Interview with Working Group Breeder Pam Fusco
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Pam Fusco: We live in Southeast Michigan. I started showing Golden Retrievers in 1981. My first litter of Alaskan Malamutes was born in 1997.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Pam Fusco: Our kennel name is “Illusion.” My husband is a professional magician, and each dog that we keep is named after a magician or a magical effect. We currently have six dogs.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Pam Fusco: There are two. The first was my first male, “Houdini,” CH Sno Shire’s Houdini of Illusion OA OAJ NJP WWPD. He was a multiple Group winner and placer. We also had a lot of fun in the agility ring together. The second is “Tornado,” GCHS Ch Illusions Beyond Imagination WWPD. He was a multiple Group winner and placer, as well as a multiple Specialty winner.
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Pam Fusco: Tornado has been my most influential sire, and his grandmother, “Trix,” CH Storm Kloud’s Xpect My Trix WWPD, my most influential dam. I can see her face in all of my dogs. Luckily, she didn’t pass along her tricks to her kids!
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Pam Fusco: We don’t have a facility. We do have a few indoor/outdoor kennels and fenced exercise yards. Our puppies are born in our home with us. Once they are moving around pretty well, they spend most of the day playing in the puppy yard. I like to be sure my puppies get lots of fresh air and exercise.
What is my “process” for selecting show puppies? At what age do I make my decisions?
Pam Fusco: I watch my puppies moving outside naturally. I have found that at eight weeks, what I see and feel is how they will be as adults.
How do I prepare my pups for the show ring? Does my breed require any special preparation?
Pam Fusco: Just practice at home and in class.
Are Performance and Companion titles important to me as a breeder? Are parent club titles?
Pam Fusco: I encourage performance and companion titles because they help with the relationship with the handler. Our parent club working titles are important to me because they allow me to evaluate work ethic.
In my opinion, is my breed in good condition overall. Any trends that warrant concern?
Pam Fusco: I think the Malamute is in good overall condition. For the past several years, a rounder eye is seen, which is undesirable.
Is my breed well-suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Pam Fusco: Yes, they can be great family dogs. A fenced yard is a must, and owners who are “strict” are best.
My dogs do best in homes where they are part of the family, but know who is boss.
Do I feel that my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Pam Fusco: In recent years, the number of preservation breeders has gone down. I’m not sure that this has greatly impacted the breed as a whole… yet.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Working Dog?
Pam Fusco: I’m not sure if it was amusing for me, but I had a special who decided to do “the zoomies” in the BIS ring in front of Jon Cole. There just wasn’t anything I could do about it but let him have his fun.