At the Ranch / The Dunn Wolfdogs
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Kivalliq relaxing at the Ranch, Spring '04
There's a whole lot I'd like to share with you about her... so relax, kick back and enjoy reading.
Over the years, I have shared my life with many furry friends. Most have been wolf-dog crosses, of different socialization levels and backgrounds, of varying content ranges from high to low. Some were bought, some were produced, the other majority were rescued/fostered.
After having so many for so long I
thought I would take a break from having wolfdogs after the last of the "old pack" passed away.
Travelling to distant lands seemed very appealing... But well, when the time came I just couldn't
handle the idea of an empty nest. (*sigh*) I was incredibly rusty as the last pup raised
from birth was nearly 11 years prior, but fortunately the memories returned and being older
and slightly wiser helped to [barely] survive puppyhood.
Kivalliq, Winter 2001
Her name is Kivalliq (pronounced: Kiva-lick), which we condense to Kiva. The name was chosen as a reflection of a part of her heritage, Kivalliq being a word in the Inuit language describing a region way high up in northern Canada. Kiva's known relations trace back to near that polar region; with AKC Alaskan Malamute being significant. I met her parents, both her father's parents, and a number of relatives, and am thoroughly in love with all of them.
So far as her 'personality' goes, I'd describe Kiva as relatively intense. She's a lovably sweet, energetic, extremely playful
trickster, but for all the fun things I'm about to share with you about her, you should know
that the reason the sun rises in the morning is because Kiva wants it that way. She's a brat,
and it takes a special understanding of the behavioral potentials you deal with in
wolfdogs of her content range and heritage when interacting with her. As with most wolfdogs,
staying one step ahead is truly a full time occupation.
In this photo you can see she's bottlefeeding. I think she was around 35 days old here, and had been eating mush and solid food for a while already. I just kept up the bottle as long as she wanted it.
She was raised on a raw foods feeding
program, similar to B.A.R.F. ("bones and raw foods" or "biologically appropriate raw foods").
Which is nothing more than an old fashioned diet from pre-kibble days, consisting primarily
of non-weight-bearing raw meaty bones and organs or whole carcasses, etc. Snack food is generally
lizards, mice, squirrels and beetles (whatever unlucky creature that manages to make it into
her enclosure), which she is more than happy to catch on her own.
Here's a photo of the demon plotting to ambush her playmate. She's actually "playbowing", which is a universal in canine body language as an invitation to play. Her facial expression signals she has good intentions (although it looks a bit devilish with that butt in the air and the focused gaze).
Over the past 9 years of her life with me, her training/socialization has gone very well for who and what she is. Although she's relatively intense as I mentioned earlier, when motivated Kivalliq is fantastic at "sit" and "wait", good with "lay down", will "drop it" (an object) when asked to, does not mind if you take things from her mouth, and she still plays fetch nicely.
Meeting strangers is not a problem, unless the person is someone both she and I have reason to be suspicious of, in which case we both go the opposite direction in a great hurry! She is aloof with new visitors until she's satisfied her need to scrutinize them, and once that's over with she tends to not be shy at all. Persistent is a good word to describe her, as frequent visitors here know very well.
Kivalliq is also crate-trained to
a degree, meaning I have no use for crateing her except when
riding in the Van. The 'Liq has never been particularly enthused about going for drives; she drools
buckets (making that washable crate a necessity). But, she does
like it when we arrive at our destination. New places are fascinating for her (so long as we
don't encounter her biggest fear; large loud heavy trucks).
Kivalliq running. She was just a few months of age in this photo.
She's mostly outside in the enclosure...
catching lizards and squirrels, splashing in the stock tank, or just being generally up to no
good. One of her more interesting hobbies is "baiting" the birds. She will leave small pieces
of meat in a strategic location within the enclosure, and will lay waiting behind a tree for a
bird to swoop in. She has attracted all sorts of smaller birds, but the real prize are Ravens
and Vultures. Kivalliq hasn't caught them, yet, but it is very clear that she is intentionally
luring them in. I would not be surprised if she'd end up with talon-punctures in her skull one
of these days.
Kivalliq (in summer coat) & Alaskan Malamute pup
Kivalliq and her buddies are kept safe within large enclosures that are 8 and 10 foot tall, made of heavy 9 gauge chainlink fabric, with buried 4' dig guards attached to the uprights, and electrified hotwire at the top and bottom.
It may sound like overkill, but it is wise to never let a canine learn to escape
otherwise it becomes habitual! That's true for dogs and wolfdogs alike. You can see
more of our newer enclosures online in
Wolfdog Containment Solutions.
Kivalliq at 9 years of age, snoozing
Having their photos online and sharing their stories via the Wolfdoglist, is my tribute to long-time companions and good friends. Mostly you'll see Shiva-Vishnu in a howling-pose (that tiny picture above is her also), which was typical of my "alligator grin" girl.
It's no coincidence that the names
Shiva and Kiva sound alike. They both wiggled their way deep into my heart.
Old photo of the 3-acre "puppy pen".
The posts you see cemented in the ground are the start of what was later completed and used as the "puppy pen", a 3-acre enclosure which housed several of the younger wolfdogs in its heyday.
The old fence was set
2-3 feet down (depending on the terrain) into the trench which was dug by hand.
It was not easy work to dig through hard-pan adobe and rocks, and took a little over a
year to complete this particular enclosure. The trench
was then filled with approx. 1 foot of cement and backfilled with rocks and
clay. The fencing stands 7+ feet tall (depending on the terrain) and is made
of heavy gauge welded wire with stainless steel reinforcement bars. At the time I had very
limited materials access in the local area, therefore much was improvised.
Construction of a 10 foot tall chainlink enclosure expansion at the Ranch.
Installing 8 to 10 foot tall, heavy duty 9 gauge chainlink fencing (which is much more flexible and longer lasting than the fencing used back then), with 4 foot wide dig-guards layed flat down into the earth 1 to 2 feet deep and attached to the upright fencing, is much preferred. Barbless arms at the top, and an option to install hotwire at the top and bottom of the fencing can make the enclosure quite secure.
construction method is used at
Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary
(aka. Candy Kitchen Rescue Ranch) and works wonders to contain even their full-wolves. When I installed a
to expand one of the old ones, I "updated" to this method just mentioned (*sigh of relief*,
it was so much easier to install, and cheaper too with all things considered).
Other Ranch residents (cattle).
This last photo of Kivalliq is one that
pretty much sums up my girl. If you sit in that white chair seen pictured here, you'll
either find yourself vaulted up out of your seat from behind (no matter how heavy you are she
will tip you out of your seat). Or, you'll be treated to a display of "Superwoofy" powers,
leaping tall chairs in a single bound. She does like to entertain...
With the help of a friend, I am finally able to realize my dream of weaving a
tapestry from the fur of my wolfdogs!!! Jeri Monroe, also a wolfdog 'owner',
shares her secrets of carding and spinning shed-fur in the 'Wolf Tales'
section of this site, "Turn Wolf Fur Into Yarn".
This photo is of yarn spun from some of my previous wolfdogs' shed fur.
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