77Old Grumpy Guts gets her moment in the sun. I have promised not to be too mean to her in the write up.

Keetna in the snow in Scotland
Keetna – in the snow in Scotland

Keetna is one of our older, retired house dogs now. The trouble being that Keetna retired as a yearling. In fact, she never really got into the swing of the whole running, working thing and despite repeated attempts to convince her how much fun the rest of us were having, she was having none of it. Even to this day, several years after my last failed conscription party, approaching her with a harness in your hand will evoke body tremors and a “head for the hills” look. Her sire is a very well known multi CC winning UK show champion who has sired quite a few other litters than the one we got Keetna from. All I can hope is that somehow, she is far from representative of what he produces.

So, she’s a house dog or just as often, a hole dog. Keetna loves sleeping in holes. If there isn’t one handy, she’ll dig a new one. She made excavations around most of the Sono tubes supporting our deck here during the hot days of May and June to create shady spots.

Now, traditionally retired house dogs usually get the job of being aunt or uncle to young pups. They teach them some manners, how to play and generally act as friend, advisor and teacher. Not Keetna, she loathes puppies and all young dogs until they are big enough to stand up for themselves. At which point, she usually regrets the previous months of being mean to them. Our “Buffalo” litter, born in 2003, were the first to experience the wrath of the Keetna dog. She would stalk them, trying to single one out of the group and generally rough them up. Truth be told, she seemed to prefer the mental torture of stalking them and rushing up to them, over any actual physical harm – but the pups, who were probably around 12 weeks old before she was allowed anywhere near them, weren’t to know this. Those pups were all pretty chilled, laidback dogs and it all ended peaceably one day when Keetna realised that those youngsters were all much bigger than her.

It was a behaviour pattern she tried to repeat when Ruya arrived as a young pup, however Ruya had a protector in recently arrived imported Seppala, Inka. Inka took to Ruya and decided her job was to look after her. It only took a couple of occasions where Keetna was stalking Ruya, to see Inka fly across the yard and insert herself between Grumpy and the puppy, for Keetna to get the message. Thereafter, it all went smoothly.

So, that’s Keetna – she got her name from the town of Talkeetna – now spookily close to where we live, but 10 years ago, merely a cool sounding name on a map.

3 dog dryland race team
Keetna and Ribhinn lead Tindale, Tenstmuir Nov 2002
Keetna in Alaska
Keetna August 2010

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