Saturday 31 December 2011

All Work And No Play...

The thing about Guardian dogs is that they are all work and no play. Always on down time...always serious about their job....
Ahem Cricket ....I'm trying to make a point here...

 Get up....look serious...

 That is NOT serious. You are a GUARD DOG!!!

Yes, I see your ferocious teeth - you still don't look like you mean business. 

Really Cricket - you are PA THET IC....Pathetic...

I feel so safe.


My Last Post - Bet

Of the year that is... hehehe fooled you all!

Happy New Year everybody!  Its your roving Border Collie Reporter, Bet here!

As you can see, I've turned in my reporter hat for my nurse uniform... I have to say, I really don't like this hat because it keeps falling off in my water bowl.

The good news is that Rocket continues to be the same Rocket as before and that's a good thing, except she now has me massaging her crampy toes and she's learned how to do sad eyes and get goodies, which takes inventory out of my goodie count.  If she starts getting waffles... well, that's where I draw the line, that's all I'm saying.

Ok, look, we've got a lot of things to catch up on, and since its almost bedpan time I need to get out my list of things to do and get you all caught up on things and stuff and junk.

First off, I want to thank ALL of you because ALL of the Pretty Curly Tails are now sponsored!!!! Yippeee!!!! Hopefully all of the whining and complaining and yammering (especially from that Tramp) will stop and the Curly Tails can concentrate on their training and stop doing marketing pitches for sponsorship.  I have no idea what Newt is going to do with that giant Newt blimp, but that's his problem.


It has come to my attention that the Snack Bag post MAY have gotten lost in the holiday rush, so here's the deal again...

Musher needs stuffs on the trail
Pretty Curly Tails needs stuffs on the trail
We're gonna let you help get those stuffs to them on the trail, but we need to act fast!

So, see that big square at the top of the blog that looks like this:
If you click on that, it takes you to the Snack Bag Instruction page!!!  It will tell you all about how to shop, stuff, and send a snack bag that will go to the Iditarod and sit at one of the famous checkpoints and wait for the Musher and Pretty Curly Tails to get there, then be eaten by the Musher on the Iditarod trail and then you can say that you made an Iditarod Musher happy by giving her tasty things!

Another way to help is to help us buy stuffs that the Musher and Pretty Curly Tails need on the trail and we have a list and some handy buttons where you can donate moneys so the Snack Bag Minion can buy stuffs for them... like

PRILOSEC OTC, which the Pretty Curly Tails really need to help keep them from getting upset tummies and those nasty ulcer things that are really REALLY bad for them!

HANDWARMERS that are used to slip into the Pretty Curly Tail coats at checkpoints to help them warm sore muscles and make them toasty warm and comfy

LITHIUM BATTERIES so the Musher doesn't have to set her boot on fire to see the trail... oh yeah, you should all remember that year.

As of right now (12/31/2011), here is our inventory:

Item Need
Prilosec OTC 194
AA Lithium Batteries 60
Mini Mitts 64
Handwarmers 124
Juice Boxes 56
Gatorade 0

We have a long way to go, but its a start, so lets get on it peoples!!!

We also want to thank everybody that has already bought some stuffs and we're so thankful, we've put your names in the right hand side as Drop Bag Item sponsors!!!  THANK YOU!!!!


Local 'Wildlife'.

For Christmas Mark got me a very cool 'game camera'.  It was pretty much a perfect gift, something I wanted, but could never justify spending money on!!!

I was quite captivated by Parks Canada's great You Tube Video A Wild Year - Banff National Park when I saw it on Facebook last year.

So with visions of "A Wild Year - NorthWapiti" dancing my head I've been having  a lot of fun moving the camera around the woods and checking it in the mornings to see what we 'captured', looking for the 'perfect' spot to capture my 'Twelve Months, Four Seasons, One Revolution of the Sun' at the kennel.

I'm sorting out that camera placement and positioning is key to success in 'bagging' wildlife and requires a bit of skill. Skill I obviously lack, as this is all I've gotten so far....

Check back next year for "A Not So Wild Year - Cricket.....Twelve Months, Four Seasons, One Revolution of the Dog".

Sequels are not expected.


Tuesday 27 December 2011

Peas and Carrots

Part of the work I do at this time of year is not only nurturing and bringing along new leaders but finding combinations of leaders that go together like....well....peas and carrots.
When all goes right 2 leaders that compliment each other well will raise the level of both dogs. Sometimes, with the exact wrong combination, the exact opposite happens.

Tramp is quickly proving that she is one of the best leaders in the yard here at NorthWapiti.

She is FAST (very fast), focused, driven and very keen to please - but she is can I put this politely.....OUTSPOKEN.

Not all my leaders are .... um.....KEEN on sharing the spotlight with as a dog as Tramp.

"What a DIVA", says Kelly
 But Tramp is good enough up front to be worth the trouble to find the perfect running mate.

...or maybe she will shine as a single leader!!!

It's my job to sort that out!!!!


Sunday 25 December 2011

Not A Creature Was Stirring...

Legend has it at midnight on Christmas Eve animals can speak....

I headed to bed at 10pm last night but in the middle of the night I woke to a dull, roaring type noise. I glanced at my ceiling clock/thermometer and watched as it clicked over from displaying -3C (that's a whole 'nother blog) to 00:01.
I strained to hear what the noise was and whether I had to get up to address a problem in the dog yard. As I concentrated I began to separate individual sounds from the roar.
The first was a rather shrill, demanding voice that I quickly recognized as Tramp complaining about...well....everything. Then there was Rocket on a tirade about porcupines and her itching stitches. A deep throaty voice kept yelling "STAY AWAY. THIS IS MY YARD". Definitely Cricket.
I strained further and heard the clipped, polite accent of Todd telling everyone about his research on effects of lactic acid on the muscles of a distance athlete. Then there was Fletch's more 'earthy' accent. Did he just call me 'me duck'? I am still your Mother, young man!
Jinx was wondering aloud what the weather was in Alaska and what the Iditarod Trail was looking like. All business that lady.
Very prey driven Casey yelled that she thought she saw a mouse in the woods.
Barq said that if that 'young upstart' Jack didn't shut up he was going to 'beat the guard hairs off him'.
Smartie asked if someone would bring her the Suduko book from the bathroom so she could finish off a few puzzles.
Beauty asked neighbor Tess if her new collar made her look 'fluffy'?
The chanting in the yard was sure to be the very 'Zen like' Runner trying to maintain his inner peace.
Rocky excitedly announced to anyone that would listen that he pretty sure he was going to Alaska!

I decided there was no way I was stepping out in that dog yard. I snuggled against my warm husband and pulled a pillow over my ears.

I woke up many hours later to the quiet of Christmas morning. In the distance I could faintly hear Cricket barking at coyotes and squeaky Tic was already at the sliding door waiting to be let in. Bet's toes clicked across the laminate floor as she had noticed I was awake and came to wish me a 'Merry Christmas'.

All was good in my world!!! Thank goodness that only happens once a year!

Merry Christmas All!

Saturday 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace,
The gladness of Christmas give you hope,
The warmth of Christmas grant you love.
~Author Unknown

Merry Christmas Everyone!! 
From ALL of us at NorthWapiti

Friday 23 December 2011

The Week (or something) In Review - Bet

Howdy Ho everybody, its your diligent yet sometimes tardy Roving Border Collie Reporter, Bet, here!

Yes, yes, we ALL want to know how little Rocket is doing, so I'll just start with that because you'll just bug me until we do... eeesh.

After her surgery and stuff, she was really sore and poopy feeling, so I let her have the cloud and even gave her my prized baa baa sheepy thing toy to comfort her. (Even though Crunchie will claim the baa baa sheepy toy thing is his... its all a lie!)

Hey, its the LEAST I could do, she looked so horribly pathetic and all, I'm not heartless you know!

After some rest and good foods and lots and lots of lovin, she started perking up a bit and even smiled for the camera.

Although she says that she doesn't feel like dancing, she is feeling better, and we'll just take it day by day.  Of course, when it was time for me to go to bed, I told her that I needed by baa baa sheepy thing, because... well, its my baa baa sheepy thing!

Hmmm, something tells me that I'm not going to get back my baa baa sheepy thing until she's fully healed... I'm certainly not going to try to retrieve it with that look going on.

So, after the whole porcupine fiasco, the Pretty Curly tails decided that porcupines aren't fun to chase, so they decided to go after cute, fluffy little bunny rabbits.  This gave niece Corrine some experience in untangling Pretty Curly Tails in snow, and branches, and rocks, and stuff.

From what I heard, the Pretty Curly Tails weren't chasing bunnies, they were picking out the dog yard Christmas Tree, but apparently the Musher and niece Corrine didn't understand.

Here is your obligatory cheesecake pose by the ever studly Wolverine

The temperatures have been up and down and up and down and up and up and... too warm to do a lot of training at times, but Wolvie knows that when they aren't moving, its time to suck up as much snow time as possible.

Yesterday the pups took a trip to the local post office, which was just teeming with customers... I mean you can barely find a place to park a whole dog team, just look at all of the people.... ok, seriously, this is REALLY busy for the post office.

Kelly and Beauty ran in lead, which was one of those kismet things...

... because some sneaky people named Rob and Rhonda had commissioned a painting of their mother, Kara, to give to the Musher from the legendary Jon Van Zyle and it arrived at the Post Office yesterday.

He totally captured her spirit and the Musher totally loves it so much and was overwhelmed by the gift.  I like it too and miss my cloud mate very much, but now we can look up and see her looking down at us again.  Thank you to everyone involved with such a wonderful gift.

- Bet

Sunday 18 December 2011

The Porcupine Incident - Bet

Howdy Ho everybody, your Roving Border Collie, Bet, here!

I was going to do a wrap up of the week (or so) of the Interwebs, but the Musher asked that I tell everyone about the icky porcupine incident.

For those of you that don't know, this is what a porcupine looks like:

They are NASTY rodents that have sharp quills that they shoot like spears at their enemies... ok, they don't actually shoot their quills, but it seems like they do.  Their scientific name is: MajorusStickyOuchHurtsGoodEating.

Anyhoo, the other day while the Musher and Corrine (Musher niece) was out with the Pretty Curly Tails, they were about 8 miles away from home, minding their own business, and an evil ninja porcupine leaped out of nowhere and attacked the Pretty Curly Tails!!!

Ok, actually the Pretty Curly Tails spotted the porcupine at the same time as Musher and Corrine, but by then it was too late.  The Musher tried to stop the sled, but there was ice on the road, the Pretty Curly Tails REALLY wanted to chase the evil rodent, the evil rodent was trying to get to its den, chaos ensued and bad mojo happened.

Boo and Rocket (in the lead) tried pulling the thing from its den and got quilled in the mouth and muzzle.  Rocket looks like she tried to jump on it because she got quills in her mouth, muzzle, chest and leg... here is a picture of her harness after the fact:

I mean LOOK AT THAT!  Those razor sharp quill things just went right through her harness!!!

Corrine did a GREAT job helping the Musher during the whole melee.  Not only was she able to stay calm during total chaos, but followed the Musher's instructions and was instrumental in keeping the total damage down to a minimum of a few dogs.  Only Boo, Rocket, Jinx, and Kelly got a piece of the action and quilled in the process.

The Musher called Musher Mark and Sarah handler, who swooped in with the truck and betwen them all, were able to pull the quills out of everyone, and the majority out of Rocket, but it was quite clear that Rocket would need to go see Dr. Jackson.

Dr. Jackson had to knock Rocket out, shave her right should and pulled 15 more deeply imbedded quills out of her shoulder, more from her mouth and muzzle.  Dr. Jackson had to cut into the shoulder muscle to get out some of the quills.

Here is poor Rocket after the procedure

The pesky quills don't show up on X-rays, so there's a chance there are more in little dancing Rocket.  The EVIL thing about quills is that they can migrate through a body and come out who knows where!  That means we have to keep Rocket in the house, quiet, under supervision and our eye on her to make sure the EVIL quills don't migrate to very important places... this really sucks peoples!

So, we have another guest in the house... sigh

Although I totally understand that we have to make sure Rocket heals and all, its still a bit upsetting for the household.  She actually slept in the bedroom with us last night... MY bedroom!  There's a perfectly good closet in the back room, but who slept in there last night???  ME!  Ok, I could have slept in the bedroom, but this whole change thing is disturbing.

To make matters worse, Rocket doesn't like cats, which means that Tic and Bait are hiding outside the house somewhere... actually they aren't hiding, they're hanging off the window screens peering in because they're cold and inconvenienced.

The porcupine is apparently dead or packed its bags and left, as well as it should be for putting me through this!

The Musher is pretty upset about the whole thing and wants to make sure it never happens again, but I think she's taking things a bit too far.  The Pretty Curly Tails are having a difficult time training in their new porcupine proof equipment.

- Bet

Its Snack Bag Time!!!! - Bet

Howdy Ho everybody, its your Roving Border Collie Reporter, Bet, here!

Yes, I've been a bit quiet lately because (as usual) there's always something going on around here that requires my attention!

I'll be doing an Interwebs wrap up in a bit, but I needed to get this important snack bag breaking news story out first....




Ok, some of you are probably like all "what the heck is snack bag time"... well, if you'll hold on a minute I'll tell you!  Geesh, settle down everyone!

When I was a mere pup in the wilds of Texas (and yes, yesterday was National Maple Syrup day, which I faithful observe), I thought that dog mushers just went out and mushed, perhaps carrying their supplies on a really comfy support vehicle, such as an RV or tour bus that was driven behind the sled by the pit crew... like in NASCAR.  Apparently I was wrong and found that out when I became a part of North Wapiti.

Mushers rely on their drop bags at each checkpoint to sustain them and their Pretty Curly Tails during a race.  Each drop bag contains the essentials of life: food, comfort, treats, medicines, snacks, more snacks, some snacks, and stuff and things.

As you may recall, there's a whole lot of preparing, buying, and packing when it comes to drop bags.  Here I am helping Richard stuff his drop bags for the Canadian Challenge:
You forgot the waffles!
So... what does this have to do with you and snack bags?  OHMYGEEZIE you people are impatient, I'm getting to that!

The Musher has a sort of vapor-lock when it comes to packing snacks and treats for herself in her snack bags.  She has her standard favorites and all that, but there's no added motivation for her to get to the checkpoint because she knows what's waiting for her in her snack bag.  So, during one of the Iditarods, her fans volunteered to pack her snack bags for her, that way she had NO CLUE what was waiting for her at the checkpoint, and it was fun discovering the different things and eating new stuffs and reading the inspirational messages her fans wrote for her.

There's like 24 or so checkpoints on the trail, so she needs 24 snack bags and other essentials in the drop bags.  Here's where you come in... yes, FINALLY!

You can pick out and fill your very own snack bag, that will be put in the drop bag, that the Musher will eat at an Iditarod checkpoint!  Isn't that cool???  I said ISN'T THAT COOL???  Snack bags aren't that big, just a gallon-sized Ziploc baggie of goodies.  All you have to do is go to the Snack Bag page and follow the directions to send your snack bag!!!  We even have a new Snack Bag Musher Minion that will tenderly care for your snack bag and make sure it gets to the wilds of Alaska!

If you don't want to pick out snacks and send a snack bag, well, that's fine too, because there are other things that the Pretty Curly Tails and the Musher need in the drop bags, such as:
  • Prilosec OTC
  • Hand warmers
  • Mitts
  • AA batteries
  • Waffles
Ok... they don't need waffles, but they do needs those other things and some more things, and we've made it easy and cheap for you to help out getting those things... you can donate any number of those things with a simple click of the button!  No need to even put down your coffee, just go to the Snack bag page and near the bottom is the list of thingies they need in the drop bags, just click some buttons, say how many you want to donate and its a done deal!

I'm also including a handy link near the top of the page so you can tell your friends and family, and distant relatives, complete strangers, and random people you bump into on the street so they can join in and be a part of the Iditarod experience by knowing that your contribution is actually being used on that historic trail to get the Pretty Curly Tails under the burled arch thing in Nome! 

As usual, if you have any questions, you can e-mail the helpful Heather Minion at Musher Minions (

- Bet

Friday 9 December 2011

Sweaterpalooza Drawing - Bet

Howdy Ho everybody, its your roving Border Collie Reporter, Bet, here!

I bet you bet that we forgot all about the sweater drawing thingie, didn't you!  Pshaw!  No we didn't!

The Musher wanted everything to be JUST RIGHT for the actually drawing of the names festivities and stuff, which meant...

I got a bath.
NOT happy about that!  The stupid pink bow is a bit much, makes me look like some frou-frou spoiled housedog or something.  I'm as rough and tumble as the Pretty Curly Tails!  I can handle it out in the freezy temps with the big dogs!  As a matter of fact, the Musher said there's another camping trip coming up, and you know what?  I'm going out there without my winter gear and warm booties just to prove that I can hang with the gang... maybe I'll even chop some wood and spit and stuff... yeah!

Oh wait, where was I?  Ah yes, the Cowaboo sweater drawing thingie... yeah, ok, so back to the story... blah blah, didn't forget, got a bath, stupid pink bow... oh yeah!

So anyhoo, the Musher wanted me to draw the names out of a hat for the winner of the sweater, the wristie things, and then someone gets to choose a baa baa fleecy thing from 2008.  Oh geez, how original, that's been done to death.  Besides, who wants to stick their nose in someone's stinky hat and grab a piece of paper that's been swimming in who knows what in that hat?

So, I told the Musher that it would be MUCH better, and more fun for me, if she just put the slips of paper in a jar of peanut butter!

MMMMM I LOVE peanut butter!  And she fell for it!

Ok, lets see... all of the names are in there all folded up so I can't see them... so let me pick the first prize winner of the stunning partially knitted by the Musher Cowaboo sweater.....

Gotta get real deep in here... mmmmm there's some residue in here, nom nom... oh yeah, here's a slip of paper... and the winner of the sweater is....

Congratulations Marian Siegel, you are now the proud owner of the Cowaboo sweater!!!

Now I had to go back in and pick the winner of the wristie thingies... in case you forgot what they look like here they are
They're really cool and warm and smell like cookies because Helen Handler knitted them.  You get two, one for each wrist... just wanted to be clear about that.

Ok, so back into the jar to pick the winner of the wristie things

Mphrmblmph... all of the papers are stuck to the sides of the jar, so I'm really have to work at getting them separated and.....

Congratulations Donna Quante, the winner of the wristie thingies!

Now, I have to get in there and pick the winner of the 2008 baa baa fleecy thing... sigh... the suffering I endure for the good of the kennel.

MMMMM... I mean hmmmm, I seem to be having a difficult time getting down to the ones at the bottom and need to eat my way there... this may take some time.... ok, got one.

Congratulations Lisa Myers, you win your choice of 2008 baa baa fleecy thing!

Ok winners, contact the Heather Minion at Musher Minions (

Ok, I need to go back in there and get out the rest of the papers... so glad I got that bath!

- Bet

"Let's Camp"

The plan for yesterday was to take the team on another camping trip but when we woke up to a -26C reading on the thermometer plans were changed. ATV's don't 'camp' well at those temps - mushers either!!!
We fed on schedule, I worked out while the dogs were digesting their breakfast, piled on an extra layer of clothing as the temperature was still holding at -26, and I headed out on run. I told Sarah that I wasn't sure how long I'd be, I'd see what the weather was 'out of the valley' before deciding.

Six miles into the run I stopped the ATV, dug around for my cell phone, powered it up, phoned Mark and said "Let's camp". Although it was cold, the sun made it rather bearable!!

Twenty one miles later I pulled into the campground to find Sarah waiting with a meal for the dogs, Mark tending a roaring, hot fire, and Bet shivering her fur off. Sweet.

Oh, I almost forgot to report my 'traffic violation' on the way into the campground -

Bad dogteam!!!! Bad dogteam!!! =)

Anyway, it was cold, the hot dogs sucked (I bought 'all natural' hot dogs that was very proud of the fact you could pronounce all their ingredients. Apparently, the 'unnatural' and 'unreadable' things are what make hot dogs good!! Who knew!!!!), the dogs rested badly......BUT ...the runs themselves were GREAT!!! The dogs are very fast and very driven this season. I am so very pleased with them.

The run home was in fabulous bright moonlight - we saw 3 moose, a herd of elk and more deer then I could count. It was wonderful.

I'm glad I changed my mind!!!!