The Alaska Malamute Assistance League is proud to announce the recipients of the 2014 Christenson Award! The aim of The Christenson Award is to recognize those people who are always there, working and volunteering beyond the call of duty, yet are seldom in the limelight. Congratulations to all the recipients!

Louise Sturm, Linda Owen and Jeanette Prevel

Louise Sturm, Linda Owen and Jeanette Prevel have been faithfully walking, grooming and biking the Aluk Malamutes at Mal Village since March of this year. We first met them when we made a visit to Helena and were still evaluating the dogs there. With their added help we were able to assess over 60 dogs in a couple days! That weekend, we also experimented with taking a few dogs out for a short walk. That experience of taking those dogs out and having them enjoy the freedom out side their kennels must have struck a nerve and ever since then these ladies have been spending any weekend free they have to volunteer with exercising and grooming as many dogs as possible at Mal Village.

These wonderful ladies were volunteers a little over 10 years ago with a huge Collie puppy mill bust in Northern Montana. They and others would drive from Helena north to “Camp Collie”, as often as possible, to work with the dogs – grooming, exercising and just giving them some much needed love and attention. Louise still has a rescue Collie from that seizure, Linda has quite the menagerie of dogs at her place, and Jeanette has Mals she shows and competes in agility events.

Even with dogs of their own to care for, Linda, Louise and Jeanette are truly dedicated to helping the Aluk Malamutes enjoy their long stay at Mal Village while everyone waits for the legal process to crawl along slowly. They have been wonderful about keeping in touch with us about all their experiences each weekend and asking for advice and giving suggestions. We all have learned a lot in this process and those three have been especially gracious and always willing to try some of our ideas. And have we ever noticed a wonderful change in the dogs when we would go to visit each time! With the Mals getting more and more exercise, they seemed calmer, some of the shyer dogs seemed more comfortable with people and their dedication was rubbing off on the other caretakers who also started taking time out of their busy schedules to get the dogs out for a walk or brushing.

It’s always fun to be around these three when we visit the dogs – they are always willing to try walking new dogs or help us out with whatever is the biggest need at the time. They also were super organized about keeping cards on how the dogs were progressing each time they would take them out which is an invaluable addition to the assessments we have made. They started naming all the female dogs and that got the caretakers interested in naming the males. Louise has also been really helpful updating our huge master spreadsheet on all the dogs – adding their names and all the updates they have made since walking them on the weekends.

We don’t know what we would do without these three marvelous dog lovers! They have contributed immensely to helping with the Aluk Malamutes and will continue to do so while there are dogs still there and need the exercise and attention. We feel they all deserve and epitomize this important award.

Louise Sturm and Linda Owen Photo
Louise Sturm and Linda Owen walk a couple Aluk Malamutes in Helena, MT.
Jeanette Prevel Photo
Jeanette Prevel bikes an Aluk Malamute in Helena, MT.