Wednesday, 6 September 2006

September 6, 2006 Kennel Tidbits

Things have been very busy the last few weeks. I’ve started a bunch of diary entries in my head while on the trail, shoveling the dog yard, etc., etc. - but none have never actually made it to ‘paper’. This diary entry will probably be pale in comparison to the brilliant ones that existed only in my head, but what can you do??

I think in my last ‘newsy’ entry I covered visits by Marlene and my Mom, so I’ll start filling everyone in from there.

After Mom left Mark and I had a ‘leisurely’ 2 days to ourselves before Mike Carmichael and 12 of his and Kathy’s dogs (including NorthWapiti alumni Squeaky, Lightning, Sepp and Bang) showed up. Mike and his team quickly settled into 'their spot' in our 'meadow' where they were going to be staying through the Fall Warm-Up Weekend.

Mike also brought back to the kennel Roary, who had been on lease to them for the last year, and one of her offspring from her litter with Herman, Banshee. Banshee is just as lovely as we hoped. Basically, she is a blue-eyed, female version of her Daddy! After 2 nights of living up to her name (what was I thinking putting her in the kennel closest to Mark's and my bedroom?), she settled in just fine. 

Roary returns from Utah

Roary seemed to remember everyone and slipped right back into ‘NorthWapiti Life’, although she was not particularly impressed with the diet she was instantly stuck on.

Temperatures cooperated nicely and Mike and I were able to run dogs almost every day of his visit.
Mike seemed to, as usual, enjoy his time in Alberta – so much, in fact, that he and Kathy purchased 4 ½ acres of land just off our road. It was pretty funny when Mike and I went into the Athabasca County office to make sure he could have dogs on the property. When he told them what he wanted to do with the dogs (train a sled dog team), they quickly commented that there was another musher in that area. “Do you know Karen Ramstead?”, they asked. Mike indicated he did and introduced me to them. Did they really think it was a coincidence that a musher from Utah just happened to buy a chunk of land a ½ mile from our property?? The girls were very nice though and carefully checked all the county ordinances before assuring Mike that he was in the clear!

I had been flipping through an Athabasca County Tourist guide while waiting for Mike and found the page on Perryvale. It was a kick to find the highlight box on the page the indicated that Perryvale “is also the home of Karen Ramstead, the only Canadian woman to complete the Iditarod dogsled race.” I picked up a couple copies to send to my Mom!

It was fun to have another team to train with for a couple weeks – and we managed to keep Mike busy in the garage hammering away in his ‘down time’. Joey, Charm, Tolsona, Wolvie, Fly, Sprite, Newt and Batdog are all enjoying their brand new doghouses thanks to Mike.



And you will all never believe the other project I also talked him into – reclaiming the outhouse!! Mike shoveled out all the pinecones, mushrooms, furry nests, and other ‘squirrel household’ items before the two of us tipped it up onto the flat deck truck (the old dog truck) and moved it up to the garage. There he pounded off the rotted base and put on a new one. I took the opportunity to replace the screen in the door (which sported a squirrel sized hole) with some heavy plastic before we hauled it back out and positioned it over the new hole we had dug. I dragged the hose over and gave it a good wash down before stocking it with all the necessary outhouse items (TP, hand sanitizer, Kleenex, etc.).

The squirrels made a valiant attempt to reclaim ‘their condo’ and I had to replace the plastic with heavy-duty screen. So far, so good.

Nice to get some of those projects taken care of before the snow flies!

On the running front, I continue to be in awe of a number of my young leaders. Jinx is living up to the promise she showed last winter. As well, her handsome brother, Q, is looking a lot like a veteran leader. The coolest thing happened the first time I ran him in lead. At the end of the run, I leaned over to unhook and unharness him and he instantly flopped over onto his back to ask for a belly rub – EXACTLY like his Dad. He has never done this when running in the team. I glanced over at Grover while I was rubbing Q’s belly and I swear he was beaming with pride. It was just too cool!
Grover works for belly rubs :)
Grover's trademark belly rub position
Tess is also inspirational. I constantly have to remind myself that she is just a 2-year-old. She is so good that I’ve begun to fret some over making sure I am careful and allow her to reach her full potential.

Charge, Boom, Pacer, Charm, Spider, Lingo, and Runner are all scheduled to take their first turns at running lead sometime in the next few weeks. Squishing all those young, energetic (often hormonal) teenagers into lead in too short a time frame will probably land me in a mental institution, so I’m going to spread the insanity out!

The yearlings are all doing pretty well. They aren’t running on the same schedule as the ‘big dogs’, but with the weather being so cooperative, they are going out a fair bit.

Wolvie is the star of that lot right now, although all the Mosquitoes are excellent too. X is beginning to show more and more confidence each run. I’m still convinced he is an ‘xtraordinary’ Siberian.
August 2006
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Ten days after Mike’s arrival, he was joined by Kathy and their lovely 8-month-old daughter, Brooke (aka Babbling Brooke). My fondness for babies without fur is not legendary, but I will admit that Brooke is a very happy and agreeable little one and we actually enjoyed her visiting us. I’m sure that was mostly because her parents were the ones that changed her, dealt with her in the middle of the night and picked her up when she began wailing.

Kara treated the baby with extreme tolerance and we all marveled at how she wouldn’t even flinch when Brooke decided her ears or tail were toys created specifically for her entertainment. It is exactly the same attitude Kara displays when Bait ambushes and pounces on her. Further proof that Kara is indeed the PERFECT Siberian.

Well, I think that is all I can pry out of my tired brain this time. Next up – the Fall Warm-Up Weekend!

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