journey with the American Indian Dog began with a "ping"
from my girlfriend Tricia. She simply stated, "You got
to see this dog"! I took a look at the website she provided,
and there he was, later I found out he was Tonka, The American
Indian Dog. This picture and description of the breed were not
even from Kim's website. It described the American Indian Dog,
its sizes, its temperament, its health issues (which there were
none), etc. I knew I had to take a closer look, and explore
more for myself.
I had been looking for a dog that was similar
to a Siberian husky or a Malamute. I initially loved them simply
for their looks, but didn't know much about the breed. Tricia
had owned a Siberian husky. It met an untimely demise, being
hit by a car. She told me about her relationship with her dog.
She told me they were bred for running, pulling a sled. Instinctually
they will run from their owner in that drive to pull the proverbial
sled. I wasn't sure if that was the dog for me even if it did
The other dog I have fallen in love with time
and time again is the Golden Retriever. Unfortunately, this
breed has been bastardized by the unfaithful, money hungry AKC.
Most of them are loveable, but neurotic as hell.
I dug further into the American Indian Dog thing.
I read Kim's website, ordered the books available from the website,
saw the pictures, etc. We lived in Colorado at this time and
rented. We lived in the same house as the landlord. They had
one of those loveable, neurotic, people hungry, Golden Retrievers.
We wondered if the American Indian Dog would fit into this structure.
The data I had read said yes, but that was just data and not
real life. We knew the environment was perfect as the house
backed up to thousands of acres of open space. There was tons
of room to teach and let a dog live.
Tricia had been pressuring me to call Kim. It
took me a while to build up my confidence. After all, I would
be talking to a man who has spent approximately 30 - 40 years
around these dogs. Would he accept me as a potential owner?
Would we be able to do right by this living creature? I don't
know if Tricia or I could handle being rejected. We really had
built up quite an excitement for the American Indian Dog. I
came home from work one day and decided to call Kim. We talked
for about 45 minutes. At the end I asked "well when do
I need to do the interview to get on the waiting list?"
He said, "We just did it. You can get on the list anytime."
Tricia, like an expectant child at Christmas, asked, "Well,
what did he say?" I said we're in! She jumped for joy,
and we did the happy dance. Now we just had to clear this through
the landlord. I asked the landlord the very next day. She said,
"Let me think about it, and touch base with me next week."
The next week we touched base. The verdict was not at all what
we wanted to hear. It was a hesitant no. We were, to say the
least, seriously bummed. So for two years we waited
I took a transfer to California towards the end
of 2002, the Bay area to be specific. It was at this time we
knew we could get the American Indian Dog. We called Kim, who
at this time had forgotten us. I don't blame him. It was two
years after all! We re-interviewed. Our biggest concern now
was we lived in the city. It was not as easy to train and let
a dog run free. No backyard and a one bedroom apartment, but
we were up to the challenge. We took our first trip to Kim's
in April 2003. We put our deposit down, and were officially
added to the list. We met several American Indian Dogs on that
trip. The hearty and well built Rogue, much like the river!
Strong, father to many children, Kim's right hand man, and throws
that hip like an ole NHLer. Be prepared! Another was Arrow.
All I can say about her is the eyes. She will devour your soul
with those eyes, and make you melt. Of course there are many
other qualities of hers that would make you melt! I knew at
that point there were the dogs we had read about on Kim's website
and in the books we had ordered. They were exactly what we wanted.
They had the perfect size, and the perfect temperament. We met
several other American Indian Dogs on that trip: Tonka, Mouse,
Bull, Ghost, Dancer, and several others. We did not know at
the time, but inside Arrow was growing our pup!
We went back home two happy campers. We were ready
to settle down to another six month wait. Tricia called me at
work on day breathless. I asked, "What the hell you been
doing?" She said, "Kim just called, our pup is ready
for us to pick out." Needless to say, we packed our shit
and headed north to the hills of Southern Oregon. The day had
come! Two and half years later, we were getting our puppy.
Kim put us up in the fifth wheel behind his house.
We were living, eating, sleeping, and breathing the realm of
what these dogs call home. The next day we went to the kennel.
There were three black and tan pups, and three reddish cream
pups. He said, "Your pup is in there." We took the
three reddish cream pups for a hike. Hilarious to watch those
three little butts waddle ahead of us. We came to a pond on
the property, and decided we would stop here. One pup charged
into the water, swam out, and got caught in the reeds. He later
became Beaudy, Beau for short. He is Kiowa's brother, and lives
up on the farm. The other pup decided to investigate the bushes.
He eventually went to someone in upstate New York. Our pup Kiowa
Sage after some initial investigation decided to curl up in
Tricia's lap and sleep the long walk off. We knew at that moment
he was ours. It was just a matter of keeping them straight.
We left that weekend with puppy in tow. Tricia
drove the first stretch and I hung with Kiowa in the back seat.
He looked up at me, and crawled up in my lap. He put a paw in
each shoulder and laid his head next to mine looking out the
back window towards home. I knew what tossed through his mind.
Will I ever see this place again? Will I ever see my mother
again? Will these people be good to me? Let the training begin!
We let Kiowa have his way the first week, and
he proved Kim right! Without tough love and alpha guidance he
would be a terror. We buckled down for the long haul. This meant
Tricia and I coming to terms together on the right approach
on training Kiowa. It made us look inside each other, and measure
our merits as the alpha leader. Kiowa is now over a year old.
Through many trials and tribulations he has become exactly the
dog we wanted. Tricia and I made a decision that he is my dog
for the most part. I am alpha, Tricia is alpha / beta and Kiowa
comes in third but not last. He is well-rounded having been
in many different situations, loves the ball, Frisbee, and any
other thing he can fetch, sleeps in late, explores the woods,
and lately has become interested in chasing squirrels. Our adventure
together has just begun. The bond we have is growing as we learn
together and continuously teach each other. It is a kindred
spirit built on respect, tough love, and alpha guidance. Its
unconditional love as all dogs and some humans are capable of!
I want to close by touching base on the political
mumbo jumbo Kim has to deal with on a daily basis. Every day
he has to fight to prove his dogs, prove his heritage, and prove
his existence is American Indian. American Indian is not simply
blood. It is a state of mind. A state of being. I feel I am
American Indian even though there is only 1/64th or less of
Indian blood that flows in my veins. I respect and love my mother
earth and all her children. It is through them that we gain
wisdom and insight into the way things should be. If you let
your spirit be to explore and learn from the vast amount of
possibilities offered from the spirit that flows through all
things, you will see differently, act differently, and be different.
A new light will shine within you. Not many people will understand,
but that is the way to be American Indian.
Thank you for your hard work, your determination,
your undying and uncompromising spirit. You have saved a dying
breed, and brought it back from extinction. Thank you for not
bowing down and giving in to those who would see this breed
bastardized by the AKC. It is their greed and the green dollars
that drive them. They will never understand what it is like
to look into the eyes of an American Indian dog and see the
world before them. Full of hope, full of passion, full of life!
We believed in Kim so much, we now live in Southern
Oregon. Tricia works for him, and Kim's father. I have the grueling
schedule of still working in California and Southern Oregon.
Kiowa shares his time between the country of Oregon and the
big city of California. For most AKC dogs it would be utter
chaos, as they need a very specific routine to get along and
survive. That neuroticism alive and well! For Kiowa or any other
American Indian dog its part of the routine. They go with the
flow, and through tough love and alpha guidance on the part
of the pack leader, their pack will persevere!
If you feel the need to talk to me about this
breed or my testimonial, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your time!