Big Stu joined the FTK pack in the summer of 2018. He had been passed between multiple kennels, never staying anywhere too long. We knew Stu came from a solid lineage (he is M’s littermate) and heard he was a beast on the line. We didn’t understand why anyone would want to give him up. Once Stu landed at our kennel, we found out rather quickly why he had trouble finding a place to call home. Stu was a fighter. He didn’t like other dogs in his personal space and gave little warning before acting out aggressively towards his packmates. Within the first week of Stu arriving at our kennel, we had 3 dogs with staples in various parts of their body. The upside: Stuart was the strongest sled dog we had ever encountered. Stu’s drive and enthusiasm were unmatched- not to mention he is also incredibly affectionate and sweet towards people. His individual power was palpable on the line and we knew that he was meant to be on our team. We decided that if we were going to keep this dog, a serious intervention was needed. Jeff reached out to a buddy who is a military dog trainer, Mike Ritland. Mike gave us advice and training tips to help build a trusting relationship with Stu. For several weeks, Stu lived in the house, was kennel trained, hand fed, and walked on a leash for bathroom breaks. Exercise was 1:1 runs with Jeff. Basically, anything he needed was provided directly by the hands of Jeff. Over the course of several weeks, Stu earned our trust to go back on the line with the team. We started off by keeping him solo on the line but then decided to try him next to his sister M. This pair was the perfect match. They have never once been in a fight and they give each other the personal space that they each appreciate. The goal with dog mushing is to always set your dogs up for success. Don’t put them in situations that are designed to fail. Stuart helped us learn this early on. Although Stuart has slowed down a bit over the past year, he still shows desire to run with the team. We had planned on retiring him after last year but when fall training rolled around, Stu was screaming to be put back in harness. Who are we to deny him this pleasure?
LINEAGE/FAMILy at ftk
Stuart is the son of Stone (Judy Currier’s Kennel) and Nacho (SP Kennel). Nacho is the prodigee of Venus and Zorro (Mackey kennel). Stone is the prodigee of Hooch (Currier) and Solomon (Little)
Family at FTK: Stuart and M are siblings from the same litter. Stu is uncle to Fozzie, Gonzo, Animal, Piggy and Dani.