Our First Little Dog

Because of Mark and Diane's interest in sled dogs and in mushing, the perfect holiday gift for them could have been nothing other than a little Alaskan Klee Kai named Cash. "Johnny Cash" came to the Johnson family for Christmas in 2004. He was just bearly 8 weeks old that holiday season, and the entire family fell in love with him. As Cash grew, he grew to love all of the people in his life. He loved to be with people, and would come running whenever any of us called his name. Cash even had an individual way of greeting each member of the family. He lived happily at Over the Hill Kennels and rode in the car to soccer games whenever he had the chance. He was adored by every member of the extended Johnson family. Cash was loyal, loving, playful, and extremely wonderful to have as a day to day companion.

His favorite toy was a stuffed, talking dog named Willamina Wolf. When you squeezed the dog, it would howl and say "I'm Willamina Wolf. Think only good thoughts". Cash treated the stuffed dog like a littermate, playing with it every day, sleeping with his head on Willamina Wolf's side. He loved that stuffed toy as much as he loved his humans.

In the early summer of 2005, the family was greatly saddened to lose Cash in a freak accident. The family was devastated that he was taken from us at such a young age. Cash taught the entire family so many valuable lessons about life. To enjoy each day, to always love to go for a ride with friends, to cherish those that you love. However, one of the greatest lessons he taught us was to "think only good thoughts". We were extremely saddened by the loss of this little dog. In our devastation, we realized that in the Alaskan Klee Kai we had found the perfect breed of dog. Cash was so devoted and loving and lovable to us. Tony, Liza, Mark and Diane decided that the best way to honor Cash's memory and to help heal the hole left by him in our lives was to begin to help promote this amazing breed. Following in his example, we named our kennels CashKa Kennels. According to a favorite book series of ours (the Dark Tower by Stephen King), Ka is the force that drives destiny, and it is our destiny to help this beautiful breed of little dogs succeed in the world today.

When we arrived in Colorado to purchase our Alaskan Klee Kai to begin our Kennel, we were struck by the three Klee Kai we met. Because of technical problems with getting dogs to their owners (due to computer malfunctions), they were all nearly 8 months old, much older than the age puppies are usually adopted into new families. We knew that they would be a challenge to train, and we contemplated waiting months for new puppies who would be easier to adapt into our lifestyle. However, we thought about Cash, and about our Ka, or our Destiny. These dogs were almost the same age as Cash was when he died, and it seemed very apparent that they had not already been adopted for a reason. That reason was us.

The three dogs have been a challenge, indeed. Our lifestyle here in the Midwest is drastically different from the lifestyle they were used to in Colorado. The dogs have had to adapt to many things, and we have had to adapt in many ways to having the dogs. However we have taken each day as it comes, and viewed each challenge as a blessing. Wicket, Rx, and our female, Willamina Wolf are beautiful and wonderful dogs, and we are very blessed that we were given the opportunity to become their humans.