Friday 15 October 2004

October 15, 2004 October Tradition

Well here it is mid October again – and like the previous 3 Octobers I find the dogs (well, 24 of them) and myself in Togo, Minnesota. The drive down went well. Usually I just drive straight through – stopping only to drop dogs and fill up the truck, but this year I broke it into two legs, with a real nights sleep being incorporated into the trip.

There was a purpose to the overnight stop and that was to drop Flash, one of the Moses x Kaylinn puppies, off with his new family in Regina. This is Martin and Colleen’s first ‘NorthWapiti’ puppy, but they came to us HIGHLY recommended by a couple people I think very highly of. After spending the night at their place, I can see why. Flash has ‘scored big’ working his way into this family. Being the highly intelligent little guy he is, Flash was careful to stay on his new Mom and Dad’s good side and even slept quietly in a crate next to their bed that first night. I’m predicting he will be sleeping ON that bed in no time.

Not all my ‘puppies’ were so clever to stay on their ‘Mom’s’ good side on the trip. This was the first road trip for Skor, Dasher, Spot, Jr., Batdog and Holly. The girls and Jr were terrific – not so with the other two. Batdog screamed pretty much all the way from Perryvale to Togo. At the end of our driveway at home I thought I heard the engine making a strange noise, when I shut off the radio, I realized it was Batdog - “Arrrrr….ooooooh…” . By the time we hit Marten and Colleen’s in Craven, Saskatchewan it had changed to ‘whinnnnnnnnnne…waaa………whinnnnnnnn”, which he kept up most of the night. In Davidson, Saskatchewan the next morning the woman at the gas station asked if I was sure he was okay. The song had changed to


I assured her he was, but if he didn’t eventually shut up, he might not stay that way (kidding, of course).

Thankfully, the brat did shut up while the Border guys checked out the dog truck before allowing us into the US. You never want to annoy border guards and a noise akin to an air raid siren blasting in their ears probably wouldn’t have made them too happy.

Within a few miles though, he was serenading the North Dakota country side


The whole time Batdog was screaming and yelling, Skor was quietly vandalizing the door of his dog box. For many mushers that travel with their dogs, this is a common problem, but our dogs have never been interested in chewing up their boxes, I always figured that they liked their fancy little maple leaf doors as much as I do. Not so with Skor. Luckily, he didn’t get all the way through the door. I’ll try spraying the inside of it with Bitter Apple spray before the drive home. Although, chances are he will be tired enough then to just quietly sleep in his box.

Screaming and chewing, we landed in Togo around 10:00pm on Thursday night. Imagine my surprise when Jamie’s driveway just ENDED in her son, Eric’s yard. Luckily, Eric’s wife Amanda was up with their young son – as I cannot back up the dog truck when it has a trailer attached. She woke Eric up and in no time I was turned around and directed to the NEW driveway.

As I passed by Jamie’s house on the way to the dog lot, I could see the outside light was left on, but the rest of the house was dark. Jamie had to be up early the next morning to catch a flight to Oklahoma to teach one of her mushing clinics, so I was expecting her to already be asleep.

I dropped dogs and settled them into the section of dog yard Jamie had opened up for me. I tried to be quick about feeding everyone, but my dogs erupted into an ecstatic frenzy when they heard kibble being poured into their bowls. Joining in the noise were Jamie’s 70+ dogs, so it was LOUD!

It was 11:30 before everyone was fed, watered and in a good spot, at least for the night. I debated walking up to the house, but Jamie has a housedog and I figured if I walked in Ambler would make it impossible for me to tippy toe into the spare room without being heard. Wanting to be a good friend, I grabbed my pillow and a blanket from the truck and curled up on Jamie’s couch in her dog building. Oh my, I missed my Sealy Posturpedic, pocket coil, pillow top mattress. Don’t get me wrong, I can and will sleep just about anywhere in a pinch, but my, I love my mattress. Dreaming of individual pocket coils that respond to and cradle your body while you sleep, I was asleep in seconds. Jamie came down to the Dog House at about 5am. “There you are”, she said, “Why didn’t you come sleep at the house?? I left Ambler outside and a light on for you.” My back groaned as I rolled off the couch.

Here we are in Togo!!!