Reading Notes:

At the End of the Rainbow

Forest, bushland, sunshine, rain and snow, have become background of these poems and stories in which Stehlik describes her life with animals. The author would not be the first being absorbed watching and observing the objects of her affection and fascination. Her stories and poems imply a deep knowledge of, and love for, animals, their nature and behaviour.
An impressive book of true, often touching stories and poems, laced with humour and sometimes child-like simplicity. At the End of the Rainbow is the second book in the author's trilogy "Educating Lita".

About the Author

Living for 20 years in Italian Gully, near Ballarat, Stehlik has made her home in Australia, after arriving here as a migrant in 1949. She was born in the Free-State of Danzig, where she lived through the atrocities of war.
She continued her education at Monash University, and, having obtained a B.A. and Dip.Ed., began her teaching career. She was for 25 years a secondary school teacher. After her husband's death, she retired and devoted her life to her animals and writing. It is almost as if the tribute she is giving to her husband has opened a new life for her.

About the Artist

Jon Crawley is a full-time professional artist who has established international reputation for his watercolour, oil and pastel paintings done in a traditional impressionist style. His work is sought for private, public and corporate collections throughout the world.
Crawley conducts classes and workshops for aspiring artists and has made a popular video called A Prelude to Watercolour. He writes educational articles for the Australian Artist, in his role as an Educational Consultant, and is a Technical Editor for the bi-monthly International Artist magazine.

Questions Raised by the Book

Extract

Kanuk and Yuka were our Alaskan Malamutes. Yuka was born in Victoria while Kanuk came from a breeder in Queensland. Both dogs Hynek acquired so that he could pursue his dream of breeding a new and better working dog that would display the intelligence and protection instinct of a German Shepherd, the extreme loyalty and physical endurance of an Alaskan Malamute, and the courage and wits of an Akita Inu.
The Alaskan Malamutes are descendants of the Arctic Wolf. They got their name from a tribe of Eskimos, the Malemuts, who cared for and raised these beautiful snow dogs. Hynek deeply respected the reputation of the sled dogs that tirelessly mush along, and it was this endurance he was after. The durability of the wolf is well known; it can run down its prey at a steady pace of twenty miles per hour. Hynek had had a romantic notion of the arctic wilderness. He not only idolised the country but also its dogs.
Kanuk was ill when he arrived and had to be nursed back to health. There were times when we thought we'd loose him, but he recovered and developed into a beautiful adult with a heavy black and white coat and powerful body. Apart from becoming a prolific stud dog, Kanuk was a most lovable, sweet and affectionate companion. He was precious to Hynek.
Lizzie, the little dog Hynek wrote about in the second last paragraph of his book Ego off Lead, is a beautiful bitch from this Kanuk project. She lives on an Olive grove not far from us, at Staffordshire Reef, and often visits me here. What a pity Hynek couldn't see her growing up.
During Kanuk's time, Hynek also had a family of chocolate brown Siamese cats. They were housed in a closed and roofed kennel run, with a wooden hut inside. One female cat died while giving birth to a litter of three. To rescue the kittens we had to bring them into the cottage and feed them almost hourly. They survived.
The most astonishing incident was still to occur. Sensing the plight of the three little ones, Kanuk became interested in them and started to 'baby-sit'. After waking up one morning, we saw him lying on the carpet, and cuddled up into his fur were the three kittens, warm, secure and blissfully asleep.
Kanuk was irreplaceable as foster father. The kittens went out for walks with him in the yard and it was a sight to behold: this big furry Malamute rolling and frolicking on the grass, with three tiny kittens jumping over him.
It was a sad day for poor Kanuk when the kittens were old enough to be sold. It took him days to get over his loss. We were glad when Yuka came on heat to take his mind off his foster-father duties.