So many qualities to love about our dogs; and, two of my favorites are their in-the-moment consciousness and their resilience.  You can learn a lot from a dog when you quiet your thinker, watch, and take it to heart.  Obviously mental health leads physical health, at least quite a bit of the time.


8x10 IMG_2783


Aoife looks grand this morning, and even jumped off our bed herself.

Us monkeys could cry over our losses for days, weeks, months, or even years.  But that wouldn’t change anything, except for maybe how we get out of bed.




The Twists & Turns…


Just last weekend we were celebrating our Best In Show win.  There has not even been time enough to write about that, and now already we are swallowing the grave reality of losing an unborn litter of puppies…

Who pushed me off Cloud-9?  …Life-it’s-own-self, of course.


Again I ask, please do not question me on the whys and wherefores of this unfortunate turn of events.  I have all too many questions and far too few answers.  You can speculate if you are inclined, but there is no answer that can satisfy a mother who has lost her child.  Sometimes there is no good answer.


Let It Be


My beloved is resting on the couch beside me; home safe, and we are ready to mend.  …For that I am thankful.

The outpouring of love and support from friends both near and far has been overwhelming, and gratefully appreciated.  …For that I am thankful.





Now I am kicking myself for not having blogged regularly over the past few months.  But honestly I did not want to sound negative or overwhelmed, which is sometimes how I felt.

…So today I will lay out the synopsis.


Aoife looks down over Arctic Valley...  July 5th

Aoife looks down over Arctic Valley… July 5th


Months ago I spent weeks – sometimes frustrating weeks – presenting proposals – several versions, in fact – to my service chief and then ultimately to the director of the medical center where I am employed.  The purpose of all that was for pre-arranging time off for the whelping and rearing of our first litter of puppies.

Before any of that was finalized I was faced with decisions pertaining to genetic and health testing, the selection of a suitable sire, as well as the decision on the best method for breeding our bitch.  From there we had to watch for “first blood”.  And shortly thereafter came the challenge of arranging travel for the engagement.

None of that was simple.  And much of it was characterized by the frustration of “hurry up and wait”.


Four weeks after the breeding, Aoife was still not showing any sign of carrying.  Our repro-vet examined her and suggested there may be “at least 3 or 4 puppies”.  I could hardly believe my ears, and I am pretty sure I squealed.  But as the next two weeks unfolded, I found myself still not at all convinced that she was expecting.  On top of all the signs I could not see, at five-plus weeks I watched Aoife ambitiously climb Arctic Valley & Rendezvous Peak leaving me in her dust!  Now at seven weeks it is obvious, so we restrained her exuberance with a long leash for our hike at Independence Mine.


Aoife romping the trails around Independence Mine - July 13th

Aoife romping the trails around Independence Mine – July 13th


Looking down on Independence Mine

Looking down on Independence Mine


We have much to do before the puppies whelp, so I am back to feeling overwhelmed.

Life is good.


Aoife romps the fields of Arctic Valley - July 5th

Aoife romps the fields of Arctic Valley – July 5th





A Call for the Quest…


In hindsight my story has been short and slow; but in foresight it will be long and memorable, as every moment of NOW is to me a treasured gift.

Mom & DadIt has been my life-long calling to be heartedly engaged in the world of dogs, a place my mother openly dreamed of in front of me as a small child.  My mother was isolated from her dream through common culture and remote locale in rural Maine some 50 years ago, but the smoldering ash in her heart was later to break fire in my own.  …And five years ago it was finally time for my first show dog.



In terms of the KBT community, I found myself largely on my own here in Alaska.  We have a close-knit community of dog fanciers, and over time I have been fortunate to become part of the family.  But as it is, Kerries are few and far between in Alaska.

Scan 75So with no prior experience, I learned to groom from written instruction provided by my first Kerry’s breeder.  Finally after a couple years I felt my grooming was perhaps good enough to present my bitch in the local dog show.  Surely a comedy of errors, my friends and acquaintances watched with inevitable intrigue.  IMG_1756 - Version 2Despite my poor grooming and unseasoned presentation, a kindly judge awarded my bitch a Group 3 on her 3rd showing.  Later that fall I sent my bitch back to her breeder in the lower 48 where she finished her championship within a few weekends.  And although I had anticipated feeling ecstatic over the accomplishment, it actually felt rather anticlimactic. Big Win...So from there forward I was even more determined to groom and show my own…



IMG_0383Three years and a second Kerry later, I feel my grooming and presentation have become respectable.  This has not been without trial & tribulation.  I have traveled far to where the Kerry people are, and many have shared their insight, talent and skill.  I am thankful; and to the credit of each who have given freely, I may seriously hold the record for the most improved.

Terrier Group 3 - January 25, 2014





But from here I am readying for the next step.  I plan to join the ranks of the best Kerry breeders.  I clearly understand that breeding is no place for charades, much less a place to draw out travesty.  My mission and method will be known as a responsible breeder with foresight who produces an ever improving line of Kerries.  All-Things-Kerry will be of equal importance: that being temperment & character, conformation & style, genetic health & heritability, as well as the particular placement of each kerry in that forever home.  I will use my innate gift of objectivity and transparency; that is to objectively appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of each, and openly communicate this for the end gain of our breed.  My vision is that together we culture cohesion within the KBT community.

And yet nothing trumps first hand experience.  To that end, I have been reading everything that I can get my hands on and engaging those people I trust who have experience, albeit more often with other breeds.  So that is where I start my query…




DSC_6845To me it is so exciting that through modern communication we are world neighbors.  To those of you who are already seated in your success, thank you for sharing your passion and holding out your welcoming hand to the greater KBT community.  It is to you I am openly asking for guidance.  …Who will entrust their hard-earned experience on trust and a promise of authenticity?