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Skylar Takes the Lead

 By: Jeanne  of  Spirit of the Wind Siberians

Skylar sharing lead position at the DirtRondy

I grew up with dogs, but spent many years without one while pursuing my education. So in 1985, shortly after buying my first house, I was delighted to take in a retired sled dog. I kind of dabbled in sledding and then a few years later, my roommate was given a 1 year old Siberian husky. This was followed by another Siberian (and 2 litters of puppies) and my addiction to mushing began. Several years later, my team was getting older and I decided I needed more dogs to continue. By now, I knew I loved the Siberian breed but there were no good local sources for Siberians. A volunteer at a local shelter told me to contact the Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue. I did and in July 2003, I adopted Nenana, a beautiful 5 month old Siberian. She fit in so well that a year later I adopted Aurora from the same group. That was followed a few months later with two puppies born to a Sibe turned in to SPOT--a rescue group in Burlington, WA. All four of these new additions fit well into the kennel and the team, bringing much needed puppy energy.

Sadly, this past summer I decided to retire Kirby, my original team leader. I was left with a 'vacancy' on my 6 dog team. When SPDR didn't have any youngsters, I found Skylar on PetFinder. What I liked about him was that he was only 7 months old. At first, I didn't even notice that he only had one eye. After sending my application to SNO ( and getting a great recommendation from Cyndi at SPDR), I met with Gail Roberts in September to pick up Skylar. I was immediately impressed with how very sweet he is and how easily he got acquainted with the other dogs. When fall training began, he behaved like he had been pulling in harness forever.

Being left without a leader this year, I had a 6 dog team but no direction. On the advice of a friend, I put Skylar in lead in early November. What a difference he made. I'd never run such a young dog in lead before, but he kept the team on the trail and running at a good pace. As the season progressed, he just got better and has started to learn his directions. By next season I suspect he will be well on his way to becoming a good gee/haw leader. The birth defect that caused the loss of his eye has made no difference in his ability to be a working dog. Skylar, along with my other rescued Sibes, has become a valuable member of the team and Spirit of the Wind Siberians.

Since getting Skylar in September, I've adopted two more puppies from SPDR and will have a complete 'rescue' team next year. With all the great dogs I've gotten from rescue, I will always support these groups.

Skylar resting at the Priest Lake races.