Dasher - she is just about to turn 9 and has been my main leader for the past 3 or 4 years.
Hector and Herman - 10 year old brothers that have finished 3 Iditarods with me
Barq - 10 years and not looking or acting a bit like it.
and Crunchie - well, pretty much everyone that follows this blog knows Crunch. He is a superstar here!
The first to get cut from the main string was Hec. He struggled a bit during racing last season, so it really wasn't much of a surprise to me.
Next to get cut was his brother Herman.
The third cut was a tough one - Dasher. I struggled with that one. She's still a bouncy, opinionated gal that was happy to keep young leaders in line but she was struggling with the speed of the big strings I was running. I'd tell myself I was cutting her, then put her right back into the next team. I knew the 'right' decision, but that doesn't make it any easier.
Last week I 'sucked it up' and moved Dasher to a stakeout with the 'B' string. I couldn't meet her eyes for a few days but she has adjusted very well!
Day before yesterday, I made the decision to cut Barq. He is still a tremendous dog, but he was having trouble keeping weight on and I could see him making some compensation in his gait to try and keep up with the team when they were moving fast.
That leaves one - Crunchie.
Everyone that knows me knows that cutting Crunchie would/will be a very difficult and emotional decision for me. He is an extremely special dog to me but also respect him far too much to ever set him up for failure. When the time comes - I will do what is right for him.
Thankfully, he is not putting me even close to a point of struggling with that decision yet. He is moving well, happy, driving hard and keen to go.
|Crunchie, the black, black dog second up on the left, drives hard up a hill on yesterday's training run. That is his son Turtle beside him and his other son, Pop directly in front of him.|