completed his Working Samoyed Excellent title on April 22, 2001. Here he is at the halfway point on the five-mile scooter run, which completed his WSX title. Due to a light snow overnight, I couldn't decide between the kicksled and scooter. Upon studying the driveway, I saw that not enough snow had fallen, and running the sled would have risked damaging the runners. Out came the scooter. As we climbed 400 feet to the halfway point, I was wishing for our sled. There must have been six inches of lovely snow out there, which was surprisingly easy to run with a scooter. Our scooter, a white Blauwerk Downhill, is one of the most rugged mountain scooters made.
Lightning's focus has been in skijoring, excursion sledding, excursion scootering, race skijoring, and herding. He is likely among the youngest Samoyeds to earn this advanced working title. Working points are awarded by the Samoyed Club of America (with proper documentation - here is a listing of all Working Samoyed titled dogs
) for adventures which meet certain criteria. Many of the rules require a distance of no less than five miles per outing. We have waited to backpack with Lightning until spring. Until recently, he was too young to carry the required 25% of his body weight over a minimum of five miles. We are sure having fun earning these titles with Lightning, and hope to continue our adventures together for many years to come!
Thirteen month old Lightning
has begun to work with our scooter. These mountain bike-like devices have no seat or pedals, making them safer to use when working dogs. As with sledding or skijoring, Lightning wears a harness which is specially designed for dogs who pull sleds. A special line with a shock cord is attached to his harness, then to the scooter frame.
This image shows Lightning and Linda shortly after passing our friend's six dog team. We did a five mile run this day. Whenever we can, we practice passing and running with other teams.
Our scooter is one of the few Blauwerk Downhills in white. Lightning was responsible for selling many Blauwerk scooters until the American distributor went out of business in early 2002.
raced in the Cascade Skijor Classic, our first competitive event ever! Here are Paul, Linda, and Lightning waiting for their second run to begin. Twelve month old Lightning did well for such a young lad, but stopped to water some bushes along the way. Linda is not a strong skier, and does not know how to "skate ski", a must in the competitive world. Thus, we placed 5th out of five racers in the 4.2 mile - two day event. Lightning and Linda were presented with the coveted Red Flashlight Award, a parody of the award presented to the last place finisher in the Iditarod race. The flashlight represents a light to find one's way to the finish line.
We had a blast and will be racing again next year!
Above all else, Lightning
enjoys snow sports. He has put in enough miles in front of skis, sleds, and herding sheep to qualify for his Working Samoyed (WS) title. Our boy also earned his Canine Good Citizen award prior to his first birthday. What a good puppy!
Here are Lightning and Linda kicksledding together, cruising home from a five-mile excursion (this picture shows him completing his Working Samoyed (WS) title. The kicksled is a lightweight device, often used in Scandinavia for winter transportation. It normally is not pulled by a dog, but offers an inexpensive alternative to a racing dog sled for the single dog team. Lightning can really get it moving, and when he does, it almost feels like weightlessness when riding on the runners.
Just wait until the snow melts though, because we'll be hiking the trails again come spring!