Wednesday, 10 September 2003

September 10, 2003

Puppies & New Dogs

I believe that I have probably said it before, but I’ll say it again – I LOVE fall! Although the weather hasn’t been as cooperative, in regards to running dogs, as I’d like, there is still that smell and sense of promise in the air that fall brings to a sled dog kennel. 

The days are cooler and everyone’s energy level jumps up. Projects seem to take on an air of urgency as winter lurks on the horizon. I notice that the forest creatures seem to feel much the same way. Squirrels have this insane tendency to dart across the trails immediately in front of the dog team, carrying pinecones, mushrooms or other treasures. Where at any other time of the year they would be content to wait till danger passed them, in the fall they seem to feel that getting their treasure safely stashed away cannot possibly wait that extra split second. 

Many of the birds around here have already left. The ‘monkey like’ calls of the purple martins have now been replaced by the hoarse and distinctive vocalizations of the crows, which congregate near our place before heading south. Last night, as we headed out to feed, the sky was a remarkable shade of blue, accented by beautiful clouds of purple. The crows circled and squawked, giving the scene a look that would have been any cinematographers dream. 

The puppies continue to grow like weeds. Jinx, Q, Chip, and Dare have all progressed to running loose next to the 4 wheeler – there is just no way to keep up with them on foot anymore. Kaylinn has been weaned from her puppies and is back working in harness. Her children are enjoying their walks in the woods and, thanks to the patience and assistance of Fly, we are still able to go for nice walks with them. 

We did decide to go ahead and breed one more litter this year. Joey has been bred to Nik and is due early in October! 

Last weekend I was in Bozeman, Montana speaking on ‘Siberians in the Iditarod’ for the 13th Annual Race to the Sky Seminar. I had a great time. I was expecting my talk, which was early on Sunday morning, to be attended by only Siberian Husky owners. It was a very pleasant – but also a slightly nerve racking - surprise to see 2 time Yukon Quest winner Hans Gatt, 5th place Iditarod finisher Ken Anderson, and top stage racer Gwen Holdman among the Alaskan drivers attending. I got lots of positive feedback on my presentation, including the very nice comment that my theme of ‘getting the most from the dogs you own’ was relevant to all mushers! 

It boggles my mind to be recognized and included with mushers like Hans, Ken and Gwen. I still feel like a Little League ballplayer that accidentally stumbled onto a Major League field and is now surrounded by many of the players that they look up to. Too cool! 

Well, I mentioned last time that I would introduce you to the remaining dogs in my training pool, so here goes. 

Chlout’s Hilda of NorthWapiti (Alaskan’s Raven of Anadyr x Alaskan’s Baleen of Anadyr) – We collectively refer to Hilda and her brothers, Hector and Herman, as the ‘H’s’. Hilda is quite possibly my favorite of the bunch. A pretty, outgoing 3 year old black and white gal – she is a real contender for the team this year!

Chlout’s Hector of NorthWapiti (Alaskan’s Raven of Anadyr x Alaskan’s Baleen of Anadyr) – Hector is distinguishable from his littermates because he is missing the tip of his tail from a puppyhood accident. “Where the Heck is your tail??” we often tease him. A tremendous mover! 

Chlout’s Herman of NorthWapiti (Alaskan’s Raven of Anadyr x Alaskan’s Baleen of Anadyr) – Herman or ‘The Hermanator’, as Mark often calls him, is not as flashy as his siblings, but he is solid in harness!

Clout’s Moses of Velikaya (Smokey II of Velikaya x Buffy of Velikaya) – This is one of the real up coming STARS of our team. Bob Chlupach practically insisted I take this dog when I was up in Alaska last year. I hummed and hawed and am so glad Bob finally talked me into this neat boy. Watch for this ‘white’ (he’s actually grey and white – but from a distance looks white) boy at the front of my team A LOT this winter! He may not part water, but he definitely walks on it in my books!

NorthWapiti’s Anadyr Terra (Alaskan’s Skookum of Anadyr x Alaskan’s Kessa of Anadyr II) – Terra is actually owned by Natalie Norris, but is back here working for the winter. A littermate to Denali, Kobuk, Nahanni, and Kluane this big strapping girl is fitting in well!

Hmmm, did I say 36?? Looks like on second count there are 35 in the pool! Okay, so math was never my strongest subject in school!

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