Things have been so dry around here for the last few months - it has been downright scary. We have been on a complete fire ban, no campfires, no burning barrels, no fireworks (a real bummer for the Canada Day weekend) - but, finally, yesterday we got several hours of rain! I certainly don't think it has got us completely out of danger yet, but it is a start. We probably have Mark to thank for the rain - he was working on a small building project and wanted to get it painted when the skies opened up! Ah well… The project Mark was working on is one I'm pretty happy about. He built me a permanent grooming table out in the dog yard. Up to now I've been having to haul my show grooming table, air dryer, brushes, etc out there every time I wanted to groom - I spent more time hauling then grooming. Almost all the dogs are in full shed - it's nuts. If they were more polite, they would take turns shedding, so I could keep up with the grooming easier! Many sled dog kennels just allow their dogs to shed naturally and don't groom the loose hair out. I like the one on one time with the dogs though. I think it is a great opportunity to give them a complete look over and it is really good training for the youngsters on being handled and patient. Here are some 'before' and 'after' pictures of Howl. I picked up a handy new grooming tool on the weekend - a cordless Dremmel tool. Hmmm, carving patterns into my dogs you ask?? No, not quite, but with the sander attachment, it is very cool way to do nails. Most of the dogs really seem have more patience for that then for the clippers. In fact, I got Libby's nails done for the first time in MONTHS! She is a crabby old dog when it comes to be brushed and handled (heck, she is 15 - who can blame her) and usually tries to bite me when she sees the nail clippers. Being that she is mostly deaf and partially senile - she just sat there while I shaped and shortened her nails.
We 'officially' start our new training season on July 1st. Effective that day on all training miles get logged into our 2002/2003 journals. I also start to be serious about running again. The last month I've been able to come up with some pretty creative excuses as to why I shouldn't have to get up on cool mornings and run dogs - no more excuses now. Mornings that are under 10C will find me out on the trail! Iditarod here we come!!!
A little bit of show news to report - first off, I took Rosie and Smiley to Edmonton at the beginning of June. Smiley seemed to be a little confused and every time we were in the ring with another dog believed the goal was to be the fastest in the ring. Needless to say - he didn't do much winning and I got quite the workout! What a NERD! Rosie was much better behaved; in fact on the second day of the show, she really seemed to 'figure out' this whole game. On Sunday, she was practically PERFECTLY behaved in the ring - a true delight to show and took the Breed! Yeah!
Next off, it was to Grande Prairie. I had Smiley, Kara, and Dasher. Smiley and I had a bit of a 'chat' about the purpose of the show ring and he was actually a lot of fun to show. I am so proud of him (being one of my Iditarod finishers and all) and, win or lose, love being at the end of his leash. He actually picked up a 3-point win - which puts him only 3 points away from his Championship. I REALLY want to finish him prior to this Iditarod!
Kara picked up a couple more points and Dasher just had a fun time - which was all she was there to do.
Next off is the Prince George show in mid - July (just Smiley and I are going) and then the Westerly Show in Edmonton at the end of July. Rosie and Smiley are entered for that!
Before I sign off, I'll introduce a few more of this year's training pool. This time I'm introducing some of the 2 year olds!
- Can you say 'TALL' or how about 'LANKY'? This big boy is all legs and build for speed! Both his Mom and Dad are from Earl and Natalie Norris' kennel, so it comes by it all honestly! Although some have described him as 'HOMELY' - I've always liked his look and he one of my favorite pups from our Keesa litter.
- When naming the 'National Park' litter - we didn't give this name out lightly. Denali means 'the great one' and that he is. Like his brother, Kobuk, Denali is a big boy, but he is absolutely AMAZING in harness. Although I have toyed with the idea of selling him a time or two because of his size - his attitude and enthusiasm in harness are keeping him here. I wouldn't be surprised to see him leading teams this winter.
- A prettier, more feminine version of her brothers (Kobuk and Denali). Nahanni is one of those dogs you put in the team and forget she is there. She just puts her head down and does her job. She is growing up to be a very dependable, solid sled dog!
- 'Klu' or 'Klu-less' as I've sometimes been caught calling her, has a wonderful build and a terrific gait. She does have one habit that she will have to get over if she wants to make the 'big' team this year - she is a very picky eater. A strong, solid girl though!
Alaskan's Olena of Anadyr
- This is the 2 - year old that I think shows the most potential of making the main string. She is one of the most amazing youngsters I've ever driven. I cannot say enough nice things about Olena. She does need to be run next to another strong-minded dog, as she gets so worked up and excited in harness she can put off a more timid dog - lucky I don't have too many of those!
All for now!