Copyright © 2003 J. Jeffrey Bragg
Duska of Seppala
REPORTED THE EUTHANISATION of TONY and PIETRO to
to Earl. Later in the spring, he came through with something
truly exciting. For all I know, he may have been testing my
bona fides with two dogs that he considered culls. At
any rate, he offered to lease me a bitch, DUSKA OF SEPPALA,
that he had in the Willow kennel, and sent a terrible
Polaroid photo of her. I could tell little from the
Polaroid, but I said, "Yes! Please ship her." As the season
turned, DUSKA arrived at Toronto International Airport. When
I saw her, I knew we finally had something worth a try. She
wasn't exactly pretty, with a particolour eye that gave her
a strange expression, but she was trim, correctly put
together, and friendly. She weighed about thirty-five pounds
and had the extravagantly tall ears that I later came to
recognise as typically Seppala. Moreover, her movement was
just fine, unlike TONY and PIETRO.
DUSKA promptly and co-operatively came in season, and on the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th of July was mated by DITKO. Promptly on schedule, on the 13th of September 1970, DUSKA OF SEPPALA gave birth to seven puppies; it was the first litter from two McFaul-bred parents since 1964. I was entranced; they looked like no litter I had ever seen. One was a piebald; one was nearly all-dark; two were fawn; one was silver; two were black, dark grey and white. Their markings were totally unlike those of the show stock. And this litter, I knew beyond all doubt, was pure Seppala strain. I thought then, and wrote in an article for the Siberian Husky Club of Canada Newsletter, that such dogs as these might be used as "a new beginning, the starting point for a renewal of the ideals and the type of dog that first won renown for the Siberian Husky . . ." Little did I know how naïve that thought was.
WAS STARTING to turn my way, for it would have been sometime
in 1970 that I met Johanna Wilson, Permafrost Kennels,
Hudson, Québec. The extrovert, red-headed Mrs. Wilson
was an avid admirer of "Mac" McDougall who unquestioningly
believed his every word and passed on some incredible tales.
Mac had a curious sense of humour and told Johanna how "the
long coated Siberians came from a Chow Chow cross, and the
reds from an Irish Setter," and "Gatineau was Donnie
McFaul's experimental farm where he tried out things like
Collie crosses." Johanna never realised that her leg was
being pulled. However, she acquired a few wonderful dogs
from Malamak, such as MALAMAK'S EGO and MALAMAK'S JET. Since
she had a good idea where Malamak spin-off stock could be
found in Québec, Johanna was a "find" for me, and
that summer I acquired FROSTFIRE ANISETTE (by MALAMAK'S
GLACIER out of MALAMAK'S JAUNTY). "Annie" was an energetic,
friendly, zany bitch of around 42-45 pounds, slate grey and
white with blue eyes. She made an excellent addition to my
team, a willing and trouble-free worker.
Just after the whelping of the H-Litter, I took DITKO onto Weirs Side Road beside the house and hooked him alone to my wheeled rig to take some photos, as we intended to feature him in an ad for our kennel. Dit obligingly ran up and down the road pulling the rig alone as I snapped and Mary drove the rig. I was stunned when I developed the photos, as I had not realised until that moment that he was doing a true suspended or "flying" trot (all four feet off the ground at once) while pulling the rig. I asked my German Shepherd Dog breeder/judge friend Gordon Garrett whether he thought a dog could do a flying trot while pulling; he unhesitatingly laughed at the idea, and was astonished when I showed him the photo below.
Photo courtesy Elsie Chadwick, Siberian Husky Archives