If Only In My Dreams

By Jay Stoeckl, Chief Assistant to the Assistant, Assistant Breeder, Dec. 12, 2023
Dog Cabins in the Forest
Dog cabins in the Forest

Today, I made my first movie. In the narrative to follow, you’ll find clips of the hilarious story to follow in that movie.

On Saturday I had to drive to town to pick up dog food and straw for the kennel improvements. It snowed all the way home.

The snow whispered that winter is finally arrived and the kennels had to be finished. On our shoestring budget, the improvements would be minimal at best. When I got back, I had just enough time to prepare the nursery cabin for our three white dire wolves, Hedy, Grace, and Marie.

Our three white beauties (cannot imagine how they never got sold) have their own ten by thirty foot covered space. The problem is, the sandy ground won’t be enough to keep them comfortably warm when the real cold sets in. And it can still get wet despite it being all covered.

I had emptied the left of the three chambers in their adjoining cabin, but still needed to ex-pen the walls (to keep them from tearing into the wall) and straw for their floor. Once the straw and ex-pen were in place, I went into their yard and opened up the dog door.

A comical scene ensued. Even with the dog door now open, the three girls had no idea this was a new space they could go. It just didn’t register with them. I went around the front, entered their chamber from the human side, and enticed each of them to come it. I even put their food bowls in with the straw.

Like a card shark shuffling cards, the scene from the open door was like three face cards being expertly shown before shuffling back into the deck. First there was Hedy, no, Marie… Gracie is last. And back to Hedy again… or was it Marie? The three faces would peek in to see where I was. So curious were they that they had to look. But none of them were courageous enough to explore this new scene, even with me standing in the middle of it.

I did not call to them as I was filming the whole time. I just didn’t want my voice to be on the film in case it detracted from the humorous scene of three white faces shuffling in and out. Never having experienced straw, each of them grabbed a small sprig to take back into the darkened yard.

Then all three wanted to peek in at once. You know that if I was holding a steak in my hand, the three of them would have been physically caught without hope of coming forward nor backward. I had to keep from laughing at them.

This cabin was easy. The hardest part was transferring the storage shelves from the left chamber to the right as this made more logistical sense for the dogs. But the remaining five cabins will entail far more attention.

The three original cabins have been used and a little bit abused. These are not yet insulated and the studs are exposed tempting the dogs to chew into them. So I bought drywall corner brackets to protect them. Cabins III, IV, and V are presently being used for storage. So, storage lofts must be built in the ceilings of IV and V.

Cabin I will be used for tools and cutting… for the time being. This means Cabin I (Max and Narissa) will be the last one finished. The rest I’ll improve starting with V and working my way backwards endiing with Cabin I. I’ll share updates throughout the week as I’m starting with tool set up in Cabin I today.

You can view the video with much of this here:


Jennifer is driving like a bat out of hell (I’ve never actually seen what a bat out of hell looks like, but you get the idea :P). She delivered Gladys Saturday and by the time you read this, Trixie will be in her new digs. I’m so excited for Trixie as she has been longing for a home life. I’ll tell you her story tomorrow.

Jennifer Stoeckl is the co-founder of the Dire Wolf Project, founder of the DireWolf Guardians American Dirus Dog Training Program, and owner/operator of DireWolf Dogs of Vallecito. She lives in the beautiful inland northwest among the Ponderosa pine forests with her pack of American Dirus dogs.