Purchased from Malamute breeder Helen Schultz of Tol Istari Alaskan Malamutes
in 1997, Procyon stood out from the start as a very strong and instinctive sled dog. In the winter of 1997-8, he was too young to pull, but we allowed him to run alongside the team. We noticed right away that every time we would put a leash on him to cross a road, he would pull so hard that the sled would catch up to the team and their gang line would go slack - even though he was only wearing a puppy collar and not a harness! When he was old enough to pull, we began training him as a lead dog; he excelled at single lead and ran in that position for nearly all of his pulling career.
When Procyon was 5 years old, he suffered a catastrophic injury, rupturing all the ligaments in his carpus (wrist) when he stepped into a hole while running across the fields at WinterStar Farm. We consulted with several specialists and were devastated to learn that the chances of him ever pulling again were very slim. But we had not counted on his drive and instinct to pull - each time we took the team out without him, he would cry frantically the whole time they were gone. After several months of healing, we decided to splint his leg and hook him up, feeling that his anguish at being left behind was hurting him more than his leg. He started off running 3-legged but still stayed in front of the other dogs and kept his line taut - we joked that he was as good on three legs as other dogs were on four legs! To our delight, Procyon became stronger and more able to use his injured leg with each run, and recovered to the point that we could not detect any lameness, although we continued to use a support wrap on his leg when he was working. He ran lead for us until he was 9 years old, and we retired him when the young dogs - his offspring - that we added to the team could overtake him.
Procyon sired two litters with Sirius
, and is the foundation dog of Winterstarz Alaskan Malamutes. He is the father of Howler, Aurie, Major, Pegs and Minnie, and the grandfather of Penny, Sassy, Huck, Arrakis and Wes. He was shown a few times as a puppy in conformation, but we stopped showing our dogs for a few years in 1999 when we purchased WinterStar Farm and were busy building, and we never put him back into the show ring after that. Procyon is an eager and active dog, and very good with people; he likes to flop
down for a belly rub when children visit us. Procyon was awarded his Register of Merit - Working Dog (ROMWD) title in December 2009 when his fifth offspring, Minnie, earned her Working Dog title. We are thrilled to have so many great working dogs sired by him in our kennel, carrying on his legacy.
Take a look at the advertisement we ran in the January 2010 Alaskan Malamute Club of America Newsletter to celebrate Procyon's ROMWD title - see Advertisement Page 1
and Page 2
On January 6th, 2012, Procyon crossed the Rainbow Bridge. A disc in his lower back had worn out and it was time to say farewell to our wonderful foundation dog, the father or grandfather of nearly all of the dogs at WinterStar Farm. Procyon lived to be 14 years and 7 months old, and leaves behind a legacy of good-natured, hard-working dogs that do him proud every day. Wear your silver harness well, Procyon, and we will see you again on the other side - running lead on the team that arrives to greet us at the gates.