Monday, September 17, 2007

Feeling the Love: Fur Fest 2007

My parents are fabulous. Not only are they some of the easiest guests to have, but they didn't flinch when I told them that after only 24 hours of arriving, we would be leaving the three human children in their care for the day. You see, Hubster and I had a meeting to get to. The National Malamute Convention. It's all about priorities, right?

I wish I could explain how just the sight of those magnificent furry dogs just fills me with complete and udder joy. How arriving at the convention site (a large field) and hearing the "wooooo-hoooo" of all of Typhon's friends and rellies gave me goose bumps.

We managed to find Typhon's foster family there and get to see the latest addition to their family, a 2 month old puppy named Cyclone. We also got to meet some fabulous breeders and a super couple who work with the nicest mix bag team of Siberians and Malamutes. Not to mention the purchase of new (matching) harnesses for our "team" and a waist belt for skijoring. Bit by bit, we're getting there!

But the thing that shocked me the most was that there seems to be a real lack of proper working Malamutes in France. There are about 2-3 serious breeders who run their Mals, but most of the others have the dogs just as pets. Except for the four Malamutes from Italy. Imagine if you can Dolce & Gabanna involved in Malamutes. We're talking primping and hair dryers, perfume and sparking collars. It was a little much for us, and our tick covered Typhon, to handle. (Yes, Typhon was with us! As well as the two boys from our village who are as addicted to our dogs as we are.)Yes, Malamutes are beautiful, but the beauty for me comes from their strength, their determination. It was hard to see these "show" Mals. I know they exist all over the world, but for me, a happy Malamute is a Malamute who rolls in cow poop, runs with his friends, and gets a chance to pull at least once in his life. Maybe I'm wrong about the show dogs. Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on them. They were so beautiful and so clean!

Turns out the judge for the competition this year was an American women named Nancy Russel. She is the owner/breeder of the only AKC team of Malamutes to run the Iditarod. It was interesting to hear her take on the Malamutes in France and I must admit, she's given me a focus. There needs to be a strong line of working Malamutes in France and I want to help build that. I really would like to get involved with the working teams that are here and help bring the breed back to their roots: strong, beautiful dogs that love to work, love to play, and love to be. Not wear perfume.

It was a fabulous day for us. And Typhon too. There were so many people there that had been involved with his story. It was beyond touching to hear how pleased they were to see him so healthy, happy, and strong. As a Malamute should be.

Next weekend is the Siberian National Convention. Anouk keeps leaving the website page open on our desktop. I have a sneaking suspicion she'd like to go...

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