IAM Kaho’s Arctic Bronze RA, RN, CGC
The Gold Standard of Siberian Huskies
Kaho was born in my living room in the middle of the night. He was 1 of 6 pups out of Suka, who was my first show dog and Champion from my mentor and long time good, good friend, Mickie Punnett. He was 1 out of 2 that I held back to see how they developed and I finally made my pick @ about 12 weeks of age as there was just SOMETHING about him. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it then, but I knew HE was the one I wanted or was it HE who wanted me? Regardless, he stayed and for that I am and will be forever grateful to the man above.
Kaho’s early years were not unlike many puppies. But, he had his share of “stuff” growing up, as do all puppies. He was the “Soft Siberian” I have included in this website (great tips, if you have one!). Yes, he was afraid of people. But, he got over it and got over it in spades, with much time and early work. He also had some GI issues, so I had to go through the process with that until I found the key, which was a venison and turkey allergy. Putting him on RAW turned him around and once he stabilized, he could go back to kibble once daily. No dog, nor human is born perfect. We play the hand we are dealt, make the most of it and don’t quit, which was absolutely done with Kaho and the end product was a huge success!
He was gorgeous and people loved him for his looks. Right up until the day he died, I always got so many comments about his looks and his color, one of many comments being that his eyes matched his coat. Many thought he was brown, but I informed them that he was red. Kaho changed my mind about red, as I had not been a fan of red, before him. I kept him groomed and his nails short as Mickie reminded me so many times, so he was excellent on the grooming table-hopping up easily and excitedly when asked. When the grooming table was up, it was his resting table. I think that is why he always loved napping on the picnic table, too, as that was a substitute grooming table, on occasion. He was the only Siberian who would let me brush his teeth with a Sonicare electric toothbrush and YES, the toothbrush is on! The video and story are on this page.
Without question, Kaho was a photo hound. I take many pics of my pups from the day they are born for my greeting cards, day planners and personal enjoyment. But, I went above and beyond with Kaho as his photos just turned out spectacular…and not just occasionally, but every time. Kaho seemed to innately know to ‘hold that pose’ when I held up the camera. Kaho is all over this house in photos, on paintings and on hand painted wine glasses. I also had his fur incorporated (with several other of my Siberians) into my scarf and my wristies, that I only wear for best. You can see some of these artifacts on the right. He was also used as a model for the, “Arkwright Spirit Guardians ” sculpture in my backyard. Even though that tree is 3 wolves howling @ the moon, the wood carvers used him for howling, facial features and feet. The video of the development of that sculpture is also included on this page.
I started him in multiple puppy schools and he finished them all with no problem. Because of this, he was a very well trained puppy. He not only knew all the usual commands (and did them!), but he had a few tricks early on…< knowing his right and left paw on command, waiting for multiple treats (and I mean LOTS) on the floor, etc.>. Shortly after puppy schools ended, I got him right into conformation classes in preparation for his AKC Championship. He had come from double Champions and this was the path I wanted him to go. However, he kept growing and grew to the very top of the standard…23.5”. He was not over, but right to the top. He did get some AKC points, but it was a struggle. When I showed him, occasionally, we were wicketed and we were ‘in’, but the judges still didn’t point him as he was @ the top of the standard. Unfair? Maybe, but it was the way it was. I finally gave up on his Ch. show career after several years; yes, years. As he was still a young Siberian and I didn’t just want him to sit home and vegetate, we went in another direction.
I started him into rally and he really took off! He loved this, truly loved it! Kaho was introduced to rally through our very local friend dog group (Jackie, Joan, Barb, Fran and me). We all practiced rally and other things weekly. We got the AKC rule book and learned as we went. Our leader, Joan Leopold (who is the rally QUEEN!), spearheaded the group and always kept us on track. Kaho and I went to some events, won and started up the rally ladder. I was elated as it was obvious to me that this was HIS nitch. I was very saddened that I had spent so much time trying to fit him into a category for which he was mismatched. I could have gotten him much further, if I had not spent so much time in conformation, but everything is 20/20 in hindsight. My biggest thrill was when Judge Jaylyn Beaver told me, when awarding his ribbon, that Kaho had renewed her faith in Siberians again with a score of 97/100. So many Siberians have a difficult time in rally due to their innate drive for independence. You will see her judges card to the left (click on it to enlarge it) and his title photo in the work collage later down on the page. He also loved agility, tunnels, see-saws, jumps, weave poles and even a bit of nose work as an elder.
Kaho spent much of his time, when he was not in the ring, in the classroom and doing demonstrations. Since he was such a gentleman, he was always welcomed (and asked for!) wherever we went. I taught @ BOCES for my career and it fit right in to do a yearly Iditarod unit. This culminated with bringing in Kaho, hooking him up to my sled and showing how things were done on the trail. We also went to other schools and did Iditarod/Siberian demonstrations. Kaho was seen doing demos @ local fairs, community events, farm festivals, College exam week, and doing 1:1 work with children. He was everywhere. Kaho was also @ every local nursing home monthly for visits. There was a very short demo (to keep his mind sharp and active!) and then the important 1:1 visit. He couldn’t wait to get over to the folks, get a pat, maybe get a treat and just be with them. He had no issues with wheelchairs, walkers, canes, odors, odd movements or noises, nothing. He just wanted to be with the people. He also visited cancer patients; with one woman (who had cervical cancer) he put his paws on the bed, his head on her abdomen and he just laid there for the longest time and let her pet his head. He didn’t move, he just was there—being one; with her. But, best of all he was a wonderful teacher to the younger dogs, showing them how to behave, how to grow up and keeping them in line. I can never thank him enough for being the BEST role model and father.
That brings me to Kayta, the love of his life…but she wasn’t when she arrived here. He didn’t want anything to do with this this little 9 week old puppy. She was just a little snotty teenager to him @ that time. But, she did grow up and she grew on him and they became inseparable. Together, they had 10 fabulous puppies, 5 in each litter. The first litter was a rainbow with reds, grays and a black, boys and girls. The second litter was all boys and all reds! But, Kaho loved them all and he left his indelible mark on each of them, some of which now are titled.
But, time does march on. And, even though Kaho didn’t look his age I could see that he was hitting his elder years. So, things did change. I started lifting him onto the grooming table and helping him down. He would jump, but I would assist his jump so he wouldn’t stress his shoulders. He had a slight shoulder injury from when he was running as a pup and now, as an elder, I saw arthritis in that right shoulder joint. We started doing nose work to keep his brain sharp and stopped the more rigorous workouts. I added one additional supplement to his diet (which was Annamaet kibble in the AM and raw in the PM). Going to nursing home and visiting continued and he so looked forward to that, but getting in and out of the car became more and more difficult, so sometimes I used a ramp- sometimes I lifted him- and sometimes he would jump, if he felt like it. I started him on cold laser as it became more obvious that his back was hurting, too. The cold laser would help both his shoulders and all the areas of his back. But, I do have to say that he kind of look like Snoopy with his goggles (“Curse you, Red Baron!”). Occasionally, he’d get a Rimadyl or Metacam to help with his Arthritis and within a few hours he’d be bouncin’ round like a pup again.
During those last few months, I did notice that when I groomed him on his right side, he would pull away from the brush a bit. Didn’t pay much attention to that @ the time. It was something I noticed when I was grooming him, but then I put it out of my head once I finished. In retrospect, I should have paid more attention, but it’s doubtful it would have made much difference. Day to day life went on, nursing homes, friends, visiting, walks, the usual.
Then, Christmas, and the day after. Long story short, Kaho, my heart, had cancer and it was unknown to me. Hermangio- the silent killer of so many wonderful heart dogs. He was perfectly fine right up to that morning and then it appears the tumor that laid so silently and stealthily in his spleen burst. I was faced with the heart wrenching decision all of us dog lovers have to make for the love of our heart dog; and I made it. I held him as he went to his mom, Suka and many others waiting happily for him North of the Rainbow Bridge. I know he will be there when God decides it is time for me to go.
You know, when a dog becomes your heart; they transform your heart. Kaho was a master at doing that not only to me, but to everyone he met. When I say, he was the Gold Standard of Siberians, he was.
Click on collages below to enlarge them.
North of the Rainbow Bridge
The time comes. A Siberian Husky lifts up its head.
There is an untested adventure beyond.
Time to go.
Across the Rainbow Bridge is a place for all dogs.
A river runs wide and shallow with tennis balls that fly with their own wings;
that is the place for a Labrador or Golden to await its master’s arrival.
The Siberian is not content here. Northward is its trail….
There are soft pastures for Aussies and Border Collies, with sheep and geese to pen.
Agility equipment grows like trees amid Frisbees and fly ball.
But the North continues its sure wild call, and the Siberian’s journey continues….
Now the air is colder. Now the moon is always full.
Now the light is silver and it breaks and shimmers on fields of bright snow.
Now there are no roads, no walls, no pens, just endless space to run.
This is where Siberians gather….North of the Rainbow Bridge.
They wait in this beautiful place, happy, but not complete.
Suddenly, a howl begins – as one dog senses someone coming – someone very special.
All the Siberians raise their heads and join in the ancient chorus.
They dance like moonbeams and sing like winter winds.
There are red ones like dawn streaks, black ones splattered with many colors
and silver ones like the first strange hour before light.
They line up as if in harness and run together, in a scintillating, many-colored streak.
The leader of the team guides the others past the fields and river, with racing feet and racing heart.
They rush to greet the new arrival at the Rainbow Bridge,
where the leader is rejoined with its beloved person, never to be parted again.
The glory of the reunion is celebrated by all the Siberians dwelling beyond the Bridge.
A glimmering, multicolored team leaping and whirling with joy.
The light from that scene is what we see on magical evenings in the northern-most parts of this Earth:
The Aurora Borealis
The Northern Lights beyond the Rainbow Bridge