I’ve always enjoyed dogs. Growing up, the first dog we had was Fluffy. She was what some would call a “mutt”, but we loved her. Mostly, we had German Shepherds. I don’t have anything against cats. We had one cat growing up, but I’m definitely a dog person.
Since we’ve been married, Tammy and I have had five dogs, all in what the American Kennel Club would call the “Working Group”. We have had four Alaskan Malamutes and one Samoyed. I’m not sure what attracted us initially to the Alaskan Malamute breed, but they are a great fit for us. They don’t bark, though some howl, which I personally think is adorable. They are pretty independent – “Feed me, walk me, give me treats, and I’m good” type independent. They do shed however, “blowing their coat” once a year, making what we call ‘tumbleweeds’.
We’ve always just wanted a companion dog, not interested in breeding or showing our dogs. Still, we try to work with the very best breeders possible. I can remember going to pick up Laska, our Samoyed from the breeder in Beloit, Wisconsin back in 1986. Laska was a beautiful pup, and we got the strong impression that the breeder was closely looking us over to see if we were worthy of their puppy.
We got Molly, our third Malamute in 2005, from Cheena, who lived near Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. After picking her out, we stopped and had lunch at Popeye’s overlooking the Riviera Ballroom and beach at Lake Geneva, starting a love affair with Lake Geneva that continues to this day. Molly lived to be 14, dying while we were on vacation in England in July, 2019.
When we began looking for our next dog, we started from scratch, considering different breeds. We looked at temperament, amount of exercise needed, shedding, etc., and then finally said to ourselves “Who are we kidding? We love Malamutes the best.” So, we reached back out to Cheena, who told us that though she was no longer breeding Malamutes, she would refer us to Cindy. That started a long process, which in God’s Providence, ended up with us working with Andrea, who also lived near Lake Geneva. And wouldn’t you know it, Andrea’s Emmy was breeding with Cindy’s Tyce (who has won Best of Breed at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show the past two years). Just a few days after my Dad’s death in early September, 2020, we were notified that we could come up to Wisconsin to pick out our pup, who we named Clara (Clara Dean, if she’s in trouble!).
At my age and her size, Clara will most likely be our last Malamute. At almost three years of age, she has matured into a faithful companion with me on walks in the park across the street from our home and in our neighborhood. More so than any of our previous dogs, she is wonderful with people and most other dogs. She loves visits from my brother Mike and his wife Julie. We’ve been blessed to have Bernie as our vet for our last three dogs, all of them Malamutes. I couldn’t ask for a better vet to take care of our dogs.
Are you a pet lover? What is your preference, dogs or cats? Please share a picture of your pet.