Friday 29 April 2011

The Job of A Curly Tail Herder - Bet

Howdy Ho, its your resident Curly Tail Herder and part time Roving Reporter, Bet here!

Some of you may be wondering what its like during the "off season" here at North Wapiti.  Since there are no races to be helping at or reporting on, and no real training going on, you must think that I spend all of my time lounging on my chair, or my couch, or my cloud, or my bed, or my porch.

Nope, my work here is never done, especially when there's puppies involved.  My other hat is trainer and herder.  Puppies need to be trained to learn that everything is mine, and they need to listen to me, and that involves a LOT of herding to keep them from getting into trouble.

Take for instance this installment of "The Musher wants a group photo of the Tramplings before they move outside".  I, for one, was very happy when the Tramplings were of the age to move outside, and I wanted the group photo to be as quick as possible so we could get some peace and quiet inside my house again.

Ok Tramplings, listen up... um... where's Ryka?

Neo, where's Ryka?  You were suppose to be watching her today.

You guys, you need to get on the big cloud, not this cloud, the photo op is on the big cloud

OH MY GAH!  Now where's Skecher?

Guys... GUYS!  Leave the sheep thing along and get Ryka!

There you are... you're late... no I don't know why books have a spine, just get on the cloud.

Yes, you've fallen and can't get up... I've seen the commercial, ha ha, now get on the cloud

Neo!  Skecher!  Stop it, get off your brother!

Stop chewing on your sister!  I can't have a picture with her covered in drool!

Ok Musher... seriously... just take the picture!

- Bet

Thursday 28 April 2011

Scratching An Itch

I grew up as a horse crazy kid. From the time I was 9 all my birthday and Christmas lists were topped with ‘a horse’. Thank to my Dad’s literal sense of humor, I had a great collection of glass, porcelain and Breyer horses, but what I wanted was a living, breathing, real horse. 

Shortly before I was 17, I had met all my parents conditions (a driver’s license, a job and $2000 in the bank) and bought myself a horse. His name was Brandy and he and I spent many hours and had many adventures together over the years. 

As sled dogs began to take a bigger and bigger part in my life, my time for my horses (3 at this point) waned. By the time we moved to Perryvale, I was hardly riding at all anymore. 
When Brandy had to be put down while we were away at the Race to the Sky in 2002, I knew it wasn’t fair to hang onto my other two horses and we sold them to a couple horse crazy teenagers, where they could get the attention they deserved. 

At that time I vowed to own a horse again one day, but since then I have not been on a horse at all. 
If you had told me when I was in my twenties that I would go about 10 years without riding, I would have told you you were crazy – but life happens and time sometimes just gets away from you.

The last year or so the ‘itch’ has been coming back. I’ve found myself ‘friending’ horse pages on Facebook and watching dressage videos on YouTube. A few weeks back when I ended up biking passed the riding stable in Edmonton where I took my very first riding lessons (about 35 years ago) the itch was almost uncontrollable. So I decided it was time to scratch. 

I know owning a horse is still not a responsible decision for me – I still don’t have time and our property is just not suitable for horses – but I have friends with horses. 

So last week I emailed our friend Gabi Husch and did a bit of begging. It paid off. This was the view of a trail I’ve traveled many time by dog team last night. 

I’d forgotten just how lovely it is to look at the world through a horse’s ears.

Many thanks to Gabi, and of course, Cookie – I had a GREAT time. It absolutely will not be 10 years until next time!

Wednesday 27 April 2011

Finally Time For A Romp In The Woods

It's been a weird spring. The snow has been in no hurry to leave and there are still big piles left in the woods and around the yard.
You would think that would make me happy, but in reality there is not enough snow to run sleds and too much to run teams on ATVs, so we have been 'on hold' for about 3 weeks now.

This morning however the trails were clear enough that we were 'good to go'.

Please excuse the less then perfect looking tuglines - there were alot of puppies in the group. That is Todd and Fletch in wheel, Scud and Crunchie ahead of them!

Taking a break in some of the left over snow!
It was still a good run.

The pups even got some good 'puddle training' under their furry belts!!!


Tuesday 26 April 2011

House Dog Auditions - Bet

Howdy Ho everyone, its your on vacation, lounging all over the place Border Collie, Bet here!

As I'm sure you are aware, the Musher has placed the call out for a house dog replacement.  Hmmpft.  I'm not quite sure why there needs to be a replacement since... well... THERE'S ALREADY A DOG IN THE HOUSE!  I mean, what am I?  Chopped liver... oooooh, that sounds tasty.

Anyway, we've had a few auditions already.  I'm doing my part by letting the newcomers know that the cloud is mine.  All clouds are mine.  The couch is mine.  The bed is mine.  That chair... yep, its mine.  The Musher... MINE!  The Musher guy... also mine.  Bait... well... they can have Bait, and Tic!  See, I'm giving, I share!

Bait keeps leaping on chairs and batting them in the head.  Tic runs for the door so fast, you would think the Musher was about to cook something.

So far Wonder and Jinx have been through the first round of auditions.  There will be some more first round auditions, but Wonder has actually advanced to the next portion of the competition: the talent show, which will be followed by the evening dress and bathing suit competition.

I have to say, I certainly do hope the other dogs come up with something better than ventriloquism... like flaming batons or something.

- Bet

Saturday 23 April 2011

Now Taking Applications

NorthWapiti Kennels is now taking applications for a new resident House Husky.

The position involves being a friend to the resident musher, a pal to the neurotic house Border Collie and assisting in holding down The Cloud.

Successful applications must be good with cats, able to walk off leash, be somewhat trustworthy off leash in the yard (under supervision), able to negotiate a sucessful working relationship with the giant yard dog, be able to figure out how to operate a dog door, and must not hog too much of the bed.

Salary will be paid in DentaStix - amount is negotiable based on experience.

Only dogs that are current residents of the NorthWapiti dog yard will be considered.

Applications may be dropped off at the house during business hours (which is actually 24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

Interviews will begin Saturday April 23rd.

Friday 22 April 2011

History - The Cartoonist

Back in 2005 I had a passing acquaintance with a certain Iditarod musher who happened to be on one of the Siberian Husky lists that I was on.  I honestly didn't know a whole lot about this Karen Ramstead person, other than what she posted on this list, and I knew of the Iditarod as a sled dog race and something about a serum run, but wasn't really a rabid fan of it, or any other sled dog race, mainly because I had other things going on at the time.  I subscribed to the North Wapiti mail list, but generally just perused it on occasion.

Then one day she posted that she would be competing in the Yukon Quest, and was looking for talented people to come up with a new logo for her.  That's interesting, I thought.  Honestly I totally suck at Photoshop or doing anything that could be taken seriously, but having cartooned most of my life privately (I inherited the cartooning gene from my dad), and having just purchased a new Mac with a graphire pad to expand my cartooning to the Web, I thought... what the hey, and checked out the North Wapiti site to get a feel for the Pretty Sled Dogs... and was instantly mesmerized and inspired by Karen's writing.

She  has a way of writing about her adventures in a way that makes you feel as though you were along for the ride, and what a fun ride it is.  I was hooked, and submitted the following for my entry for her 2006 Yukon Quest logo:
Needless to say... that wasn't the 2006 Yukon Quest North Wapiti logo, but Karen and I started e-mailing back and forth and she graciously invited me to be the "official" cartoonist of North Wapiti.  Needless to say I was honored and agreed, and here we are now.

So, you are probably wondering why I'm even bringing this up... no doubt you are convinced that I'm sucking down the Nyquil again, and for those of you who don't get that joke... that's one of the reasons I'm writing this...

Karen's diary entries on her website go back to 2000, but in the format that they're in, its kinda hard to follow, unlike reading from Blogger.  Long time fans know the stories and have seen the pictures, but our new fans on Blogger and Facebook may not be aware of all of the stories, inside jokes, and history.  There's nothing worse than being that one person that doesn't get a joke that everyone else gets, so while race season is done for this year, I'll be going through the old diary entries on the Web site and adding them to Blogger in the exact dates they were posted originally.

The main reason I'm doing this is because I got a box in the mail yesterday that made me laugh... and I'm still laughing.  I want to share that with all of you... but you won't appreciate it until you know the whole story, and the fans of North Wapiti and the Pretty Sled Dogs are like a big extended family, and I don't want anyone feeling like they don't get the joke.

- The Cartoonist

Wednesday 20 April 2011

The Great Outdoors

Today was moving day for the Tramplings.

But being the brave adventurers they are, they took it in stride....



They discovered that there are LOTS of exciting things to do in The Great Outdoors! Like killing trees..


 Hanging with Bet...
Bet, Skecher and NEO

Checking out this funny white stuff...


Playing in the tires...

Lots of room to practice your 'pouncing'....

Tramp is THRILLED that there is a spot to take a break from her children!
 "But what about the rest of the world??", Ryka asks

 Digging - who knew what fun that could be??




 But eventually even great explorers need to take naps!

Sunday 17 April 2011

She's A Great Mom but....

...she doesn't share well.

NEO says he didn't really want the stinky one earred rabbit anyway!!