Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Dawning of a New Day...

Shhh! Don’t tell Tamra. Each morning, the dog yard once fed and watered, our house morphs into a concert hall. One of the grandest on this planet! Where we live, Annie Lake, is more than just a body of water- it’s a heavenly cathedral surrounded by 5 –7 thousand foot mountain peaks in any direction the viewer so chooses. Add a bit of Bono and ‘The Edge’ to the acoustics and –wala- Welcome to DAWG WORLD.

For yours truly this life is All about the ENERGY. A magical universe, where one’s greatest attributes might just as well be their worst weakness. As a young boy I sought to collect my very own ‘secret potion’ in order to get as much out of this existence on earth as possible. The ‘learning center’ I frequented the most was the local movie theatre in Evanston on Central St., just around the block was my grade school St. Athanasius. Going to movies was a religion. I figured that even if there were only a few useful minutes of film, at least they were something to learn from. Cinema, Books, Music: wherever I could find knowledge that I was interested in was the direction we were heading- North by Northwest.

It was time to create our very own movie, the protagonist? My furry buddy Maverick, over the following decade he would show me another side to the equation--The “University of the Wilderness”. A blonde Shepard/Labrador mix, Mav and I shared the same heart and soul: One Love, One Life. From the Appalachians to the Pacific, Florida to Alaska; our tails were always wagging away in search of the latest curiosity along the trail. As life progressed my love of his canine world multiplied. First with pups: Marcellus, lil’ June-June and Mr. Uncky Baby, the ‘last of the Mohicans’. And so the energy continued to flow as the auroras pranced across the nighttime sky leading us on into the unknown that lay just ahead.

Native Athabascans of the Alaskan interior welcomed the ‘cheechacko’ newcomers into their towns and villages. This was a gift like no other, the opportunity to view the true ‘Heart’ of Alaska’s Greatland. Who is the white man who walks his dog’s with leashes? Doesn’t he know what a sled is for? ( Is he Heyoka?) We shall teach them our ways, but will they listen? Through daily work, perseverance, pain and Love the tale unfolded- the energy increased. But was it for the best? By now there were 30 pooches in our tribe. It was time to see what the rest of the mushing world was all about.

Racing is unnerving. After so many years in the woods alone having other eyes watching you was a bit disconcerting to say the least. The easy part is being on the trail with the pooches. Mother Nature can be a bit demanding at times, especially in this modern age of manmade weather. The Dawgs are my meditative soul mates, my medicine. We use our eyes, ears, nose, tails and tongue to communicate. Choosing more often to sing than talk: there’s nothing like howling away after an enjoyable meal at the end of the day!! Mr. Marcellus and June-Mari, now 11 and 12 years of age, have been my greatest mentors. Though Junie became well known in racing circles, having been my main leader in 9 One-Thousand mile races, her boyfriend has always been the KING. He competed in dozens of events himself but because of his brute strength he was placed closer to the sled in the wheel position. Though Marcellus will always be an amazing “Gee-Haw” leader his greatest asset is his excitement and vitality. “Junie will get us there, don’t worry boy, you two can play later.”

I miss playing with the older pooches during competitive races but they are enjoying the days away giving tourist rides, pouncing on puppies (usually the other way around) or lounging on the sofa watching through the window as the beavers constantly reconstruct their wooden igloo across the lake. Looking into their wizened snouts life flashes back to full moons spent on the Mighty Yukon River, animal encounters, cheating death once again. The day after yesterday is..? And unfortunately they have to put up with a bit of noise from across the sea that I am enjoying listening to once again. No, its not our Buck-toothed friend chomping on a tree. It’s the t.v., today’s dvd features these fellas from Dublin playing a melody or two in some castle far, far away. Here, next to the lake, our daily performance has begun out in the dogyard – a professional pooper scooper dancing around with the pooches as the sunshine shimmers down upon us, pouring out of the mountains to the east. The ENERGY of the moment is captivating.

It’s a Beautiful Day….
Listen up, be careful what you wish for my friends- it just might come true. Fifteen years ago I had a dream, an epiphany – and now I’m… who? We’ve been featured in papers and magazines, on beer cartons, posters, documentaries and even an upcoming Discovery Channel feature. This ‘mushing career’ has had it’s successes and failures. Over time one learns that life allows us to fail if we choose to. Lord knows our kennel’s resume has had its ups and downs. On this trail of life evolution is inevitable, whether one finds the right path is up to them. This past summer has been the longest of my existence. Not only in anticipation of the future but pondering wasted potential as well. Nobody said this would be easy, it’s time to refocus the Vision. We know what direction we seek, now it’s all about “Controlling the Energy”- human and canine. Not in hopes of Victory but PEACE (of mind). We’re at ‘war’ not with others but ourselves-- in hopes of creating a prettier picture for all to enjoy. Viewing events that are happening around this ever changing planet of ours, we know how lucky we are to be surrounded by such unique loving creatures- nothing else compares. We realize that with ENERGY comes responsibility, we also realize that there is no power greater than that of a smile; whether it be on the tip of the Snout or… in one’s own Eyes.

Enjoy the View, Hugh and the Laughing Eyes Kennel Crew

Interested in viewing our unique world? We shall be presenting the “Tails of the North” Tour from Oct. 9th thru the 18th. For more info. on where we’ll be traveling thru in the U.S. e-mail us at There’s nothing we enjoy more than showing others our unique treasures—as well as helping them to find their very own :)


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