In early 2004
I began a serious search for the perfect puppy. I wanted a Chow
Chow to add to my little gang of canines (two German Shepherds -
Trick and Tori, and two Chows - Kylee and Dora). My youngest dog
was six years old, and Kylee was my oldest at nearly 13. I felt
I was due for a puppy.
When I started
contacting people, I had a list of specifications for this new pup.
I wanted an athletic chow, one with exquisite temperament and physical
ability. I wanted intelligence and enthusiasm. In no way did I want
a ponderous, overly heavy dog like someI've seen in conformation
shows. My pup needed to have an open face with good peripheral vision
and the ability to breathe freely. I wasn't concerned with the type
of coat really, although I preferred a lighter color as the black
dogs have a harder time in the sun. I also wanted a female.
With these things
in mind, I began searching the internet. I posted on dog lists.
I even spent hours and hours going through rescue ads - after all,
Kylee had been a rescue and she is unarguably one of the best working
Chows ever. I just wasn't finding what I wanted. I did find an occasional
breeder that seemed to have the style I wanted, but it never quite
worked out. Either they had no pups and weren't breeding any time
soon, or they wouldn't answer my questions quite right and I'd get
uneasy about them. The search just went on and on.
Then in December,
someone suggested I contact Judy Allen in Ontario, Canada. Before
I could even email Judy, she wrote to me as the person had also
given her my info. Judy and I had actually had some contact years
earlier, as I had helped her out with a behavior problem she was
having with one of her dogs. The suggestions I'd given her had helped
and her dog went on to successfully complete her championship, so
Judy had good memories of our contact. It was December 13 and Judy
had a litter that was nearly 6 weeks old. The dam of this litter
was actually being trained in obedience, which was a HUGE thing
to me. We began corresponding and I had a very good feeling about
it all. I was only able to see a couple of photos of Khana, and
a photo of the sire and dam - since the pups were in Ontario, Canada
(east coast) and I'm in Alaska (thousands of miles away) there just
wasn't a possibility of seeing these pups in person. Judy and I
emailed back and forth and she answered every question I had. She
gave me contact information for the breeder of the sire (Redcloud
Kennels) and also her veterinarian. In a very short time, I had
committed to buying a puppy and Judy had committed to sending me
the evening of December 30. I drove to Anchorage to pick her up.
It was a bit of a hectic time getting her, as the airlines had told
me to go to the freight office but when I got there, they sent me
clear over to the international terminal as the pup had to go through
customs first. Since it was later in the evening, I had to wait
quite awhile for someone to open up customs. When the customs officer
came to the door, she was carrying Khana, who was snuggled up against
her. I took Khana and she laid her head against my cheek - and the
love and bond between us started immediately.
I am still impressed
with how this pup handled her trip. After some 12 hours or more
in transit, she was playful and happy. I put her on the floor in
the customs office and she followed me around, chewing on my feet.
Back at the motel, she played with Trick (who outweighed her by
some 60 pounds) with absolutely no fear and no stress. I sat on
the floor and took pictures, laughing as she tried to jump over
my outstretched legs. From day one, Khana was perfect for me and
she has remained that way.
As I write this,
Khana is six months old and still as perfect a puppy as I could
have ever asked for. I credit her breeder for most of this. When
you start with quality and breed for temperament and physical soundness,
you have a good start. Add to that the early socialization that
Judy gives to her puppies (she took them to visit people, traveled
in the car with them, taught them to accept a kennel - all this
before the pups left her at 8 weeks old) and you are likely to have
puppies that handle changes as well as Khana did.
I have continued
on from there with socialization and training. Khana is consistent
outdoors off-leash and has a beautiful recall. She is very social
and interested in people and everything around her. Khana also plays
daily with the adult dogs and that has been an excellent way for
her to develop "dog skills" and to become physically fit.
She spends quite a bit of time with her buddy Trick, who is an excellent
mentor. Trick is so very responsive to me, and Khana follows her
free to browse through the pages of photos. These pages are always
a work in progress!
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