Calista was not supposed to stay with the Bashaba pack. It became apparent, however, that she had plans of her own and who am I to fight fate? Calista is a deep thinker--a problem solver with confidence in any situation. Her sweetness matched with the smarts proved irresistible, so here she stays!
Calista's structure and personality are exactly what I was hoping for with her litter. Calista is a super-sweet cuddler, and honest worker in harness.
Even I was unprepared for her debut in the show ring! At just 6.5 months old in a “practice” effort, she won Best of Breed 3 out of 4 shows, beating 3 Champions in each show! She also placed in the Northern Group over the weekend. These outstanding results earned her her Championship at a very tender age - the youngest Chinook to do so! That show ring promised flourished with Calista’s win as National Best of Breed in the 2015 Chinook National Specialty. Calista won Best of Breed in 3 of the 4 shows she participated in that weekend, competing against very strong competition. She reprised her National Best of Breed win in 2016- Calista is the ONLY Chinook female to win two National Specialties! These wins, along with strong showing in other shows, earned her the rating of the #1 Chinook in the UKC 2015 & 2016 Top Ten Standings.
Calista was interviewed by Mary Carillo at the 2013 National Dog in Philadelphia- Mary was in love with Calista’s mismatched ears, which are acceptable per the Chinook standard. Chinooks are working dogs, after all, and ears don’t pull the sled!
Calista has another distinction - she is the Chinook catalyst for finding two genetic conditions in the breed. On a whim, I had her DNA sent off to MyDogDNA to be studied, and was shocked when she received the results that she was a carrier for a type of dwarfism only known in Norwegian Elkhounds and Karelian Bear Dogs. While Calista is not affected, she does have a half-sibling that was one of the very rare dwarf dogs we see in Chinooks. With some excellent participation from the Chinook community and Genoscoper, we were able to validate that the Chinook dwarfism is indeed caused by the same mutation and therefore developed the very first genetic test for Chinooks. The test means that it is now quite simple to ensure that Chinooks are tested and bred so that we do not produce any dogs affected with dwarfism in the future. Calista's picture was even featured in the scientific research, published in PLOS ONE (http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0161005)!
“Calista” in the traditional Yup’ik language of the Alaskan Yukon-Kuskokwim delta is derived from “Cali” which means work and “ista” which means someone or something which does. With her determination, focus and excellent work ethic, Calista is living up to her name. “Calista” also means “most beautiful” in Greek and she was a nymph that was turned into a she-bear. The she-bear hung the constellation Ursa Major (the Great Bear or the Big Dipper). Since Conaway’s full name Passaconaway means “Son of the Bear”, ‘Calista’ has meaning here on many levels!
‘Linto’ means “sing” in Abenaki, native to New Hampshire and Maine, the birthplace of Chinooks. Calista’s mother’s formal name is “Lyric Tikaani”, and it felt right to carry the melodious tradition forward. Calista is a very harmonious addition to the Bashaba pack!