The Whiteout Racing Kennel puppies — Sarah, Bill and Percy — are 3 months old and looking more and more like athletes, racing around the yard and tumbling into one another.
Owner and trainer Christina Gibson named the pups after a trio of characters in the children’s book “Owl Babies,” by Martin Wadell. The book was a favorite of hers as a young child.
As the pups developed their unique personalities, the more they resembled the three owl babies in the book. Sarah, the eldest and bravest owl sibling, takes care of her two brothers, reassuring them. Percy is the most cautious owl sibling, and Bill is the smallest little owl in the book.
The same character traits emerged in the puppies: Sarah is the biggest and the bravest, the first to try anything new. Percy is cautious, looking to his sister Sarah for reassurance. Bill is the smallest little guy of the litter, with enormous paws he has yet to grow into.
The pups have started bonding and structure training: learning their manners, keeping all four paws on the ground when greeting people, how to self-calm, and short walks on a leash.
Alaskan Huskies bred for racing are high-energy working dogs. The pups will soon get their chance to run with the big dogs. In the meantime, Christina is training them for when they retire. “I am always thinking ahead to their retirement life as a pet and companion,” she said, in addition to their training as working athletes.
Christina’s dogs all know the difference between the purpose of each piece of equipment. The dogs will pull in a harness — as is desired in a racing athlete — but will remain calm and heel while wearing a leash. The dogs are crate-trained and take turns living in the kennel with their teammates, and spending nights in the house with a family, growing familiar with television noise and family routines in a house.
The dog team will resume training in cooler fall weather. The puppies will take their first runs in a harness starting in September. During the hot summer months, the Whiteout Racing team is looking forward to playtime, with splashes in a kiddie pool, and one-on-one hiking with their handlers.
In other Lower Valley news, aka Met-Low, aka Methow Deep, aka the place with the not-so-crowded hiking trails and swimming holes, the Carlton General Store is showing signs of life. The self-service gas pumps are on and are quieter than the talking pumps at that other place up the road in Twisp. The store, for now, is even quieter because it is not officially open. Owner Scott Edson had no comment.
And in other, louder, more celebratory Met-Low news, The Apple Pie Jamboree is on! The Color Run is this Saturday (July 17) at 7 a.m. Registration starts at 6:30 a.m. There will be 1-mile and 5K routes. All ages welcome. The starting line is located in front of the Pateros Methodist Church.
A popular event for over 70 years, Apple Pie Jamboree is an annual community fundraiser supporting Pateros youth programs: sports, music, theater and two weeks of free swimming lessons. All the action is July 16-18. The weekend is packed with kids’ games, food, art vendors, 3-on-3 basketball tournaments, the Color Run, parade, fireworks, jet ski races, pancake breakfast, fried chicken dinner, and of course, apple pie.
Registration forms for teams, vendors and volunteers, along with the event calendar are on the jamboree webpage: www.paterosapj.org.