(Not updated for a long time!)

CaileyI'd been dogless for about five months, including most of a summer, when I began casually checking the Gastineau Humane Society web site for potential new dogs.  The worst of the grief over Nigel's death had passed and adventuring without a dog over the summer was becoming intolerable.  It was time to start looking.  My parameters were few: I wanted a young dog (less than a year old) but not necessarily a puppy puppy, a dog that was born after Nigel died, a reasonably large dog, and a mutt, preferably one with some husky ancestry.  I wasn't in any particular hurry, but I wanted to make sure that when my dog showed up at the pound, I was there to adopt it.  After a couple of months I was getting disheartened by the dominance of purebreds and small dogs at the pound--where were all the young mutts I saw when I adopted Nigel?  I even looked for potential dogs in Anchorage (and was quickly overwhelmed).  The dam finally burst in early October when a two month old pitt bull/lab mix showed up; although I wasn't interested in the dog myself, I passed the information on to Marcy, who'd lost Cavall (Nigel's best friend) in August.  She and her partner immediately abandoned their intent to wait a considerable time before their next dog, and hurried to meet the puppy; unfortunately, he had already been adopted. 

But that set the stage.  Less than a week later, the pound made a litter of five four-month-old puppies available for adoption.  Marcy adoped the male, Jeb, right away.  As always, I was checking the web site almost daily and looked through the photos of the other pups.  None of them aroused any interest in me at all until I saw photos of a sweet, scared looking tan puppy with beautiful husky markings on the face.  I went to meet her on a Thursday afternoon.  As I stepped into the kennel area, I could see the puppies off the right and immediately spotted "Tauri" at the very end.  As soon as she saw me she put her little puppy paws up on the chain link door and wiggled with excitement.  I passed by her siblings with hardly a glance and was met with uncontained enthusiasm and kisses when I greeted my future dog.  Ironically, she behaved exactly opposite from the way that Nigel behaved when I met him (who, alone among the many dogs at the pound that day, sat quietly inside his kennel without barking or jumping up).  But I wasn't looking for that this time; I was looking for a dog to pick me, and I couldn't have choreagraphed a warmer greeting.  In the meantime, her three sisters sat quietly in their kennels. 

I went back to get a greeting room for us and soon got to play with her.  Of course she was bouncing with energy and full of puppy enthusiasm, but after about fifteen minutes she came over where I was sitting on the floor, draped a leg over my leg, and sat down next to me.  I thought it was a good sign!  The next day I brought Chris back with me and we both met with her, took her for a short walk outside, and did a few personality tests, all of which were positive.  Then started the agonizing decision making process.  If only I could meet every other dog that would come up for adoption in the next year!  Then I could make a better decision.  What if my dog showed up the next week, after I'd adopted this one already!?  It was impossible to know.  The decision was painful, and brought up a lot of grief over Nigel, but the next day I was back at the pound to sign the papers.  On Tuesday (which was Alaska Day and a state holiday) I picked up my new dog up and we started our life together.

Cailey is pretty wonderful.  She is a total handful (but in a normal puppish sort of way), and is one of the smartest dogs I've ever met.  She takes to training astonishingly fast, is very sweet and affectionate, loves to snuggle, is well socialized with other dogs, and doesn't run away to play with other dogs at the beach no matter how enticing!  (At least she didn't until she turned about eight months old and adolescence apparently kicked in, but so far only at the parking lot and in a limited area).  She and her brother Jeb play together once or twice week and Marcy and I are delighted to raise our second dogs together.  She wrote in an email once, "Does it feel a little to you like someone took Nigel and Cavall and shook them up together and made puppies?"  Jeb and Cailey are a wonderful amalgamation of our two former dogs, and lots more.

We knew from the pound that the puppies were born on a sailboat in Aurora Harbor to, perhaps, a pit bull mother and husky father (both of which can mean a lot of things).  After two and a half months of hearty speculation, Marcy and I finally met a lady at Sandy Beach who recognized the puppies and told us about the parents, one of which was the pit bull mother living at the harbor and the other a sled dog puppy brought down from a tour company on the Juneau Icefield named Pandemonium (Pan for short).  That sparked a two month investigation into Cailey's family history, mostly through a "missed connections" Craigslist ad and chance encounters with other litter owners.  The Craigslist ad I placed read "Looking for the husky Pandemonium" as I didn't know the mother's name yet.  I  heard from four different people, the first of which mentioned that Pan might not be the father after all; each email revealed a little more information, including more tidbits about the mother Relm.  Then I ran into a couple at Petco who have one of the sisters and recognized Cailey, then Chris and I accidentally stumbled across Cailey's other brother Lou at the pelmeni place in the wharf and talked to his owner.  Finally, I talked to Relm's owner himself and learned almost everything I wanted to know.  Relm is 100% pit bull (half Staffordshire terrier/half red nose American pit bull terrier).  There were eight puppies in the litter, two males and six females.  Pan hadn't seen Relm since significantly before the puppies were conceived in April (it was winter and snowing when they'd last met), so it's more likely that a husky/lab type mix at the harbor is the father.  I now have photos of seven of the eight pups

Before we learned all this, Marcy and I DNA tested both puppies, but our confidence in the tests were shot when they came out suspiciously disimilar (and somehwat unlikely).  Cailey's test showed a maternal great-grandparent as an American Staffordshire terrier (as opposed to showing a more or less purebred mother) and one of her paternal great-grandparents as a catahoula leopard dog.  "In the mix" was Siberian husky and several other spitz-type breeds, but there was no more resolution than that.  They had the right idea, but it certainly lacked clarity.  Jeb's test from the same company showed mom as a purebred American bulldog and dad as half Siberian husky/half basset hound!  Although we had fun and don't regret the tests, I certianly don't put much stock in them.

Below are some photos of Cailey as a puppy, who is starting to grow up out of the craziness of early puppihood. Some day I'll update this with photos of adult Cailey. For photos of Cailey's littermates, see Cailey's family page.

Caily naturally gets into adorable poses

Me and Cailey on Cailey's chair

Chris and Cailey the day she was adopted

Snoozing on my leg after a walk

Cailey on her box

Chris and Cailey in a snow bank

Cailey and Jeb playing

Romping at Sandy Beach

Napping in front of the fire

Cailey and a fierce bear

Chasing snowballs

Cailey's funny sleeping posture
Jeb and Cailey
Jeb and Cailey
Cailey and Santa
Cailey and Santa
Cailey and Jeb with Santa