Malapups (malamute puppies)

WARNING: Extreme cuteness follows.

When Maia and Meadow were young trail running dogs, they attracted a lot of attention when out with me on local trails. People wanted to meet them. One day, a woman named Joan saw me and the girls at a trail head and asked if she could say hello. She quickly became enamored. The girls and I saw Joan several more times over the next few weeks, and each time she asked more questions about the breed and the girls in particular. Soon Joan and her husband Doug asked about breeders. I gave them contact information for Meadow's breeder.

Knowing Joan and Doug would like get a "pet quality" malamute from the breeder, which could also mean a wooly, like Meadow, I warned them. Wooly malamutes are very high maintenance because of their extra thick and long coats. I give Meadow a haircut every three months just to keep her coat from matting. They were undeterred, and soon came home with a wooly pup they named Nisqually. She came from Meadow's breeder and was the spitting image of Meadow. 

Nisqually came to Maian Meadows Dog Camp when she about a year old.

Nisqually (in hat), with Meadow, and Maia behind her during dog camp costume contest.

Sadly, late last year Nisqually was diagnosed with bone cancer. She was just shy of her ninth birthday when she passed away.

Heartbroken, after the New Year Joan and Doug started searching for another malamute pup. By early February they were on a plane to California. They came back the same day with...TWO malamute puppies! Both of them woolies.

A girl named Shasta...

 ...and a boy named Tuolumne.


I finally got a chance to meet them a couple of days ago. I wanted to meet them before they got too big - they grow fast!

Siblings Shasta (top) and Tuolumne.

Tuolumne's coloring and wooly coat reminds me of Meadow as a pup:

Meadow at about four months, covered in pond scum.
Shasta's black and white coat reminds me of my first malamute, Opus. I got Opus in 1985, and she lived just past her fourteenth birthday. She, too, was an excellent trail dog. She also had a normal malamute coat - normal thickness - as does Maia.

Opus at Surprise Lake near Snoqualmie Pass, WA, probably 1988.
Unlike Maia and Meadow, Opus had a cat for a housemate; they were buddies.

Opus and Prosser share my bed.
[Side note: The blue goose down comforter in the photo above was a 21st birthday gift from my father. Sadly, around 1995 my house was broken into, and the burglars used the comforter to haul away my stereo, CDs and a roommate's cameras away. I didn't care about the stereo and CDs. I cared terribly about the comforter.]

As Maia and Meadow wind down their lives, it's fun to see a new pair of malamutes just beginning theirs. Joan and I will arrange for the pups to meet the girls and Finn soon, so that they'll always enjoy seeing them, wherever they may meet. 

Shasta and Tuolumne are full of mischief and little hellions right now. Can you imagine house training two rambunctious pups at the same time, while living in a townhouse with a small yard? They wrestle with each other, jump up on people, and bark. Yes - bark. A lot. In my experience, this is very unusual in malamutes, who typically "talk" and then, only rarely (e.g. when they're impatient for their dinner). I'm not sure I've ever heard Meadow bark; Maia will bark when she wants me to let her inside because she doesn't like using the dog door. They sometimes howl when a police or fire siren wails nearby. When they were young and wrestled like Shasta and Tuolumne do, they growled and talked to each other a lot in play. Now, rarely.

Joan said that when they drove up to the breeder's home in California, the entire kennel (numerous dogs) broke into loud and insistent barking. Apparently it's a trait that breeder has allowed to creep into her dogs' bloodlines. I find that sad. One of the things I've always loved about malamutes is their stately quiet and calm demeanor, speaking - with a low growl, a howl, or their trademark happy woo woo wooooos - only when they truly have something important to say. Regular and incessant barking - as Joan says Shasta and Tuolumne do - makes them less than true malamutes in my mind.

As adorable as Shasta and Tuolumne are, I'm glad I don't live next door to them.
Rebecca WallickComment