Sunday, 9 January 2005

January 9, 2005 Alaskan Hosts Arrival

Hello everyone from Willow, Alaska. 

Just a note to say how honored we are to host Karen and Mark and the dogs! We spent much of the summer preparing for an extra 21 dogs on the property. And, knowing Karen, I prepared 23 setups, just in case. The truck has boxes for 21 dogs and 22 dogs showed up. Princess Kara rode in the back seat. The truck towing a small U-Haul trailer showed up around 11:30 pm Wednesday. I went out and started hugging dropped dogs, first Chester then Squeaky, before Karen said, "how about us?" Well, it was good to see them too!

The dogs went back into their dog boxes for their first night here. Their arrival brought the kennel census up to 49 dogs! It wasn't a quiet night with the dogs visiting back and forth with barks and howls and other doggy introductions. We do live in a musher friendly area though with a few hundred dogs within a few miles. (Just down the road from Howling Dog Farm and the Norris's place.) Everyone in the area understands a few introductions. The next morning the dogs were put into their new dog yard and seemed quite happy with the accommodations.

As Karen was getting ready to leave Canada last weekend we had perfect trails. You can reach a hundred miles or so from our dogyard. she left Canada toward Alaska, it started raining in Willow. Not just a little rain, but it poured for 2 days! Our snow is still here, but so is a lot of ice. It will have to snow again before our trails are good, Karen wanted to test out her sled legs and find the "mileage" pace that the dogs should acquire on a distance race. So, she trucked the dogs a bit North on Thursday to get a few miles in. She came back quite happy with the dogs performance, and her confidence was boosted in the transition from a year's worth of 4-wheeler training.

Friday morning much of the mountain of supplies and equipment they had unloaded got loaded back into the truck to head to Glenallen for the Copper Basin musher's meeting. We will see them next week! Say, this is fun! I see where Karen's draw was number 10. And, she is off and running. As of Friday morning she wasn't quite sure who would run this race with her, but all 22 dogs were back on the truck for the trip to Glenallen..

Cross your fingers for a couple of inches on snow for our trails! And, follow Karen on the Copper Basin website!

Jamie West
Westrunner Kennels
Willow, Alaska

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