Sunday 29 November 2009

Oh The HORROR....

The frozen ground is hard on everyone feet - including Bet's. Before she is allowed to go outside to run her energy burning circles around the dog pens she is now required to 'get dressed'.

She has tried to convince me that this is cruel and unusual punishment. I'm not buying it.

And the Siberians are just rolling their eyes.

And trust me, the second the door is opened, she is off like a shot, completely forgetting all the theatrics from moments before!

Saturday 28 November 2009

Cool Gifts for the Holidays and No Long Lines

Get trampled on during Black Friday sales? Stood in a long line only to find they were all out when you got to the front of the line?

Well, we've got the cool stuff for you and there's no waiting in long lines or fighting for the last one!

Visit our totally cool, one of a kind auction to benefit Karen Ramstead and her "Pretty Sled Dogs" run for Iditarod 2010!

Just click here and bid on the coolest gear there is, including one of a kind Karen Ramstead Items that you can't get anywhere else!

Hurry up and BID!!!!

Dog of the Day - See

NorthWapiti's Sesequon
DOB - May 11, 2007
Sire - NorthWapiti's Skor
Dam - NorthWapiti's Kluane

See is out of our 'Cree' litter, named by a native friend. She is named for a prized medicine rattle in Cree culture. It is a symbol of power and strength. She is littermate to Meg, Utin and Sukih (Cree).

I have a whole bunch of piebalds on the team this winter. The trick to telling See apart from the very close looking Bingo and Bang is all in the ears - one of hers is not completely trimmed in dark grey, giving her the appearance of having 2 different colored ears! It's very cute!

This is the cream of the two year olds in our yard. She is definitely Alaska bound this winter.

I've written other blogs talking about See's rocky start as a sled dog and her subsequent rise to being a young superstar so I won't recap that here but it makes me smile to see how far she has come in a year and a half!

A very special dog!

See is sponsored by our good friend, Marlene Daniels of Belgrade, MT

Friday 27 November 2009

I'm Jealous (and rather annoyed)

Tonight the dogs will be dining on Eagle MVP formula kibble (for the main string - Eagle Power for the remainder) followed by a soup of Nova Scotia lobster, prawns and Alaska salmon.

Now I will say, this is not the way the dogs normally dine. Normally their soup is ground chicken based however circumstances just lined up to give them this extraordinary meal tonight.

First off, they can thank whichever of us accidentally knocked the plug loose on our little 'people food' freezer that lives out in the garage. It wasn't caught till too late and a good portion of the food in there was deemed (by me) to be unfit for human consumption including some Alaskan salmon and the 4 bags of frozen shrimp I had picked up when they were on sale at Safeway last week.

For the lobster component of the meal they can thank UPS. Friends Brenda, Rob and Colleen from Nova Scotia had wanted to donate some lobster for me to turn into trail meals for Iditarod. Being that lobster is my very favorite food I was thrilled!!

Unfortunately, UPS dropped the ball (they agree btw and are refunding the shipping costs that my Nova Scotia friends paid - but they aren't replacing the lobster!) and the lobster thawed long before arriving here. It is okay for dogs, but not for the musher, I'm afraid.

It simply broke my heart to dump those lobster tails, prawns and salmon into the soup bucket this afternoon. I know it didn't break the dogs hearts though. I've seen them licking their lips all afternoon anticipating their evening meal!

For the record - Mark, Richard and I will be having either hamburger casserole or hamburger soup for dinner tonight.


Thursday 26 November 2009

Vet Day

Before I talk about what I'm going to talk, let me talk about what I'm NOT going to talk about 1) the truck 2) specifically which dogs were on the truck yesterday.

The truck is not quite finished, so not ready for it's 'unveiling' and I'm not convinced that the dogs that made the trip yesterday will be the ones that will be heading to AK with us at the end of next month, so no 'team announcements' till that is all sorted out!

Now that that is cleared up, lets get on with the blog!


Yesterday we loaded up the truck with myself, Richard, Mark and 25 dogs and headed to Westlock.

The visit was to get vaccinations, health checks and blood work done.

Richard gets Dasher's weight. For the record, it was 18 kg or 40 lbs.

Hector waits to see the vet!

Vet tech Sarah and Dr.Jackson draw blood from Crunchie.

Flash gets his blood draw done. I told him not to look at the needle and then it wouldn't hurt!

Runner says that he appreciates that we are all watching out for him, but that doesn't mean that he has to enjoy the trip!!

The visit was smooth and no significant issues were found. By 2pm everyone (well, the dogs) were back in their straw filled houses snoozing away the rest of their day off!!

It's back to work today!

Wednesday 25 November 2009

Dog of the Day - Runner

Kelim's Running For NorthWapiti
DOB - May 24, 2004
Sire - NorthWapiti's Lincoln at Kelim SD, CGC
Dam - Rusty Polar's Diamond

Nickname - Runs (I know, a HORRIBLE nickname)

Runner is a finisher of Goose Bay and Don Bowers 200. He was also on my 2008 Iditarod team!

Our good friends Kim and Kelly Berg of Kelim Siberians asked me to look at some puppy pictures back in 2004 and help them pick out a pup for them to keep. I kept telling them to 'keep the boy', but they insisted on a girl. Never one to pass up an opportunity I asked if I could have the boy. They agreed. Over the years I have (very good naturedly)said "I told you so!!" numerous times.

Runner is a hard working and dedicated sled dog. A fine leader too. He is also one of the very best eaters in our yard - an admirable trait for a long distance sled dog.

Runner is sponsored by Maureen Zavodjancik of Columbia, CT

Tuesday 24 November 2009

Dog of the Day - Roscoe

NorthWapiti's Roscoe
DOB - June 24, 2007
Sire - NorthWapiti's Detanator (Nate)
Dam - Chlout's Hilda of NorthWapiti

Nickname - 'Roscoe P' (as in Roscoe P Coltrane - from the 'Dukes of Hazzard')

One of the 'Hillbillies' - littermate to Billie, Fritter, Daisy (Addie), Banjo (Tidgy), Bubba and Grit

Roscoe is a rookie but you would only know it looking at his birthday, not at his performance. Early in the season I had a few doubts about him, but the tougher the runs have become, the more he rises to the occasion.

Roscoe is easy to find in our teams, as he has a big white 'z' on his back. Very cool!

Roscoe is sponsored by Diane Shepherd and Jackie Phalen

Not Much To See Here...

Monday 23 November 2009

Dog of the Day - Rocket

NorthWapiti's Rocket
DOB - May 11, 2006
Sire - NorthWapiti's Draco
Dam - Chlout's Hilda of NorthWapiti

Nicknames - Rocket Dog, Rocks, Pointy

Rocket is out of the 'Firecracker' litter - littermate to Detonator (Nate), Powder, Razzle, Comet, and Flare.

She finished the Don Bowers 200 with Mark last year!

Rocket is a character. She really is not the most beautiful dog - she is rather well...pointy... but her personality makes her one of the most gorgeous dogs I own.
(She does hav the world's cutest whiskers though - with one single black on on each side of her face. So cute!)

Since she was a baby she has been challenging us by climbing and generally escaping from any enclosure she was put in. She's a clever one!

I've been pushing her hard as a leader lately (because she is so promising) and even when she is making me want to pull out me hair out, I can't help but smile under my breath at her.
One of her habits that really makes me want to pull my hair out is her neckline, gangline and harness chewing. She is definitely the most expensive dog in the kennel to run - but still worth it!

At every opportunity she is on her hind legs doing her 'Rocket Dance' (especially when she is trying to get out of trouble)...driving up hills she does 'wheelies' to try and get everyone moving faster...she is just a cool dog.

Rocket is sponsored by Debbie Custer!

Sunday 22 November 2009

Two Amazing Q Sons

Since Q was Karen's Dog Of The Day we asked Karen if we could add an entry to her blog about our two amazing Q sons -

Kelim's Sirius Black, CGC

Kelim's Golden Snitch, CGC

Sirius & Snitch were born September 3rd, 2007 to NorthWapiti's Q and NorthWapiti's Rainy.

Not to copy Karen here but these boys are exactly what our kennel is striving to produce. They are incredible dogs in many ways: they are hard driving dogs in harness always giving 110%. Snitch is the hardest working, most superb hill dog we have ever had. Sirius & Snitch just turned 2 and are expected to be main race leaders this season. They are already doing lots of leading together and are taking commands, have learned gee over, pass other things on the trail quite well and are just more advanced than most other 2 yr olds we have had in the past. There are exactly what we are looking for in harness. I suppose we shouldn't be too surprised they are leaders, their grandfathers are Grover & Moses!

Snitch & Sirius lining out in lead before a training run at 1.5 yrs of age.

Sirius & Snitch watch us hook up the rest of the team.

Their personalities are something special - cute, goofy but serious, sweet, attentive, smart and just really neat!! Sirius (and quite a few of his littermates) have this adorable trait of holding their paw in the air when they anticipate something exciting (feeding time, before a run at hookup, or during obedience). It's like it's his ready signal :) Snitch is very playful, like a big silly puppy he's always making us laugh.

Sirius, also a nice obedience dog!

They are typey, nice movers and well built with great feet and are excellent eaters! We can't say enough great things about these boys! We just LOVE them! We have even thought about repeating this breeding. Sending Rainy that long way to Q really paid off in our minds! Not only have these two turned out great but the other 5 in the litter (Lumos, Anya, Phoenix, Jinx & Seeker) are also doing great things! Thanks to Mark & Karen for letting Rainy visit 'Cutie Q'!




Kim & Kelly Berg

Kelim Siberians -

Favorite Things - Eskimo Hooks and Plastic Snaps

Some of you may remember that last year I started playing with using some 'toggles' in my gangline.

The style I was using were nice, but the tugline would occasionally pop loose, not perfect. I've left them in the line, but continued using snaps most of the time.

When I was in Michigan a few months back visiting Nature's Kennel my interest in toggles was again inspired when looking at Ed's training lines.

I liked this toggle better then the ones I had previously tried, but still they weren't perfect for me!

Then I found this -


I've been using these 'Eskimo Hooks' from Nordic Husky Farm Sled Dog Internet Shop for a few months now and can do nothing put sing their praises. They don't jam up with sand, ice up, are lighter then brass snaps, cheaper and so far much more reliable.


In addition I've been using the plastic snaps from the Shop too.

They have the same advantages as the Eskimo Hooks as well as being a break away safety for when a dog goes around the wrong side of a fence post, or some such thing.

Mark and I love both ideas enough that we are switching our training and racing lines over completely.

I just love finding new and exciting things - even if they are just an old idea being rediscovered!


Saturday 21 November 2009

Dear Snow Gods - THANK YOU!

I also wanted to say that good handlers are worth their weight in gold. I'm been blessed to have a string of good ones the last few years. Richard is no exception! I got alittle banged up on our training run yesterday. Nothing life threatening or permanently disabling, but it has slowed me down. Richard has picked up the slack willingly and happily. I am very grateful!!

And oh yeah, according to Charge, he gives great snuggles!

Dog of the Day - Q

Ch.NorthWapiti's Q
DOB - June 13, 2003
Sire - NorthWapiti's Super Grover
Dam - NorthWapiti's Kluane

Nicknames - Q-Zee, Q-Tip, His Q-ness

Out of the James Bond litter - brother to Jinx.

Finisher of Iditarod, Knik, Don Bowers, Seeley 200 and more.

Q is just the kind of dog this kennel strives to produce. Handsome and hard working, this boy is the real deal.
He does however have a stubborn streak that sometimes has me banging my head against the nearest tree!!

Q is sponsored by Donna Quante of Willow, Alaska.

Friday 20 November 2009

Lions and Tigers and Bears...oh my!!!

Okay - not quite but over the years my habit of traveling (relatively) slowly through the bush has allowed me some wonderful and cherished wildlife encounters! I have met up with deer, elk, moose, wolves, cougars (yup, treed 2 with a dog team many years ago), a fisher, beaver, porcupines, coyotes and more. But until today I had never seen a .... oh, let me tell the whole story!!

I added a brand new loop to a trail that I've used lots over the years. The dogs were enjoying the new scenery when I pulled them over next to a nice tamarack swamp for a water break.
Wifi was in lead and his head was darting around like a crazed man. Now that is actually not all that unusual for Wiff, but while I was watering the 3rd pair back he started screaming and lunging in his harness. I looked ahead but saw nothing. Wonder, Xena and a few others caught sight of whatever Wiff was seeing. I scanned the woods ahead with my feeble human eyes, but again saw nothing.

A big truck hauling an empty stock trailer rattled by. I waved. I figured whatever the dog's had seen would be sent packing by the noise. Another truck rumbled by.
Wifi continued to bark sporadically at the woods. I figured now it was just in his head and a few of the other dogs were just forgetting that Wifi has a very vivid imagination, thus buying into his delusions.

I packed up the water jug, took a few swigs of hot chocolate from my thermos, went back up front to take care of a tangle (not surprisingly, it was Wiff) and finally called the team back to action.

We hadn't moved 50 feet when something shot out of the woods and crossed the road about another 50 feet ahead of us - right where Wifi and the other dogs had been looking. I knew immediately that this was not a creature I had encountered before. My brain instantly spit out a name, but I was having trouble believing it.
When we passed the spot that it had casually loped into the woods, the dogs and I all scanned for it. I don't think they saw it again, I certainly didn't, but I felt sure it was still nearby watching. I glanced for tracks, but the frozen gravel road gave none up.

I spent most of the rest of my run questioning myself about what the critter was - trying to come up with other animals that might be similar enough to fool me, but could think of none that I couldn't dismiss. Whatever it was certainly was brave, as it had obviously sat on the edge of the woods watching us for quite awhile.

After getting home and getting the dogs all fed and tucked away I headed for the computer to do some searching. This video and a phone call later to our friend Roger, who knows just about everyone that wanders the woods around here, took away all doubt - I had seen a wolverine!!!

How cool is that?????? I have the BEST job in world!!! I'm fairly certain of that!!

And yes, our Wolverine (aka Wolvie) was with me and got to see his namesake! Never thought that would happen - but I think I'll hold off naming anyone Grizz!! While I have seen grizzlies in the wild before, I certainly don't care to run into one with a dog team!!!

A very thrilled,

Dog of the Day - Meg

NorthWapiti's Megisis
DOB - May 11, 2007
Sire - NorthWapiti's Skor
Dam - NorthWapiti's Kluane

One of the 'Cree' litter - all named by one of Mark's electrical apprentices who is Cree. Megisis is a decorative bead used on clothing that is particularly prized for their beauty!
Meg is littermate to Utin, See, and Sukih (Cree).

Meg is indeed beautiful - but there is also alot of talent packed into that beautiful little body! The whole litter was tremendously fast free running as puppies, but Meg had a extra gear that she could kick into when she wanted to get back to the food dish first!
So far in training she has had that same 'hang with the pack' behavior while every now and again kicking into a gear that drops my jaw!!
I expect big things in the future from this little white dog (BTW - the only true white in the kennel!)!!

Meg is sponsored by The Joyner family!!!!