The Full Story
I was not born into a dog family. We aren't 40 years into breeding, and I didn't grow up ring side or in the bush running hounds.
I guess you could call us slow learners. But it highlighted for me just how vulnerable the public is, because we quite literally didn't even know where to start looking for a dog, let alone a well bred one. The only people willing to talk to me with my zero years of experience were the backyard breeders who were more than happy to blow smoke up my ass if it meant we bought a dog. The "ethical" breeders talked to me like I was an idiot, if they even replied at all.
I have been fortunate to have found people who tolerated me when I "knew everything", and who were there to pick me up and brush me off when I found out that wasn't true. Success in breeding comes from your community and your network, not from the efforts of any one person.
Now, I have held an executive position with the Canadian Dogo Argentino Club for 2 years, have participated in breed specific rescue for the last several years and continue to get involved with my breeds where I can. I am eager to build up the working dog community in British Columbia.
What is Sisu?
Sisu begins where perseverance and grit end.
It is the 'second wind' of mental toughness, after reaching the limits of mental or physical capacities.
- Emilia Lahti, "Above and Beyond Perseverance"
To produce balanced and beautiful utilitarian working dogs, and to build a community of people committed to the preservation of these incredible breeds.
Naming and marketing the kennel was not a priority for a long time, and given the uphill battle that had been our experience with purebred dogs, it seemed like a moot point to campaign the dogs or the program when success seemed to evade us at every turn. The rollercoaster ride of washing dogs, losing dogs, failed health scores, reproductive issues, failed partnerships and co-owns, aligning with the wrong people and having to start from scratch, rebuilding and trying again seemed to go on forever. There have been times when cutting our losses and moving on seemed like the prudent choice.
To say the journey has been difficult would be an understatement.
But we were unwilling to compromise. We were not going to work with unhealthy or unsound or incorrect dogs. There were already plenty of puppy producers producing problematic dogs and selling to poorly prepared homes, and we were not going to be part of that.
Just like the breeds we represent, we kept pushing forward relentlessly.
Marrying into a Finnish family means you get to adopt culture that you formally would not have gotten to experience, and when I was discussing the name of the program with my mother in law one day, she said to me "Now you must read about sisu. Because that's what I think about when I think of your dogs."
Sisu has no translation, but Finnish author Joanna Nylund wrote:
It can refer to “stoic determination, hardiness, courage, bravery, willpower, tenacity and resilience.” It’s “an action-oriented mindset.” You don’t brag about having sisu; you just “let your actions do the talking.”
The spirit of sisu fuels the program, and lives in our dogs.
Too stubborn to quit, and too fussy to settle.