August in Alaska means berry season! A big trek to the mountain peaks in the backyard of Galavanting Poodles leads to blueberries, bears and the honoring of family traditions.
The Dog Days of Summer
This summer has been one for the books.
First, the heat! Alaska has experienced record breaking heat all summer long. And if the records were only barely broken. If the heat index had registered only a smidgen above what is normal for Alaska summers… maybe I wouldn’t be so worried.
But the records that were broken were not gently tapped with the butt of a butter knife until cracks could be seen.
Instead, these records were smashed. Demolished with a massive hammer that left nothing intact. What old heat index records? There are no old records here!
Galavanting’s home is right on the edge of what is known as South Central Alaska and Interior Alaska. And the heat in our area should live at a beautiful upper 60’s ºF to mid 70’s ºF
Not this year.
This summer 2019, we hit more than 90ºF often. Multiple days a week. Each week. For two months. Those days of more than 90ºF included enough 100ºF days to make the three digit temperatures go from never before seen in Alaska to just another hot, hot, hot summer day in 2019.
Heat index records; DESTROYED.
Next, Pali has been killing it at the Alaska dog shows.
The summer of 2019 saw Galavanting Poodles at just about all of the Alaska dog shows. All but 1 show that Pali attended, she won Best of Variety in the breed ring AND placed in the group.
After a quick summer season for Pali, she finished the summer in the Top 20 Standard Poodles in America.
Pali also earned her Bronze Grand Championship this summer.
Not too shabby.
We had the fantastic opportunity for my friend and handler extraordinaire, Allison, here in Alaska to show Pali to her beautiful wins.
Believe me when I say, we are forever grateful to have had Allison join us on part of Pali’s journey. When you have a retired handler friend love your dog so much that she’s willing to take time from her busy teaching schedule to work with your dog and teach you some tricks… well, dog show life can’t get much better.
Third, our youngest poodle, Kluane finished her AKC Championship in fine form.
I am super happy with how Kluane has grown and matured. She finished her Championship with three 5 point majors in two weekends.
This little spitfire of mine is one special girl.
Stay tuned for updates on what’s next for Kluane!
Fourth, we brought home a new puppy.
But sadly, we lost the puppy to a deadly and highly contagious illness.
This experience tossed us on the floor, stomped on our heads and kicked us in the gut.
We’re still reeling from the sudden and unexpected loss.
Eventually, I may blog more details. But not today.
I live my life in such a way that I am always working to better my soul by finding the good, the graceful and the gratefulness.
In this loss, I’ve found myself being forever grateful for my breeder and co-breeder. They have come at this situation with a wealth of knowledge and understanding.
The three of us together have learned so much. Both wonderful things to help prevent another loss. But also very unfortunate things; like the simple fact sometimes dogs are exposed to very bad things due to the carelessness of other people.
Fifth and finally, 2019 is our first summer on our brand new Galavanting property!
We love living here. We love the log home/homestead life. We love the privacy, the quiet, and super small town life.
I’ve never lived in a town with more than 3,000 people. So small town living is pretty familiar to me. But our big move to Talkeetna has put a whole new spin on what I’ve known as small town living.
Our town boasts about 900 year round residents. And I gotta say; I totally love that number!
Galavanting is quickly becoming known as the Talkeetna Poodles. People stop us in the streets when we’re in town, and I’ve even had a few folks stop their car(s) to chat if they see us out on the bike trails.
I love the small town life. And I really love that my new small town is Talkeetna, Alaska.
2019 has been a wild ride.
Lots of adventures and travels (this is, after all, Galavanting Poodles)
Some tough lessons
Home projects and a newfound passion for furniture sanding
And my favorite of all; the love, support and laughter of family and friends.
Take a look at a day-in-the-life of hiking poodles and their catahoula sister. Life is good for this dog pack in the mountains of Alaska!
Poodles: More than just a pretty face.
Poodles are probably best known for their fancy haircuts and circus antics. But long before Poodles were performing tricks for human entertainment, they were the staple breed for the various water retrieving dog breeds we know today. It is the long history of selectively breeding the Poodle type… from water retriever to trusted human companion… that gives us a dog breed so diverse in natural talents.
Did you know… Poodles are so intelligent, they are known as natural problem solvers? This means that Poodles are quick learners. Training a Poodle to do anything from sitting on command, to walking on two feet(!!) is easier than working with almost any other breed of dog.
But, being a fast learner means that Poodles can also get into mischief by finding solutions to problems like…
-finding food on counters
-or even playing your musical instruments!
Yep! It’s true. This fancy haired dog breed played an important role in military history. A French Poodle named Mustache, fought alongside his human companions in the French Revolution in 1799 and the Napoleonic Wars.
Fun fact; the person to first suggest the use of dogs (of any breed) in American military service was a woman named Mrs Arlene Erlanger. And she was the owner of a poodle kennel.
The Standard Poodle was part of the early military program during World War II. It has even been noted that;
"This breed has unusual ability to learn and retain and keen senses. A drawback is a rapidly-growing coat, never shed and required constant cutting to prevent its becoming matted."
Poodles as Hiking Companions
Poodles are incredibly agile dogs. And believe it or not, but the agile-ness of the poodle is credited to gypsies! This group of people traveled with trick dogs, often poodles. These dogs had to be quick, agile, and quick.
It was perhaps the gypsies who began to breed the more common “off-square” retriever style poodle into the more square version of the poodle breed we know today.
A square dog is more compact and better able to spin, twist, flip, and dance to entertain the onlookers.
It is thanks to this square structure of the poodle breed that also makes them great hiking buddies! Particularly in Alaska, poodles natural athleticism and agile ability work to their favor when maneuvering boulder fields, following narrow game trails, climbing mountains and wading through creeks.
It’s no secret… I am of the not-so-modest opinion that poodles make the BEST hiking dogs for me!
Poodles in Performance
Dog sports have been around nearly as long as the domestic dog. And, as if there was any doubt, the poodle breed absolutely crushes it when it comes to competitive dog sports!
Best of all; the Poodle Couch Potato
All the sports, adventures and activities the poodle will thrive in, it is the art of lounging that differentiates the poodle breed from all the other active dog breeds.
If you can’t get outside to exercise your poodle… just enjoy some couch time together and your coiffed companion is just as happy.
And to me, having a dog that is just as happy to binge on Netflix or hike in the backcountry… that’s the best dog, right there.
Do Poodles and winter mix? Absolutely!
Take a look at how the Galavanting dogs enjoy the snow and cold that comes with living and adventuring in Alaska!