Registered NI name: Tralildog Innerleithen
Known as: Esme
Date of birth: 12/12/2019
Loves: Shyla (more than everyone put together), her BBF Shadow, mummy Miya, vegetables, snuggles on the sofa, laying in front of the fire.
Can be: The loudest yawner in the house.
Esme is Miya's daughter, and from the first litter we had. We always planned on keeping a puppy from this litter, it was a big milestone in our breeding plans, as well as adding the fourth member to our growing pack, that we definitely wanted. Having Esme from birth has been a special journey for us, not only did we welcome her into this world, be the first to hold her and nurture her and her litter through the first weeks of their lives along with a very attentive and loving mummy Miya, it was such a unique and wonderful experience.
Esme quickly developed her own personality as did all her littermates, and we knew she would fit in well with the rest of our pack. However, as much we knew keeping Esme would change all our lives, we certainly hadn't expected Esme's arrival to have such a big impact on Shadow. When the puppies were born Shadow was only 8 months old and very inquisitive as to what was happening. As the puppies got older and bigger we introduced all our dogs to them slowly. It was clear to see that Shadow and Esme had a special bond. While we were always very careful to supervise any contact, and then play as Esme got older between Esme and Shadow, Shadow was only ever very gentle with Esme. The bond that they both have is incredible and lovely to see. They are more than best friends, where one is the other is never far behind. It is often difficult to know who is causing the most mischief.
Esme is a very gentle puppy, she is not loud unless she is yawning (it really is something special to witness). Esme loves to cuddle, we are sure she still thinks she is a small puppy as she leaps onto our laps almost crushing us at times and settles down to sleep without a second thought, despite the fact she is now the tallest dog in our pack and weighs a sizable 35 kilos, but that's the way it is supposed to be!
Raising Esme from birth means we have been there with her through every milestone, we have seen all her firsts, the first time she opened her eyes, the first time she went outside, the first time she experienced snow, and as she grows with us we just keep adding to this list.
It has been a strange year raising Esme amid lockdown, it has been challenging. Her socialisation went so well at the start, she attended a local puppy socialisation group, her confidence grew and grew, but we admit we lost some of this when the virus and lockdown came into force. We went for weeks without seeing another dog. When lockdown eased and we could again think about getting out further and going for walks, Esme had spent most of her life just with her own pack, and meeting other dogs at the start was difficult. It was difficult for her and yes it was difficult for us. But we took training back to basics. We met some lovely people and dogs out and about who were encouraging, and Esme did overcome this hurdle.
As we head into a new year, and with that a new way of living, we are hopeful the world will eventually return to some sort of normality for us and our pack. Esme has taken this year in her stride as she does everything, and we cannot wait to see the Traildog she will become.
Registered NI name: Westcountry Sovereign
Breeder: Mary Roach at Westcountry Northern Inuits
Known as: Shadow
Date of birth: 11/04/2019
Loves: Esme, Shyla, Miya, vegetables, chasing the hoover, leaping around, howling in excitement and sleeping.
Can be: Completely gorgeous, she gets away with anything!
Whilst we have never hidden the fact that we wanted more dogs (and still do), here at Traildog headquarters we had to wait for our third dog, and that was difficult. When you make the decision to add to your pack, or even just get your first dog, there is part of you that wants that journey to start immediately. Unfortunately in the world of dog breeding nothing is certain and so after making the decision we wanted to add a third to our growing pack we had to wait 6 months. But as we believe in the saying 'everything happens for a reason, waiting meant we got to bring home the most gorgeous, special puppy we ever laid eyes on (in our opinion).
When Mary at Westcountry Northern Inuits gave us the incredible news that not only we could have one of her beautiful puppies, but that we could have the pick of the litter, suddenly having waited those 6 months was worth every second. Shadow had already been born and was approximately 3 weeks old when we got the news. Shadow was from a litter of 8 and all her littermates were light in colour, this meant her dark mask and grey and black tones made her stand out. But it wasn't just her looks that drew us to her. Westcountry is in Plymouth, as such, we had to rely on Shadow's breeder Mary to send us details of Shadow and her littermates, what they were like, and their growing personalities, as well as pictures and video's. It was the combination of all of these that made us fall for Shadow.
It was a 9-hour journey for us to collect Shadow, as all 4 of us packed up to make the journey, and we were so excited. We booked a hotel for the night to break up the long journey and allow us all to rest, but we will both tell you we barely slept that night we were so excited. So Shadow entered our lives and became our third Traildog pack member. Miya and Shyla were not sure for the first 48 hours, but what we loved was the fact Shadow took moving in with us, all in her stride. She was never scared, never phased and it was clear she was one brave and determined puppy from the moment we got her home. Very soon Shyla and Miya not only accepted her but mothered her, loved her and loved to play with her. It had been 4 years since we last had a puppy, and we forgot as with all puppies they are tiring, they demand so much attention, but the pure love they give back was and is worth every second.
We cannot now believe we are only days off Shadow's second birthday. We have just had all her health tests completed and hope to be mating our wonderful girl by the end of 2021. Shadow is a gorgeous, funny, loving dog, and an excellent Traildog. We know she is going to make one amazing mummy and cannot wait to share this with you in the next year.
Registered NI name: Lukoi My Only Hope
Breeder: Rachel & David Blakemore at Lukoi Northern Inuits
Known as: Miya
Date of birth: 27/05/2015
Loves: Shyla, Shadow, biking, playing with squeaky toys & snow
Can be: Loud
We were lucky enough to have owned Miya from a puppy, in fact at 3 weeks old from the first time we met her and her litter mates, we fell in love with her and knew she would be the one we would be taking home.
Owning a puppy for the first time in many years was everything we expected it to be and more. As much as we prepared, we can't lie there were times it was difficult, but overall it was amazing. She grew into an incredible dog, we put a lot of time and effort into training her in her first year to get her ready to bike when she was old enough to, and her bones had stopped growing. The first year flew past and she flourished from the scared puppy that didn't want to meet Shyla, to a dog that dotes on everything Shyla does.
We knew even before we bought Miya home that she was very much food driven, but this is not a negative. We knew having a food driven dog would mean it would be easy to train Miya, and it was. Within 2 weeks she was toilet trained, aside from the odd accident that was generally our fault. Within 4 months she would sit, lay down, touch, and stand on command. Within a year she learned to heel, recall and wait.
When the time came for us to introduce Miya to biking we took it slowly, made sure we had dog treats with us, but our biggest asset was Shyla. As Miya would simply want to be wherever she was, training her to be a trail dog was not difficult. The only real problem we have encountered is because Miya is so used to biking with Shyla, when there have been times that Shyla has been unable to bike, encouraging Miya to go by herself is almost impossible.
The thing that really separates our dogs personalities is that while Shyla likes to spend time on her own, Miya definitely does not. Even at night when we are sat all together in our lounge relaxing, you will always find Miya's paw touching at least one of us.
Registered NI name: Shadowlands Faolan Hecate
Known as: Shyla
Date of birth: 09/12/2008
Loves: Biking, cuddles, ice-cream, playing with toys, cheese, sunbathing & snow
Can be: Stubborn
Shyla joined our lives when she was 18 months old, as a rescue. She was our first Northern Inuit and from the moment that we read her advert on the NI rescue page we fell in love and knew she would be part of our lives.
We have come to learn that Shyla isn't like most other Northern Inuits. She is quiet, she hardly ever barks, we think she is very thoughtful and she never complains.
Shyla slotted right into our lives from day one. She picked up being a trail dog easily, and as she has never been one to lead, always preferring to follow, it was very easy to train her. She gets so excited before we go out biking, we now have to pretend we aren't until she has finished her breakfast, or she won't eat she gets that eager to leave. On long walks we discovered she loves rivers, but won't swim. Her favourite game while we are out is us throwing stones into a river, she likes the water to splash her face and she tries to catch the wave the splash creates.
We always knew we wanted a second Northern Inuit in our lives but we were apprehensive about how Shyla would react. We did some research, and the overall opinion we found was that she would probably be grumpy for a few weeks, but would ultimately accept a new dog. However reality couldn't have been further from this. From the second we bought Miya home, Shyla was accepting, nurturing, and was so happy. We always hoped and knew that some of Shyla's traits would influence Miya, but we didn't expect Miya to influence Shyla the way she has. From day one they have been best friends, Shyla has been there to reassure Miya as she has grown, and encouraged her to explore the world around her.
As Shyla was a rescue she was spayed before she came to live with us. There was something in us that always knew how much of a good mother she would have made, and we feel it was a shame that she was never given an opportunity that appeared to come so naturally to her. We could clearly see when she first met Miya, she became her mother instinctively. This is one of the reasons we made the decision to breed Miya, not only to give Miya an opportunity to be a mother, but to allow Shyla to be around puppies, we know she will enjoy.