I'm just getting around to introducing the newest member of our clan. It's been a busy few months. Gary bought me a husky pup, back in October, as a very early Christmas present. (It's also my Valentine's Day, Birthday, Mother's Day, and Anniversary gift. Gary told me if I was very good that I might get something next Christmas.) I named her Nakita, but the kids mostly call her Kita, so it's stuck.
I've wanted a Siberian Husky for nearly 15 years. I think out of all the dogs out there, that they are absolutely the best family pets. They were originally trained by the Chukchi people in Siberia, and are very little changed from that time. They were trained to be long distance pullers, but to work on very little food. They had to be able to run in snow storms, think fast, and find the safest routes, even if that meant not following direct orders. They lived largely in the homes of the people, and were raised with their children, even sometimes being used as "baby sitters."
They haven't been an overly popular breed until the last few years, but they first came to the attention of the public when Nome, Alaska was struck with a diphtheria epidemic. The medicine to cure it didn't make it in by boat before the ice settled in for the winter. They were unable to fly it in due to snow storms and poor visibility. So the decision was made to bring it in by dog sled relays. Twenty mushers ran over 674 miles, in 5 1/2 days. Leonhard Seppala covered the longest and most treacherous stretch, including running over the shifting ice where the Berring Sea was frozen over. He with his team of Siberian Huskies lead by Togo, had won alot of long distance races over the past three years. He handed it off, and the final leg was made by another musher with his second best team lead by Balto. Many of the mushers suffered sever frostbite, and some of the dogs died making the run. And they have captured the public attention ever since.
15.5 Weeks - 3 Months
They are highly intelligent dogs. They had to be able to know in dangerous situations where to find the best footing, and keep their drivers safe. Kita is no exception. She has learned several commands very quickly, and you can see her mind working to figure things out. They eat much less than the average medium to large dog breeds, because of the unique way their metabolism works. They conserve energy in a variety of ways and some science has recently shown that their mitochondria may adapt to do the same amount of work on varying levels of food. If the science proves true and can be broken down that might give us the science to heal all sorts of diseases. Huskies are highly food oriented though, and so it makes it easy to train them with food. While each dog has their own personality, by and large they are very good with children. Kita nips a bit, but is getting better, other than that she's great with the kids. In fact, Britt is convinced that she's his dog, and no one else's.
The big draw back to Huskies is that they can be escape artist, and if they are loose they run and run and run, and 100 miles down the road realize they aren't home and don't know where they are. Some Huskies can be diggers, in that they dig 4 feet deep holes for the fun of it, or to just lay in. By all indications, while Kita likes to grub (use her nose to dig out and eat stuff), she doesn't really actively dig. If I can get her to the point where she doesn't pull so much on the leash, we'll be doing GREAT. With the loss of the job, we didn't board her for the long Florida trip. She has done great in the car, both napping at my feet and riding in her carrier in the back. Gary tells her that she's as bad as a cat, as much as she sleeps. She is very mellow for a husky.