Sled-Dog Race, Anyone?


Nikki as pup

Most of us know that Ms. Morano, recently-retired Rectory science teacher, loves dogs. However, do we really know how many dogs she has? I think you would be surprised….

The DiRectory: What inspired you to raise dogs?

Ms. Morano: To be honest with you, I am a cat person. My brother gave me my first Siberian Husky when I turned 21 years old. I fell in love with the breed. (They are like cats in dogs clothing). I have had Siberians most of my life until about five years ago. Siberians have tons of energy; I used to take the dogs sledding with my Rectory students. Since I am older now, I thought it would be more fair to have a dog that did not have the need to be so active.  That led me to the discovery of the Alaskan Klee Kai, which is a miniature husky.

The DiRectory: How many dogs do you have now, Ms. Morano?

Ms. Morano: The number of dogs I have varies. I often take in animals to train or rehabilitate, and when I have a litter, there are a few more for a couple of months. Right now, I have nine dogs; two are visiting.

The DiRectory: What are their names? How did you name them?

Ms. Morano: Well, I’d be happy to tell you.

          • Deke, 13.5 years old, is named after an ice hockey move which means fake or decoy. He is good-natured but VERY chatty.

          • Sassy, 13 years old, is short for Sassafras, which represents her Sassy nature.

          • Addie, 11 years old, is a nickname for Attitude, which describes her temperament.

          • Nikki, 7 years old, was born on the feast of St. Nicholas and named in honor of that day. Nikki thinks she is the only dog in the world, and I often brought her to school when I worked here. She is very calm and is actually Deke’s granddaughter.

          • Kinny, 8 years old, is one I rescued. He had been confined to a breeding kennel for the first four years of his life. Since he was not socialized, he was not comfortable with
people he did not know, but he was comfortable with me. His name is actually Kinegnak which is a place in Alaska. Many Alaskan Klee Kai breeders name their dogs
after places in Alaska, or native Alaskan words.

          • Gigi, 3 years old, is short for Gray Girl. She is Nikki and Kinny’s daughter.

          • Latte, 6 years old, was sent to me by another breeder. Her name is short for “Splash of Crème.” All the pups related to her have a coffee-themed name. Her owner likes to call
her Bubba, but I like Latte better.  I don’t know how long she will be with me, but she and Kinny are friends.

          • Nash, 2.5 years old, was sent to me by a breeder who became ill.  He is a sweet little dog who has been moved around twice already. I am working with him and will decide
what is best for him.

          • Mocha, 1 year old, is Latte and Kinny’s daughter.  She is a VERY athletic and energetic puppy. I am working on her training and skills.

The DiRectory: What do you love most about raising dogs?

Ms. Morano: Although it can be stressful, I love getting puppies off to a good start.  I start with their ‘puppy school’ at the age of two days. This consists of exposing them to a variety of sights, sounds, smells, positions, and surfaces. It helps them to be more resilient and social as they grow older.

The DiRectory: What is your favorite thing to do with your dogs?

Ms. Morano: My favorite activities to do with my dogs require them to use their minds to solve problems. Agility is a dog sport that requires activity and problem-solving skills.  I also like nose work and crate games. Lately, I have been working to rehabilitate dogs that have issues due to trauma or upbringing. It is difficult, but I find it very gratifying.  

The DiRectory: Would you ever want to adopt or foster any other animals?

Ms. Morano: I love all animals, and I have had so many over the years. Since I have been in the area, I have had a horse, pony, chickens, geese, and pigs in addition to dogs, cats, and hamsters.

The DiRectory: As an animal lover myself, this article was so much fun for me. I could never have imagined that you had so many dogs. And they are all so beautiful! Thank you, Ms. Morano!