She notes Kane's eyes - one blue, one brown - and comments, "God hand paints each one."

Linnemeyer-Batts is the owner of Linny's Kennel on Meade Farm Road in Union. She owns 17 show-quality Siberian huskies (although she said breeders just call them Siberians) and also runs a boarding facility. She has 41 runs in two sizes, aptly called suites and lodges. The indoor portions are air conditioned and heated and both the indoor and outdoor portions are covered.

Each unit has its own "doggie door" so the animals can go in and out at will and the entire kennel is power washed every day to keep things clean and fresh smelling.

"The kennel is my bread and butter and allows me to have my huskies," she said, "But it's not just that. I love watching people's dogs. Dogs are very social and want to have fun. Here they have fun."

But first she makes certain that the dogs she plans to board are up-to-date with their shots. A copy of the pet's shot record is required and the animal must be free of all parasites. Special needs for care or medications must be written out.

Getting Started

Linnemeyer-Batts grew up in South St. Louis and, at age 16, got her first Siberian, which was all white, from the Humane Society on Macklind. "His looks attracted me, also his orneriness," she said. "I've always loved dogs and saw myself like Ellie Mae Clampett."

When it was time to consider a career, Linnemeyer-Batts decided she would either raise Siberians or become a veterinarian. Since she didn't have money for the latter, she chose the former, but not before taking a job at Chrysler.

"I always watched other people's dogs and my family and friends encouraged me to do that as a business," she aid. "So in 1990, I quit (Daimler)Chrysler and put every penny I had into a kennel in Hermann with 18 runs. I also had five huskies."

Linnemeyer-Batts read lots of books about huskies and found a breeder in Virginia with whom she communicated who gave her lots of information.

She decided right from the start that she would never be a commercial breeder. She sells only to individuals, always making sure they're right for the dog and this breed is right for them before turning over one of her precious puppies.

She sells two categories of puppies - pets and show dogs - the latter costing twice as much. "You can tell at eight weeks if a dog is show quality," she said, "and I don't adopt the puppies out until they're eight weeks old."

These dogs, Linnemeyer-Batts points out to prospective owners, are bred to run; pulling sleds is what they do best. So if they're released they'll run. "They're little escape artists or little Houdinis," she said, chuckling. "Some owners wouldn't want that."

Linnemeyer-Batts has some dogs just for breeding, some retired and some for show. The latter must be in excellent condition - with strong hips, no juvenile cataracts, no tight tails, no overbite and not clumsy - in order to become a show dog. Males must be a maximum of 60 pounds; females a maximum of 50 pounds.

Her handler, Jamie Orr, takes one or two dogs at a time to shows, which can be as many as 20 weekends a year.

"That way I can stay home with my kids, my husband and my 'customers,' " she said.

Her dogs have won numerous awards - "Winners Dogs," "Best of Breed," even a "Best of Show."

"The love you get from a dog is awesome, Linnemeyer-Batts said. "This is a business I can do and still be a stay-at-home mom. But mainly I got into this because of my love of the breed as pets. I've always loved Siberians."