|It's okay little girl, you'll get less nervous about posing for epic photos with time.|
Welcome, little Taiga, to the family!
My Black Friday this year consisted of spending 9-10 hours in the car to pick this little lady up and bring her home. She traveled really well until the mountains when I misjudged how early to move her from her crate in the back to the front for the windiest road ever. She tossed her kibble (and then tried to eat it, ew) before I could get her cleaned up and settled in the front with me for the rest of the ride. She insisted on cuddling with me in the quietest way possible and I might have died a little bit from the cute. Best Black Friday ever? I think so.
Taiga was born on August 29, though I've been waiting for her for much longer.
See, it has been my plan since Kenai entered my life to bring along a second dog when he was somewhere between the ages of 6 and 8 (he will be 8 in March). I love the training process, but I knew training a second husky to be as wonderful as Kenai is (a very focused 2½ year process that has been maintained since) would be expedited if he served as a mentor to the second. And that's exactly what we're doing!
|Meeting one of my parents cats. He was just as interested in her as she was in him. And no, he didn't swat her at all.|
As with Kenai, the name Taiga was one I put a lot of thought into. I wanted a name that gave a nod to the breed's origins in the northern latitudes, but one that also had some sort of ecological basis because I am an outdoors-loving person and a scientist.
Enter: Taiga. A name that came to me out of thin air one day in the summer as I pondered what this little girl's name would be. I recalled that Taiga was an ecotype of higher latitudes, but couldn't remember any more detail than that. A quick Google search to confirm my recollection of the word's definition revealed that I was not only correct, but the name was perfect in more ways than I could have fathomed.
|She is already putting herself in her crate after only 1 day with us.|
(ˈtīɡə) noun - the sometimes swampy coniferous forest of high northern latitudes, especially that between the tundra and steppes of Siberia and North America. Origin: Mongolian (taīga).
The word taiga not only nods to the northern latitudes of the breed's origin, but is itself an ecological term referring to coniferous forests. I love coniferous forests of higher elevations - we have many islands of them remaining in our higher elevations of West Virginia and they're my favorite places in the whole state. A few of them are even swampy, which is an incredibly rare ecotype in the world - especially at my latitude.
Further, the word is Mongolian in origin. This surprised me and absolutely thrilled me to learn because I have a closet-fascination with Mongolia. The landscape is beautiful and wild, and much of their culture is steeped deeply in horses. I dream of traveling there to ride horses and camels across the steppe. Additionally, the eagle hunters of Mongolia have always garnered my utmost respect and awe.
|Recalling. Look at this big safe space to practice being off leash! We've got nearly 100 acres of similar such spaces.|
Not only does this name have a perfect meaning and history, it's got a hard and soft syllable that will facilitate her learning it. It doesn't sound weird when yelled (for when she inevitably doesn't recall immediately and I need to scream it across far distances), it can be spoken excitedly (in praise) and as a curse (when she's misbehaving). Bonus? Other than the long I (ī
), it doesn't sound like Kenai at all, so the two dogs won't become confused.
|Smaller than Kenai's paws at this age by leaps and bounds. Both of her parents are smaller than Kenai's.|
Taiga is from the same breeder as Kenai. While some may boggle at this because of the issues I've had with Kenai's knees, what happened with Kenai is NOT the breeder's fault. He has never before had a dog with issues like Kenai's. This breeder has been AMAZING at communication since I first messaged him about Kenai in 2010. He is a wonderful human and an incredibly responsible breeder of over 18 years. And in full disclosure, he even donated to Kenai's surgeries in 2015 and offered me a free puppy at a later date if I so desired - that puppy is Taiga.
Throughout the breeding of Taiga's parents, her birth, the puppy selection process, and time until I brought her home, the breeder has been AMAZING. I knew the morning after her parents had bred, I was notified within days of the birth, and I received weekly updates full of photos of the puppies thereafter. On top of that, he agreed to hang on to Taiga for nearly an extra month for me because of my Mexico vacation as I didn't want a new puppy to be stressed with a pet sitter or the pet sitter stressed with the new puppy's routine during my absence.
|Look how dramatically she's faded! Even the breeder was impressed.|
He said there is a chance her first shed could reveal a black and white coat. Time will tell.
The whole process was incredible and I can't thank the breeder enough for being so wonderful. I'm so very thrilled with this little girl (the smallest in her litter!) I enjoyed meeting not only her parents when I went to pick her up, but also Kenai's (!) and one of Kenai's brothers. (I picked Kenai up from the breeder's workplace due to some tight scheduling so I didn't get to meet his parents in 2010.) Every one of the breeder's dogs was in great health. They've got a safely fenced yard to enjoy all of the time together in addition to their own kennels (though turnout is organized in certain groups to guarantee/prevent breedings as desired).
|"I think I love it?" Taiga, probably|
Taiga is as sweet as she could possibly be and such a quick learner (a double-edged sword for sure!) She's already played in a bit of snow for the first time and has been on several "big" (~1-mile) walks in our neighborhood. I'm so fortunate to live in the middle of nowhere on top of a mountain where we are the only full-time residents. There isn't traffic and there are rarely other dogs; it's the perfect place to teach Taiga how to be off leash safely. She's already recalling well after only 2 days together - freeze dried chicken liver treats facilitate this, of course.
I'm so excited to inundate this little girl with a lifetime of adventure. A winter of hiking and skiing will be a great start! I hope none of you get tired of puppy pictures...there will be an inundation of them the next few months!