Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Anything is Possible

Greetings to All,

For some strange reason we've been receiving numerous inquiries of late about our Governor up here in Alaska-Sarah Palin. Back in 'o4 when she was the mayor of Wasilla she actually sent me a card congratulating us on our rookie success in the Iditarod race. Lately it has been quite an exciting time up here in the north watching all of the political drama down south. Personally, when I heard the news my first thought was, " She can't leave, she just started and there's still alot to be fixed in Alaska." The republican party could definately use her help but the Greatland will always be her home. Hopefully she's enlightened enough to send her family back up here for their own safety from the media mania- poor kids don't deserve to be stuck in this awkward situation.

Life has been gorgeous around here lately, typically cold in the morning-high 30's then a bit warmer in the day with constant winds. Great dog weather. Still running 10 milers, with two different teams each day. Our friend Sebastian sold us his 'Schnuelle-mobile', a Honda acty, which we've been using to train the pooches with. This vehicle gets 50 miles to the gallon, is a bit larger than your average 4-wheeler with a bed that can hold about 30 bags of redpaw dogfood. On our runs we carry a five gallon bucket of water that the dogs recieve out on the trail. Not only is it far easier to control the team now but the extra space affords us the luxury of pulling dogs that might be a bit pooped out from the team for a 'quick breather' while letting them rest once our longer runs begin soon.

As many of you know last year was one of the most difficult of my life. Seeing one's family member suffer each day is quite disheartening yet something we must all face in our lives at one time or another. The dogs and Tamra are what give me the strength to carry on down this trail we are all so lucky to enjoy up here in the northland. Around here Heaven isn't just above us but all around us if we're willing to open our eyes and enjoy it. Numerous hours are spent each day, not only caring for,cleaning and feeding our beloved pooches but just as imprtantly-- bonding with them. After all, Laughing Eyes Kennel is more than just a team- it's a community. Folks are always asking why they hardly ever see us out around town. Why leave home when that's where the heart is? We're just lucky enough to have a few hundred miles of trail to play on around here.

As this new school season gets underway we will be offering weekly blogs for all those kids that we've visited to enjoy and learn from. Along with describing our daily rituals around the lake and encounters on the trail we will also be featuring exposes on 2 pooches per article. This episode's famous furballs are veteran males: Mr. Marcellus and Oscar the cow dog. Marcellus was one of the 1st huskies I ever had- I was given him as a pup from Curtis Erhart back in '95. He'll soon be 13 years of age and though he does'nt compete in races anymore everyone around the yard knows whose still King. Along with his girlfiend June-Mari and the rest of their cohorts, Marcellus introduced me to Alaska's interior region, the YukonQuest and Iditarod races as well. Now this aging gang of furballs patrols the younger pooches keeping them all in line and happy. Most of our younger dogs love to come in the house and play with their human providers yet Marcellus is still independent to the core. While Junie is probably sneaking into some other dog's house and Shyela is out and about stealing bones, my main man, who is named after Cassius Marcellus Clay, can always be found in the same spot, night after night. No, he's not up in bed with Annie and Sophie stealing all of our blankets. He's an outdoors type of fella, sleeping right in the middle of the yard keeping an eye on things. He might not be the fastest pooch anymore, or the strongest but having shared thousands of miles each year with him for over a decade Mr. Marcellus will always be the center of attention in our hearts.

The other Dawg on this week's docket is Oscar the mad cow dog. Now the 'big O' really isn't much of a fighter but his level of enthusiasm to continue moving on the trail is unreal. It could be the beginning of the Iditarod or 700 miles on down the trail in Unalakleet this ferocious furball will still be banging away on his tugline, itching to continue on, "What's the holdup boss?" In training we have to be careful which team we put him in so that he doesn't tire out the rest of the dogs. I knew he was going to be something special when we were given him by Francis Roberts, an Athabascan Indian from the village of Tanana. At the time I thought we'd have to carry him in the sled back to the truck in Manley Hot Springs- some 70 miles away. After all the most he had run that winter was around 5 miles. After a 6-7 hour run this precocious yearling was still in harness- amazing energy. Cow dog? One would have to meet him in person to know why- white with black spots, he's about the size of Marmaduke. When he places his paws on your shoulder to give you a lick on the face one realizes that the tables have been turned. For it is you, the human who is now looking UP at man's best friend! Enjoy the view, Hugh http://www.laughingeyeskennel.com/ p.s.: Just a reminder that I will be in the chicagoland area briefly in late october for a friend's wedding. We will be offering a few school presentations if you know of anyone who might be interested.


At 9:36 AM , Blogger barbarawoodland said...

Hey Guy's,

Glad to hear all is good. We, here in Ottawa, will not feel fall for another month or so. Hunting season will begin soon and that is always fun . Well, talk to you soon.


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