Tuesday 28 February 2012

The Story of ME - Bet

Howdy Ho Everybodies,

By special request from the Facebooks, its the story of ME!

Well, actually, the story of me was told long ago by my former home.  I'm an Alta-Pete Border Collie, one of THE bestest types of Border Collies (if I do say so myself).  Although Scott and Jenny were really nice and all... they had such high expectations for baa baa sheepy herdy dogs like myself.  They actually expected us to... herd sheep!  No really... I KNOW! 

Baa baa sheepy herding competition is really stressful!  Its not like I was just out there moving sheepie things around and stuff, they expected us to herd them all where they told us to herd them and used some weird lingo like "on by"... what?  Or "away to me"... well, what is it?  You want me to go away, or come to you????

On top of everything else, baa baa sheepie things not only smell like wet blankets ALL THE TIME, but Scott and Jenny wouldn't let me wear fashionable matching ensembles out in the field.  no really... I KNOW!!!!  There's this whole thing where we're suppose to lay on the grass to "hold" the sheepie things and the grass is all wet and it smells like sheepie thing stuffs and things and euw euw!!!  I gotta lay in cold, wet, wet blanket smelly grasses without so much as a slicker or perhaps cape with matching booties?

It was dreadful!!  Plus the other Border Collies made fun of me.

Luckily, right about the time when the family decided that I was "washed out" of competitive baa baa sheepie herding, the Musher reached out to a friend, who reached out to her friend, and then a few weeks later once I hitched a ride over to North Wapiti, I knew this is where I was needed.

I wrote my letter of resignation, traded my sheepie herdy collar for an official North Wapiti collar (which I've since traded in for my stylish purple collar with gold accents and name plate that goes with my array of scarves) and have never looked back.

Scott and Jenny were glad that I found something I liked to do and even posted some FABulous pictures of me.  They also did a blog post about the various and sundry other non-herdy Border Collies that found new careers (including myself).

Oh sure, I miss the ol gang and all, but North Wapiti is my home and I wouldn't trade it for all of the waffles in the world... well... no, no I wouldn't.

- Bet

Monday 27 February 2012

What The Sheep... Dog - Bet


When I got the e-mail from the Musher saying that she had the answer to the herdy bunnie issue, I was dancing for joy!  She said that she had met the most wonderful sheep named Maggie and was thinking of bringing her home!

Finally!  Now something those pesky herdy bunnies could herd around!

Oh sure, it would be yet another thing I'd have to care for around the house, what with my duties to herd the Pretty Curly Tails, train puppies, whip up a tasty souffle in my spare time when I'm not online shopping for fabulous matching ensembles, or napping, but if it meant the herdy bunnies would leave me alone, I'm all for it!

Send me a picture of this Maggie Sheepie thing!

And she did...

Um... wait a minute

That's not a sheepie thing!  That's a sheepie thing dog!

That's a sheepie thing dog on MY musher's lap!!!


There's no way, no how another dog, let alone a sheepie thing dog is coming to live in MY house, sitting on MY Musher's lap!

I'm stuck here while my personal crampy toe massager and MY musher is in another country with random sheepie thing dogs sitting on them.... pfffft.

Thankfully Maggie, the sheepie thing dog belongs to Sarah and Pat, some friends of the Musher and Donna Photographer minion and won't be coming here.

Haha, yeah, you got me... funny... real funny.... did I mention that somehow your pillow got out in the dog yard Musher?

- Bet

Sunday 26 February 2012

And Then There Were Twenty....

Most of the training is done, EKGs, bloodwork and chiropractic adjustments/checks (these are not mandatory, but something we have done each year prior to Iditarod) done - just our final vet check by Dr.Baetsle at the Big Lake Vet Clinic tomorrow and then I will need to sit down and sort out which 16 dogs are heading to Nome with me.
It hasn't been an easy call this year. Pretty much all 24 could go and almost all 24 'deserve' to go, but since race rules only allow for 16 (and I don't want to drive 24 down the trail anyway! YIKES) selections must be made.

So far I have narrowed things down to 20 dogs - and I know some of the choices will be a surprise to many - so let me talk about the surprises first.

First off, let me answer the most asked question first - Yes, 'HE' is in the final twenty. For those of you that don't know who 'he' is ... 'he' is ten and a half year old Crunchie.
Honestly, I've been looking for a reason to drop 'The Old Man' but neither he nor any of the testing we have done has given me an 'easy out'. Yes, I'd like to take him, more then anything actually, but it is important to me that I believe he can get to Nome if he starts the race. In his 8 1/2 years of racing he has never been injured or dropped in a race, I don't want his career to end on such a note.... 

....but he has more then earned his spot in my top twenty. He is an amazing dog.

Next a surprise cut - Billie. Yup, Billie is a key leader and was a big player in my recent 3rd place finish at the Don Bowers race - but she has 2 things working against her right now - she is in season and she is having a bit of foot issues. The foot issues aren't a big deal, but Billie is not fond of having booties put on and when she is hormonal and in season, she likes it even less. The thought of arguing with this tough, opinionated lady over 1000 miles is not pleasant - couple that with the havoc she will create with the boys and it just isn't going to be Billie's year, I'm afraid. She will be a very hard dog to leave behind though.

The final 'surprise' is a very pleasant one - it actually isn't a 'cut' - quite the opposite. Yes, I read the front page of the Anchorage Daily News this morning which read "Injury eliminates hard-luck Irving from team', but it seems Irving didn't.
As per Dr.Baetsle's instructions we ran Irving on a couple shorter runs this week. He has done great and when Dr. Whitton saw him for his exam today, she could see nothing remaining that would exclude him from running Iditarod.

The final go ahead will come from Dr. Baetsle, who saw the original injury and we will know that tomorrow.
Keep your fingers crossed for Irv - I know his paws are crossed!!

So the final 20 are -


Where Are My Manners - Bet

Hey Everybodies,

You know, the other day when I wrote about all of the packing of the drop bags, and the Pretty Curly Tails helping with the drop bags, and blah blah blah, and all the hard work and blah blah, and more blah blah?

Well, it occurred to me today that I forgot to thank the peoples that really did all of the hard work and making sure the Musher and Pretty Curly Tails had their snacks and foods and stuffs!

So, here's a big THANK YOU!!! to all of the drop bag item sponsors, and the snack bag sponsors for getting all of the goodies, snackies, warmy thingies, and anti-icky ulcer pill stuffs!  Without all of you helping out things would have been really complicated and tough.

Just so all of you know JUST HOW IMPORTANT all of these things were, especially the anti-icky ulcer pill stuffs, here's an article that talks about just how important they are that mentions our beloved Snickers.

I also need to send an especially loud shout out to Minion Kathryn Trussell, who spearheaded the gathering of the goodies, gathered the sent in goodies, shopped for the other goodies, packed the goodies, shlepped the boxes of goodies to the Post Office, and made sure all of the goodies arrived at North Wapiti Willow in time for the packing and shipping of the drop bags to the Iditarod peoples!  Thank you Minion Kathryn!!!!

Kathryn on the way to the Post Office
North Wapiti has the best fans in the whole wide world, and we appreciate all of your support!

- Bet

Saturday 25 February 2012

NW Willow Week On The Interwebs - Bet

Howdy Ho Everybodies!

Its that time of the week for the Weekly Interwebs wrap up of stuffs and things!

There was some uneventful camping adventures that didn't involve mooses, although mooses were seen, they kept their distance.

You lookin at me?
 On top of playing "Hide and go Moose", the Estrogen Express kicked into high gear with all of the Pretty Curly Tail girls going into season.   You may recall the Estrogen Express during the La Ronge Neckbone Sled Dog Race last year.

Ice cream, cake, cupcakes, shoes, martinis anyone?
Richard sure has a way with the girls, as you can see during a break with Tess and Smartie

No, that harness doesn't make your butt look fat!

The Musher took 'Team Testicle' on their daily run

Buffalo wings, football, tools, who wants a beer?
So, here's what I don't get.  The Musher says its hot there.  Its 19 degrees... there's feets of snow... and she says its hot.  The Pretty Curly Tails think so too...

Frankly, I'd be all bundled up in my matching ensemble and have some of those hand warmer things in various places in all that snow and stuffs, but the Pretty Curly Tails want COLD weather.

Tongue thermometer reads 19 degrees
Which leads to a common question that the Musher gets... how do you get all of those really cool photos while on the sled and moving?  The Musher is a most excellent photographer, with nerves of steel and years of practice taking pictures from the back of the sled.  Richard is also an excellent photographer, and also pretty bendy, which is how he captured the shot above... by doing this

... and for his next trick...
Besides... how can you ever get a BAD picture of the Pretty Curly Tails?

I have also been informed that there is a possibility of Crunchie and Tramp puppies in the future.  I've already proclaimed them as the Cramplings, and I'm on the Interwebs shopping for new ear plugs.

- Bet

Friday 24 February 2012

This Is How We Roll....

....thanks for the demo Wif!!!

The FAMOUS Pretty Curly Tails - Bet

Howdy Ho everybodies!

It should come as no surprise that the Musher's rendition of "The Moose" incident has nearly become viral with peoples all over the world reading it!!!

Its such a riveting story that the Anchorage Daily News reporters came out to North Wapiti Willow to interview everybodies!!!!

Here are the reporters interviewing the Musher, Richard, and the Pretty Curly Tails!

The Pretty Curly Tails got to tell their stories (as translated by the Musher) and even posed for close up pictures.

The Moose was big, and stompy, and tasty on a bun with some pickles

Just to make sure the Reporters understood just how the Moose stomped all over them, they demonstrated the beginning of the stomping on him.

Hey, you spelled my name wrong!

Rocky gets held up by Richard to get a close up

I'm not going to say "cheese" unless you give me some first!
I don't know when the story will hit the ADN site, but I'll keep hitting refresh on the interwebs and let you all know.

Of course, had I been there, I would have unleashed my Ninja Border Collie skills on that stompy Moose!

- Bet

Thursday 23 February 2012

Herdy Bunnies Update - Bet

Howdy Ho everybodies, I'm sure you know that the Herdy Bunnies are getting to be out of control around here.  It was getting pretty desperate, as they insisted on herding baa baa sheepie things, but we don't have any around here.

I tried to convince them to herd the Pretty Curly Tails, but they showed me a piece of chewed paper that they said was their contract and it clearly said that they were Certified Baa Baa Sheepie Thing Herdy Bunnies, and Pretty Curly Tails weren't in the contract.


The closest we had to anything looking like baa baa sheepie things was Cricket, and she CLEARLY convinced them that she was neither a baa baa sheepie thing, nor was she willing to pretend to be "herded" anywhere.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I got onto the Interwebs and thankfully found a game called "FLICK SHEEP"!
Apparently you flick the sheepie things and herd them all over some play sheepie yard, and avoid obstacles and stuffs and things.

This seemed like the answer to the problem... it would keep the Herdy Bunnies entertained, they would get to "pretend" herd the baa baa sheepie things, and they would FINALLY leave me alone!!!

I downloaded a bunch of copies and showed them how to start flicking the sheepie things and low and behold.... its been nice and quiet around here!!!

I love the interwebs!

There only seems to be one major problem with my plan

They haven't moved off that couch for three days and its getting a bit gamey in here.

- Bet

Wednesday 22 February 2012

How Much Stuffs Can A NW Vest Hold? - Bet

I'm glad you asked!

A new vest owner sent me pictures of all of the stuffs she stuffed into her vest!

Vest owner says:

"It was warm enough today to take my dogs for a walk while wearing my NorthWapiti fleece vest instead of my winter jacket. I was really amazed that I could fit all the gear I need to take with us in the two big front pockets. There was still room for me to jam my hands in there too. And I didn't even use the two upper zipped pockets! I really liked not having to take a backpack or fanny pack just to go to the park with the dogs.

Here's what I fit in:

Bottle of water
Collapsible bowl
Pick-up bags
Dog treats
Spare leash (for loose/stray dog situations)
Glove liners
Packet of hand warmers
Cell phone
Car keys
Sun glasses

In the second picture, I look a little puffy with the pockets stuffed! But there was still room for money, a snack for myself, a small camera, dog toy, or whatever else I might need, depending on where I am heading with the dogs.

I just wanted to let everyone at NorthWapiti know I really like this vest because it's very functional as well as attractive and cozy. Thank you!"

On top of all of that stuffs, there's also still plenty of room for:

A roving Border Collie Reporter!!!!

Get yours today at the North Wapiti Shop!

- Bet

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Feeling 'Girlie'

Ah, I remember when I was a little girl and got a pretty new dress. I'd dance and spin around in it, loving the feeling of wearing something pretty and new..................

Okay, not really - ALWAYS been a Tomboy and never have been into pretty dresses, I'm afraid. However I did get some amazingly functional and pretty new clothing the other day.


Aren't they stunning???? I was almost dancing and spinning when I opened the box from Sarah McHugh.

On Sunday I took them for a 'test drive' ,,,,,,,

Yes, that is me on a snowmachine. Richard and I went out to watch the Iron Dog racers go by on the Yentna River. (It was actually a fun 'day off' - but don't tell anyone I said that).

...anyway....the mitts are incredibly warm. I'd been having a few issues keeping my hands warm earlier this year, but I think I have it all under control now!!!

Huge thanks to Sarah McHugh for working a good deal for me so I could have warm - and BEAUTIFUL - hands on the Iditarod.

Check out more of Sarah's amazing work on her Facebook page - Sarah McHugh
BEAUTIFUL, top quality stuff!!!!!

Thanks again Sarah!!!!!

Post Moose Thing Pictures - Bet

Mooses won't keep those Pretty Curly Tails down!

Here are those brave pups out on the trail two days after the "incident".

I'm so proud of my Pretty Curly Tails, and the Musher and Richard.

This just goes to show everyone that when the Mooses come a stompin, you just get back on the trail and run toward your dreams.  Wow... I think I'll make that into a t-shirt.

- Bet

Monday 20 February 2012

The Pretty Curly Tails - Bet

While the Musher and Richard were getting the drop bags all sorted and filled, the Pretty Curly Tails were doing their best to help.

Although the straw in their dog houses are warm and cushy, they felt that a little special something was needed to help keep the cold wind out of their houses.  Using keen Siberian Husky skills rivaled only by that McGyver guy, the Pretty Curly Tails used their own furs and the snow to fashion a door curtain.

They also provided much needed snoopervision during the packing of the drop bags

Hey!  More salmon in that bag!  Get with the program!
Of course, they all had their own way of packing, so it got a bit confusing with all of them providing feedback.

I want kibble.  I want more fish.  Don't pack the eggs at the bottom!!!  What?  No toast?
Supervising is tiring and somewhat stressful, so everyone was glad when it was over and the bags were on their way to the Iditarods peoples for further distribution.

zzzzz burled arch zzzzzz
- Bet

North Wapiti Open House 2012

Mark your calendars!!!

Day:  Friday, March 2nd, 2012
Time: 10 am until 2pm
Address: 17438 North Heights Place Willow AK 99688

Come meet Karen Ramstead, Iditarod musher and her team of Pretty Sled Dogs!

You've read her blog, you've followed her exploits, now is your chance to meet her in person, along with Richard Todd, Donna Quante, and some other Musher Minions.  Yes, we realize the disappointment that Bet isn't along for the ride, we're sorry, please come anyway :)

Spend some time meeting the Pretty Sled Dogs and feel free to keep all of the fur they leave on you as a special bonus treat, free of charge!

There will be lunch foods and desserts, and North Wapiti merchandise available for purchase.

 Please note: due to previous commitments, the Open House must end at 2pm sharp.

Take Parks Hwy through Willow to Milepost 73 (look for Gratiot Rd on left but go past Gratiot, you just need to look for it because then...).
The next road on left is Dell M--turn in.
Turn right on Maleia--drive to end.
Turn left on Serenity.
Turn right on N. Heights.
Second driveway on right. Look for signs, fenced yard.

haw on Dell M
Gee on Maleia
Haw on Serenity
Gee on Heights

Use the Google Gadget below to get directions:

Please note: you MUST drop passengers off at the driveway and then return to the cul-de-sac at the turn to Heights.

We have so much snow that there is no where to park on along the road without blocking the lane...the neighbors need to drive by.  No one lives in the cul-de-sac, so it's a good place to park.  Please do not park in the driveway.! We need that to be clear for folks to have a path to the house.  It's about 2 tenths of a mile walk from the cul-de-sac.

Thank you to the wonderful friends who generously donated for the food and goodies!!!

No RSVP is required, but please drop the Heather Minion   an e-mail (help4northwapiti@gmail.com) if you are coming, so we can ensure there's plenty of foods and goodies and stuffs and things.

Sunday 19 February 2012

Scenes of Iditarod Prep - Bet

First off everybodies, the Bait story is completely and utterly true!!!  Bait has already put out a sworn affidavit to that affect and will post it later today.  I wrote it all down for him and he signed it.

Secondly, I have to recycle some pictures to tell the stories because the Musher has all of the cameras in Willow.  This makes reporting events here at North Wapiti a bit difficult, so I'm forced to use stick figures, shadow puppets, and the cartoonist (who we all know isn't very reliable).

Thirdly, here are some scenes from last week before the evil Mooses incident, where the Musher and Richard were busy gathering all of the goodies and stuffs that all of you, North Wapiti adoring fans helped provide for the drop bags!

Step One: throw everything in the snow... in piles... in order of the checkpoints.

Step Two: Throw more stuff in there... Hey Skookum, here's all of your checkpoint goodies!

Step Three: take goodies from the shipping boxes, to the appropriate piles, trying really hard not to snack on the goodies while you pack the goodies (please note: no goodies were harmed in the making of the snack bags).

Step Four: discuss whether you already threw in one type of goodie, or didn't throw in one type of goodie, then dump the bag only to discover that you already threw in one type of goodie and have to start over because you have one goodie too many.

Step Five: Get a close up picture of a finished checkpoint bag.

Step Six: line them up all pretty and then haul them off to get flash freezed and shipped to the Iditarod peoples for distribution and stuffs.

And that is how you prepare checkpoint bags for the Iditarod.

There will be a test tomorrow.

- Bet

Saturday 18 February 2012

True Story - Bet

This is a true story... no really, this actually happened!

Musher Mark and I needed a bit of out of the house time, what with the annoying herdy bunny things and stuffs, so we took off for the Perryvale post office to get the mail and maybe do a little retail therapy, maybe get a facial and our nails done (ok, that's what I wanted to do).

We figured we'd take the Musher's Highlander since it hadn't been out on the road lately.  It needs new tires and stuffs and frankly it could stand an air freshener while they're at it, I'm just saying.

So, we toodled down the mile long gravel road with no problem.  Once we hit the real road, ol lead foot hit the gas and we were zooming along at about 60 mph and started to hear this strange noise.  It was a cross between metal on metal and someone squeezing a gaseous marmoset.

What is that horrible noise????
Musher Mark thought that maybe one of the tires were low, so he turned down the radio and slowed down a bit, but the noise was still there!

Dude, seriously, you need to check out that noise!
So, Musher Mark pulled the Highlander over and got out to see if he could figure out where the noise was coming from and found Bait on the roof:

That cat is crazy!

- Bet

The Moose

Richard and I have pieced this together from both our best recollections. Understand while it seems like it was all in slow motion and took hours, when I checked my cell phone it was 45 minutes after we left the house with the teams that I called Donna. In that time we had covered close to 7 miles of trail and the moose was dead, so in all likelihood the attack didn't last very long at all. It was minutes that seemed like hours.....

Thursday was a busy day. After feeding the kennel we headed up the highway to collect my drop bags from Nancy Crowden's freezer where they were 'hard freezing' as it was so warm outside. We swung by Jamie West's where 1 more bag was in her freezer before making the big drive to AirLand Transport in Anchorage.

The bags were unloaded, weighed and sorted by Iditarod officials. I forked over almost $1000 to get my 1593 lbs of food and gear down the trail. A big whack of cash, but still a good bargain!

That done Richard and I picked up a few supplies in Anchorage and Wasilla before heading back to Willow. "The Plan" was to head out on a 50 - 60 mile run with the dogs, camp for 4 hours, come 50 - 60 miles home and then 8 hours later do it all over again.

Despite the heavy sleds, the dogs were in a great mood and running very strong. I was very pleased and thrilled to be out on a big camping trip with them.

As we were running along Little Willow Creek I spotted a moose ahead, but he was along the river bank well off the trail and headed further away when he saw the dogs. A mile or so later when we were stopped for a moment Richard said there were 2 more moose further down the trail past that one. "Maybe that is our moose for the night", he said. I hoped so.

There was a new trail 'dragged' (or 'groomed') that bypassed the pretty Willow Creek Campground that we took. There is a tree right on one of the corners coming into the Campground that would have been tricky to avoid with big, loaded sleds - and the area has a lot of moose - so skipping it wasn't a bad idea. The trail jumped back off the Big Su River and we turned onto the 'Lucky Shot' Trail eventually heading for Vera Lake and the Iditarod Trail.

The team was still moving very strongly when we made the turn off towards Almond Lake.  Just as my leaders Tess and See were rounding the corner and vanishing out of my sight I saw their ears shoot forward and felt the a burst of speed coming from the team. Sure signs that we weren't on the trail alone. As always in those situations, I started talking to the dogs in my best 'calm, assertive' voice - "Easy, Easy".  Not only do the dogs know the tone, I want whatever we are about to encounter to know I'm there. (It is also a warning for Richard behind me.)

As soon as the sled cleared the corner I was on the bar brake with both feet, sure enough a big, dark moose butt moving away from us came into view.  While still standing on the brake I leaned over and dug my big snow hook into the snow, bringing my excited 12 dogs to a halt.  The moose turned to face us - not at all a good sign - but then swung around and started back down the trail.  Richard's leaders were next to me by now.  We waited a bit to give the moose time to get down the trail without any 'pressure' from the dog teams.  Richard offered to walk up ahead and check to make sure she was gone (a move that it turns out likely would have been VERY bad - I might have had to shovel the dog yard by myself for the rest of the month) but I said we should be fine if we just went ahead slow and carefully.  Usually once they are moving away from the dog team on a good trail the encounter goes well.  Most bad encounters occur when you come around corners and startle them or in conditions where they feel they can't flee - or that is what I thought.

I picked up my hook but kept both feet on the brake moving cautiously forward.  Immediately the moose came into range of my headlamp. She hadn't fled at all, she had simply stepped out of range of my light, turned and waited for us.  She was maybe 10 feet from See and Tess when I stopped them.  I yelled at her but from her body language it was clear that she wasn't in the least intimidated by me. I was definitely intimidated by her 1000 plus pounds. Her head was low and swinging from side to side, her ears were flat back and in a second she charged.

I remember thinking "This isn't happening. This isn't happening" as she reached my dog team and her feet started flying.  She was making no effort to avoid the dogs - in fact, she was actively aiming at them.  She came right between the leaders and stomped her way through the team. I saw her hooves connecting with the dogs and a couple yelped.  I moved to the right of my sled and she thundered by on the left.

The noise she was making was the scariest thing I have ever heard in my life.  It was a guttural, growling noise that sounded like dinosaur sound effects in low-budget science fiction movie.  Neither Richard nor I will ever forget it.

As she stomped through Richard's team she got tangled in his gangline and dragged his team into a huge ball.  She paused for a split second and I yelled at Richard to get out of her way as she aimed her attack at his sled.  He jumped into deep snow behind a tree as she went OVER TOP of his loaded sled, knocking it over and stripping the straw bag off.

It all happened so fast that there was no time to do anything but get out of her way.

At this point my team decided  to swing around and go after her.  I tried to stop them only to see the moose coming back up the line of dogs.  Rather then just proceed down the trail once she had cleared the dogs and sled with only a split second of hesitation she came back for round 2.

By now the dogs seemed to get that they were in danger and were trying to stay away from her but they were so tangled that wasn't easy.

She passed within inches of me as she stormed up in front of my sled.  My sled was over on its side and the team still turned around but Turtle and Runner were right next to her.  She was too close to the sled for me to get my gun.

I glanced over my shoulder and saw Richard at his sled getting the .44 magnum that he carries. I suggested he hurry.

He stepped up next to me and said "Over her or into her?".  "Over",  I replied.  That is the one decision I wish I had made differently.  Never again will I offer an attacking moose a warning shot.

The second the gun went off a number of things happened - my dogs freaked, knocking me off my feet - and the moose charged.  Richard dove for the snow bank and briefly had 1000 lbs of pissed off moose standing over top of him.  His gun was filled with snow and basically pointless. I looked up to see her coming down the team swinging and stomping.  Lying on the ground, tangled in ganglines, watching an attacking moose coming towards me is an experience I could have happily lived my life with out.

I rolled out of her way at the last second and got only a glancing blow to my leg.

I scrambled to my feet and headed for my sled for my shotgun.  As I chambered a shell I asked Richard if he wanted to shoot or wanted me to. "I will", he said (he had had a lesson with both the shotgun and .44 right after arriving in Alaska).

We do not take the decision to shoot an animal lightly at all, but once they had initiated an extended attack, we are going to protect those we love.  We were prepared and had discussed the possibility on numerous occasions.

The cow was standing basically on the runners of Richard's sled, growling and swinging her head at us. It was obvious another charge was imminent.

Richard stepped clear of his wheel dogs and to within 3 feet of her before firing a shot directly into her head. She dropped instantly.

Through out the whole incident I am pleased to say that Richard and I remained quite calm.  I believe that helped keep the dogs relatively calm and didn't escalate the attack even more.  Certainly our hearts were both pounding and we were terrified but on the outside we were just dealing with what needed to be dealt with. However at this point, my very polite British friend let off with a string of obscenities that almost made me blush.  It was more than appropriate.

Immediately we had another set of emergencies to deal with - 24 dogs were in the biggest tangle you could possibly imagine.  Everyone was freaked by either the gunshot and/or the moose...we weren't sure if any were hurt and if so, how bad.

We set to work accounting for all dogs, freeing them from the lines and making sure they were all okay.

When we had the worst of the tangles sorted I pulled out my cell phone and called Donna.  I know that shooting a moose, even in self defense is a serious matter....it needed to be reported and the moose dealt with appropriately so her meat could be salvaged for the local food bank.

HUGE thanks to our friends that jumped for us that night when their phones rang - Donna at the top of that list. She called next door neighbors, the Jonrowes.  DeeDee was on the phone to me almost immediately to make sure we and the dogs were okay and to tell us that Mike was on the way out with a snow machine (she also told me that they had had issue with a moose in that area earlier in the day, but was able to run her off with a snow machine. Likely it was the same one).

Mike dragged the moose out to the nearest road (something that must be done) and offered us an escort home. Unfortunately, it became obvious shortly after we got underway that a few dogs were too injured or sore to make the run home, so he led us to the nearest road.

Another call to Donna and she and Keith Blaha were in our dog truck and on the way to us.

We also needed to gut the moose before she froze (state law).  Donna called the Stitt family and Skeeter and Skipper were down in no time to do that for us.

And big thanks to Doug Grilliot.  Doug was the one that armed us for the trail and walked us through instructions for using the guns. I can't imagine how the situation would have ended had we not had a gun and the ability to use it correctly.

In regards to the moose, whatever was going on with her she was not acting like a 'normal' or 'rational' wild animal.  She had plenty of opportunities to easily end the encounter and never even seemed to consider them.  This was a young cow, she did not have a calf with her, she was not pregnant, had a full belly, and unlike alot of moose in the area this winter, was in good condition.

The dogs all seem to be doing relatively well. A few are sore and a few seemed to be in shock for a bit.  Beauty completely melted down when all the shooting started (two more shots were put into the moose to ensure she wouldn't get back up and wasn't suffering) and was simply standing in harness screaming at the top of her lungs when it was all over.  Irving had a blow to his quadricep tear the muscle and is out for the season but should recover fully.

I know that virtually every dog got kicked AT LEAST once as I watched it happen, so it is such a blessing that more dogs were not seriously injured.

Meeting an aggressive moose on the trail has always been one of my biggest fears running dogs. We have now been through that - what doesn't kill you makes you stronger - right??

Friday 17 February 2012

More North Wapiti Pride - Bet

Howdy Ho everybodies, its me, the tortured non-roving Border Collie Reporter, Bet here!

Yes, yes, there's a lot of news and stuffs going on, but you'll have to wait for the Musher to report back because I don't have all of the details right now on the evil mooses thing.  I think that we all need to keep making the anti-mooses screechy noise until after race time, so if you would, start screeching now.

Until then, I wanted to show you some more of the wonderful fan support for the Musher and the Pretty Curly Tails!

Here is Lynda Brown and her gang of pups armchair musher for North Wapiti!

You're looking very stylish and matching there Lynda!  Thank you for your support!

Here is poor Rosa, who thought that when the hat and mittens came out, they were going to the dog park

Go Team North Wapiti!!!!!

Mary, Greg and the Halvorson Huskies

And here is a very special shout out to the North Wapiti team from the always splendid and fashionable MRS. RICHARD!!!!

Remember, if you have a picture to show your support of the Pretty Curly Tails (even if you want to send a picture of a sign, or other Pretty Curly Tail gear or support) send them to the Musher Minion and we'll post it for you!  Right now the Musher and pups could use some cheering up!

Of course I hope to be blogging a bit more during the week, but my plan went awry when Cricket waiting for Musher Mark to leave the house and managed to shove the baa baa sheepie thing herdy bunnies back into the house.  They appear to be getting more aggressive

Those herdy bunnies have GOT TO GO!

- Bet