Susan Fletcher and I have been good friends going back to the dark days of the 1980s when we had the only two Chinooks in the Northwest (probably on the West Coast in fact) in my Northdown Skykomish and Hurricane Cheechako, and her Winterset Arielle Cavorts.
For years we traveled together to dog shows in California or Michigan (our version of "local" shows in the 1990s) and bred multiple generations of Chinooks together as well.
Though we each have our own unique bloodlines, we've also blended our bloodlines, along with those of WoodsRunner Chinooks of Maine, producing some of the Northwest's finest Chinooks.
Starting with the breeding of North Wind Kiska and Mystic Sahalee Rain, Susan kept their daughter Quinnie and I had Thunder, plus his sister Misha lived near me with a friend.
We traded pups back and forth and even came up with a unique naming for these shared dogs and bloodlines: if a pup was born at her house it was a "Frontier Rain Dancer" and when born at my house it would be a "Mountain Rain Dancer.
The "Dancer" was in honor of Quinn's baby name of Dancer; she was the first Mountain Rain Dancer Quinault.
Logo by Susan Fletcher, Frontier Chinooks, used here with permission and much appreciation of her great talent.
Portrait of Backroads Kayak, copyright 2004, Susan Fletcher
Susan Fletcher and Frontier Chinooks are located on "Mud Hill" just outside of Washougal, Washington.
Washougal is one of the northeastern suburbs of Portland, Oregon, on the Washington State side of the Columbia River.
"Mud Hill" got its name for a reason.
Susan Fletcher with her partner Marian Brennan moved to the property outside of Washougal in the early 1990s, looking for a place to build a house and have as many animals as they wanted.
Susan is a professional dog trainer with a wide variety of interests, both canine and otherwise.Her dogs compete in agility, flyball, obedience, weight pull, and have an extensive repertoire of tricks.
Frontier dogs -- both those she has bred and those that arrive by other means -- are known for their outstanding temperaments.
The emphasis in the Frontier breeding program is on healthy dogs that with the best personalities possible.
Puppies are placed in homes where they will have a job to do, be it as a family pet and companion, as service dogs for the disabled, showing in conformation, or in competitive agility, rally, or obedience.
The job can be almost anything as long as there is something to occupy the brain of a dog that tends to be rather smart.
Enjoy your visit to Mud Hill and introduction to the Frontier Chinook pack.
In addition to your virtual visit to Mud Hill, actual visitors are also welcome; Susan enjoys having people come by to meet the dogs.
Though the breed is not as rare as it was when she first began her Chinook adventure in the late 1980s, there are still very few locations where you can meet a group of Chinooks all at once.
The only breeder currently in the Portland/Vancouver area; the next closest are 200 miles north in the Seattle area or 135 miles south near Eugene, Oregon.
Please call to arrange a time (usually on weekends).
Susan works in Portland at a dog training and daycare facility and occasionally has people meet her there.
Susan works in Portland at a daycare facility and training center for dogs so she will occasionally have people meet her there.
Owned & Handled by Susan Fletcher, Frontier Chinooks
Meet the Chinooks
Susan first read about Chinooks in a Dog Fancy article in the late 1980s.
That began her search.
She and her partner Marian Brennan already owned Lab mixes Star and Sasha, an Australian Cattle Dog named Britta, and German Shepherd Dog named Raya.
Susan was looking for a friendly and readily trainable breed since she was working as a trainer in Portland.
The Chinook attracted her due to their friendly nature and "every-dog" look.
A purebred would make it easier for her to compete in formal obedience trials.
The floodgates were opened and within a few years, Boone, Kayak, Dakota, and Quinn joined the family as Susan met other Chinook owners and breeders.
Susan and Marian had moved from the Portland suburbs to Mud Hill and I guess you could say it was all downhill from there.
But these dogs developed in Susan and Marian a lifelong passion for the Chinook breed.
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