The most famous dog in the world

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Left, Arthur Walden's team of Chinooks in North Conway. (Courtesy photo) Right, Chinook and team at Wonalancet. (Courtesy Perry Greene Kennels)

Celebration of 100th anniversary of Chinook’s birth planned in January


(Editor's note: This is the first of a three-part series on Chinooks in honor of the breed's 100th anniversary.)

TAMWORTH — A celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Chinook, who at one time was the most famous dog in the world, will be held Jan. 13-15 at Camp Cody in Freedom.
12-26 ChinookWaldenChinook, who was the foundation dog of one of the world's rarest breeds, was born on Jan. 17, 1917
at the 1,300-acre Wonalancet Farm and Inn owned by Arthur Walden and his wife, Kate. And like Walden, he would come to occupy an important part in the history of sled dogs, racing and exploration.
Chinook dog owner Bob Cottrell of Freedom, director of the Conway Public Library's Henney History Room and a past director of the Remick Country Doctor Museum in Tamworth, says that the event is being organized by the Chinook Owners Association and is expected to draw Chinooks and their owners from all over the Northeast for a variety of outdoors activities and programs on the history of the Chinooks, who are the state dog of New Hampshire.
Cottrell delivers lectures around the state for the New Hampshire Humanities Council on Chinook history and says that Walden played a major role in sled dog racing history by helping to organize the New England Sled Dog Club in 1924 and in bringing the oldest continuing sled dog race in the country to Tamworth that same year. The event, hosted by the Tamworth Outing Club, will be held this winter on Lake Chocorua on the weekend of Feb. 4-5, the same weekend as the Remick Country Doctor Museum's annual winter carnival.
Cottrell says that he and his wife, Debra, have owned their Chinook, Tug, who is registered as Mountain Laurel Tamworth Tugger, since they acquired him as a puppy in 2005.
Cottrell says that Tug now weighs about 90 pounds, which is very close to the weight of Chinook in his prime. In fact he is from the direct purebred line of Chinook's DNA and was obtained by the Cottrells with the help of Rick Skoglund of Perry Greene Kennels of Waldoboro, Maine, who has worked to preserve the breed and Chinook's original bloodline.
Skoglund wrote a history of the breed in which he says that in 1896, Walden, the 24-year-old son of a Boston minister, left Wonalancet, and his job as farm manager of Katherine (Kate) Sleeper's Wonalancet Farm, and headed to the gold fields of Alaska.
Skoglund writes "Driven by his sense of adventure, he took every job that came his way: prospector, logger, stevedore, river pilot; and the job that he was most taken with, "dog punching" (hauling freight by dogsled). Walden returned to Wonalancet six years later, and in December of 1902, he and Kate Sleeper married. Walden had dog sledding in his blood, but quality sled dogs were not available in New England, so he brought a variety of dogs to Wonalancet and began breeding for dogs that possessed his ideal combination of strength, endurance, speed and good nature.
"He desired a friendly, gentle dog that had tremendous power, endurance and speed. Walden purchased a mastiff-type dog named Kim that was a stray from Danvers, Massachusetts. He later bred Kim to Ningo, a direct descendent of Admiral Peary's famous Greenland Husky lead dog Polaris. Three tawny colored pups were whelped on Jan. 17, 1917, and named Rikki, Tikki and Tavi after Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. Rikki produce those traits which Walden desired and was later renamed Chinook in honor of a wonderful lead dog Walden had left behind in Alaska. Tikki was later renamed Hootchinoo."
Chinook grew to be a massive 95- to 105-pound animal. During the early 1920s Chinook was bred to German and Belgian shepherd working types and perhaps other husky-type dogs. The offspring were then bred back to Chinook to found the breed known today as the Chinook.
Skoglund wrote "With Chinook's offspring, Walden was finally getting the quality of dogs that he was accustomed to working with. In 1920, his new line of what he called "Husky half-breds" made their debut at the Gorham, New Hampshire, Winter Carnival. Walden began to seriously promote dog sledding for draft, recreation and sport. Racing in New England started a year later when Walden began promoting freighting by dogsled to the woodsmen as a faster, more economical way to move supplies to their logging camps. Walden convinced W. R. Brown's paper company of Berlin, New Hampshire to sponsor the first Eastern International Dog Derby in 1922 in part to encourage more people to breed quality sled dogs in the region. Four teams competed in this 123-mile race, Walden, with Chinook in lead, won easily."
The race generated international publicity and was on the front page of The New York Times, making Chinook the most famous dog in the world at that time.
Skoglund wrote "In 1923, a distemper outbreak in Chinook Kennel took its toll, and Walden lost his entire 1922 winning team, except for Chinook himself. Walden took two years off from racing to concentrate on breeding another competitive team, but never stopped supporting the sport. In 1924, the New England Sled Dog Club held its organizational meeting in Arthur Walden's home, and elected Walden its first president. The club is still actively promoting sled dog racing today. In 1925, Walden returned to racing with a young but promising team of Chinook's sons, and proclaiming his Chinook-shepherd crosses as his ideal for strength and stamina. The popularity of Walden's "Chinook dogs" was growing; and, boosted by his January 1926 win at the Poland Spring, Maine, race, interest was such that Walden was beginning to sell a few matched teams of his dogs to other racers as well. In March of 1926, Walden and his team set out on an adventure that he had been considering for years, but which most people considered impossible: the first ascent of Mount Washington by dog team. While turned back by a blizzard on the first attempt, Walden and his team, with old Chinook in lead again, and accompanied by several newspaper reporters and photographers, successfully made the 8 miles to the summit in eight hours' time.
"Among the racing community Walden's dogs' popularity was short lived. After gaining recognition for their part in the 1925 Nome Serum Run, Leonhard Seppala and 40 of his Siberian Huskies left Alaska and embarked on a national tour. Seppala's tour landed in New England in late 1926 for the winter's race season. In January 1927, while at the Poland Spring, Maine, race, Seppala's Siberians proved themselves much faster than anything New England had to offer and they gained instant popularity. Seppala established a breeding kennel in Maine to supply his Siberian Huskies to the racers in New England."
But that wasn't the end of the line for Walden, who turned his attention to a new venture, Admiral Byrd's Antarctic expedition, which will be detailed in the next installment.

The third and final installment of the history of the Chinooks will detail how the breed nearly became extinct and the extraordinary efforts that went into saving the breed.

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Bob Cottrell and Tug. (Courtesy photo)

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Defendant seeks trial in Franklin child prostitution case


CONCORD — A Franklin woman who pleaded guilty last year to human trafficking for selling a young girl into prostitution has decided to make her case to a jury on related charges involving another alleged victim.

Julie Shine, 43, was scheduled to appear in Merrimack County Superior Court on Monday for a status conference, but was never brought into the courtroom as the prosecutor and defense attorney met with the judge in chambers.

Upon emerging, Assistant Merrimack County Attorney David Rotman confirmed that a jury is scheduled to be picked on June 5. The trial, which is expected to last three to four days, has twice previously been postponed – once as the result of a medical condition that made the complaining witness unable to testify and the second after the state disclosed a new witness with whom the defendant's husband, William Shine, has allegedly made disclosures that could incriminate her. The defense was granted added time to interview the state's witness, and to decide whether to challenge the admissibility of that testimony at trial.

On Monday, Judge Robert McNamara agreed to continue the trial yet again after learning that the state has just produced 6,000 pages of new potential evidence in the case to be turned over to defense attorney Charles O'Leary. The state also dismissed a number of the charges including human trafficking, conspiracy to commit human trafficking, as well as misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child and violating the child protection act.

Last January, Mrs. Shine was sentenced to 11 to 30 years at the New Hampshire State Prison for Women after she admitted to accepting $1,000 from an informant working for police, to provide a 14-year-old girl for sex. Shine also confessed to theft by extortion for stealing a truck and money from a man by threatening to report him to police for impregnating another underage girl.

That man, Lawrence Marks, 36, of Tewksbury, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty last March to a federal charge of transportation of a minor in interstate commerce for illegally sexual activity, and was sentenced to 12 ½ years' imprisonment, and ordered to publicly register for life as a sex offender against children.

Shine's husband, William, 35, who is already serving a 14- to 60-year prison term, received an additional 3- to 30-year sentence, to be served consecutively, when he pleaded guilty earlier this month to sexually assaulting the girl a jury convicted him of pimping, and for his role in extorting Marks.

As part of their respective sentences, the couple were ordered to pay Marks $60,000 in restitution. Marks is serving his sentence at the Federal Correctional Institute in Danbury, Connecticut, and is now scheduled for release in August 2026.

During William Shine's trial, the prosecutor told the jury the couple were cash starved and stooped to selling the young teen into prostitution as a quick though reprehensible solution.

Public Defender Emma Sisti countered that the couple were considering an arranged courtship, which under state law, is not a crime. They viewed an underage marriage as a path out of abject poverty, and as a chance to give the girl a better life.

William Shine is now represented by attorney Caroline Brown. Under the terms of his Dec. 7 negotiated plea, Shine agreed to drop his New Hampshire Supreme Court appeal challenging rulings made by the trial judge, but will continue to argue his claims of ineffective assistance of counsel.

The Shines were arrested in October 2014, after they arranged to sell the girl to a police informant. During the trial, Anthony O'Hickey testified that he went to police after learning his father, Ronald Martin, formerly of Laconia, a convicted sex offender, planned to buy the girl himself and spoke of keeping her caged in his basement.

O'Hickey wore a wire, and, while State Police listened in, offered to pay the couple $5,000 for the girl and handed them $1,000 in cash, under the guise that he was going to drive her to a hotel and try to initiate sex.

The three girls the Shines are accused of victimizing have since thanked O'Hickey for his courage in going to police.

Earlier this month, after William Shine was sentenced, one of the victims said that without O'Hickey's intervention, "I would be dead."

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Laconia man sentenced in 2015 home invasion and burglary


LACONIA — A city man who burglarized the occupied home of an older woman on Emerald Drive in the summer of 2015 will spend a minimum of three years in the New Hampshire State Prison.

Michael Regan, 32, formerly of Arch Street was one of two people who burglarized the home at night, waking the owner and then fleeing when the realized she was awake.

Regan was found by police a short way from the home after he had apparently lost one shoe on the street and fell into a gully of the side of the street.

The other man, Kevin Gobeil was also found by police and ultimately pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to serve 2 to 4 years in prison.

Regan, however, has maintained his innocence. He admits to accompanying two other men to their home but said when one of them broke the glass to the basement, he got scared and ran away, losing his shoe and falling into a gully.

At the time of his trial in August 2016, the jury was divided for a while and struggled to reach a unanimous decision. Judge James O'Neill issued additional jury instructions encouraging each member of the jury to reconsider his or her position and, if possible, come to a decision. After two days, the jury found him guilty.

Since the verdict, his first attorney, Ted Barnes, and his current attorney, Mark Sisti, both filed motions to encourage O'Neill to set aside the verdict and order a retrial.

Both made the argument that there was no physical evidence, fingerprints or blood, that shows that Regan entered the home. Additionally, during her testimony, the victim said one of the men she found in the office across from her bedroom had black or dark legs. Gobiel admitted he was one of them but both he and Regan are white.

"The court does not find that said testimony excludes the reasonable conclusion that the that the defendant entered the victim's home that night," wrote O'Neill.

He reviewed the testimony given by the defendant who said that one of the men was wearing shorts and had dark legs. O'Neill went on to say that the defense attorney asked the question about the man being black and she answered that she didn't know if he was black or had a dark tan.

At Regan's sentencing on Thursday, Prosecutor Adam Wood told O'Neill that the victim's world has "been turned upside down" and that she no longer feels safe in her home. He said she didn't want to see Regan again and didn't attend the sentencing, saying her testimony and impact statements would be enough.

Wood asked for the 3-to-6-year sentence with one year of the maximum suspended and cited the emotional damage done to the victim.

Sisti argued that Regan had been held in jail while the motions to set aside the verdict were being litigated and that he just wanted to return home to the Boston area with his mother. He said he felt Regan should serve 12 months in the House of Corrections, be on probation for three years, attend mental health and drug rehabilitation classes, and then be allowed to return home to his mother.

Sisti said Regan suffered a brain injury and has been 100 percent disabled since 2007, which was when his slight criminal record from Massachusetts began.

He also said Gobeil got 2 to 4 years and the probation office recommended 2 to 4 years and he felt 3 to 6 years exceeded what was reasonable.

Wood said Gobeil received a 2-to-4-year sentence because he pleaded guilty and spared the court the cost of a trial.

He also noted the Gobiel grew up in Laconia while Regan didn't know the city and had no idea where he was that night because of his disability.

After the sentencing, Sisti said he would be appealing Regan's case to the state Supreme Court on the basis that he was convicted but absolutely no evidence was ever presented that he was in the house.

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