Sunday, November 14, 2010

We are Family

"Peace is Flowing like a river...

"Been a ruff year up here in the mtns. so far this training season but what else is new? One of the numerous hidden gems of the wilderness is that everyday is a an enigma. Mother Nature has been in a mellow mood in these parts but it's just a matter of time before her windy wrath wreaks havoc, typically flowing in from the westerly shores of Skagway and beyond. As much as the pooches' personalities intrigue me on our training runs I am continually mesmerized as our merry band of furry pranksters rambles around the hood 'letting loose' for a few hours each day. Over the years I've realized that endurance really isn't what we're trying to create- it's an 'attitude'. At our kennel we don't see these animals as 'working beasts of nature'. Yes, they are wild yet with a playful attitude. "You kids ready to run? It's time to have some fun..."

Every season brings ?'s- one can either stress out about the most minuscule details or they can lighten up and love the dawning of each and every day. Annie's Army (8) and the A-team (6) are each looking quite solid so far on our runs. Of these 2 litters, every pooch has a chance of participating in numerous races this year. Obviously experience plays a major role in which event they shall be a part of. As 2 year olds Amigo, George, Geronimo, Jester, Juanita and Jewel competed in races ranging from the Quest to the Kobuk 440. Three of these lil' poopers competed in all 3 of them, YQ, 440, and Iditarod. One of the finest dogmen I know, Paul Gebhardt motivated me to race younger dogs a few years ago. really can't recollect what he told me but it sure does make sense now! The A-team will be our 2 year old 'wannabees' for this upcoming season- this litter of six has their momma Annie's tenacious nature combined with papa Amos's squirrely yet speedy ways. We recently had a few of these pups neutered not only for breeding reasons but to control their weight better too. Some might think this diminishes their energy but I can assure you they are as lively as ever. "Alfie leave your brother alone!"

The warmer temps. this year have limited our training runs which might actually be a blessing in disguise. For the most part we travelled through the 'Gauntlet" for our early season adventures. This short ten mile run is filled with numerous obstacles to whet the Dawgs' appetite for excitement. Over the hills and through the streams we shall flow, for a life of exploration continually keeps us on the go. That was then this is now... Each day for the last few weeks I've been running 1 or 2 16-dog teams on 25 mile runs alongside the Wheaton river, yeah sometimes life might feel a bit monotonous thankfully the surrounding environs are quite majestic to behold. The trail from our kennel rises ever so gently a few thousand feet, what I enjoy most about this training is the consistent cadence the smooth terrain offers, the pooches become stronger as a unit than as individual stars. Being on the 4-wheeler more often this year can get old yet one can never let boredom get in the way of having a good time!

Now that Annie lake is frozen we are also running 8 dog squads around the lake just to keep our 'musher's sanity'. Hauling firewood is a great excuse to go for a quick 40 minute walkabout. Habits determine much of who you are whether we be human or furry- or both. Nurturing each dawg's attitude is as important as how far they travel, at what speed, etc. This year by having the pooches in pens according to litter we have also been impressed by how they teach one another. Instead of being covered in sweat before a dog run I'm refreshed and ready to roll. "It's time to fly kids." In the past each dog would drag us thru the dogyard's melee of swirling madness as their fellow compadres begged to play as well. Now, we simply open the gate to the pen as a mad crush of colorful critters rushes up to the gangline. I'm always mindful of where Geronimo, one of our main boyzz is- he's a 'head butter' whose snout could easily knock you out. His favorite past time is hurling himself at your head. Some might yell at him for his excessive energy- my reply? "Good boy ya goofball!" I don't train to make these amazing creatures my submissive servants, these are my buddies, furry friends forever.

So which dogs am I proudest of in our kennel? They are all wonderful in their unique ways yet some our standouts- our canine elders. June-Mari, Uncus, Oscar, Maestro and a host of others have already been around the block up here. Some of these old timers have done over 30,000 trail miles throughout the years. Nowadays they take folks for rides around the lake. Watching them now in their golden years there's not a day that goes by that they still don't impress me with their wily ways. "Who's been in the food bin?"
"Mahoosic did you steal the butter off the counter again?" A famous musher once told me that keeping older dogs around would be an anchor holding us down financially. That might be true but our lives have been enhanced just by having these wonderful critters around whether they be racing or not- after all we are not just a kennel, we are a canine community. A few years back while racing in the village of Minto I overheard another famous musher's conversation. They were giggling at the dogs expense, " When I look for a good dog I want him to be dumb because no smart dog is going to want to run 1,000 miles." We all have our individual views of this world but I'll take an independent smart pooch any day of the week- and ours race some 3,500 miles each season. They are smart enough to remember that this life is a treasure, never shall we squander away the opportunity to enjoy yet another day.

'Have Faith in YOU and all that you do...' HHN


At 1:08 PM , Blogger Mushing Kodi said...

Great blog!

This part really stood out to me:

"I don't train to make these amazing creatures my submissive servants, these are my buddies, furry friends forever."

Great to see that your dogs are as much your pets and not just there for racing. :)


At 2:09 PM , Blogger Ute said...

So right! Can there be higher pleasure than being fooled by wily little monsters and not being able to help joining their laughter - even if they laugh about you? For you know that loyality and friendship have nothing to do with obedience and submission.

Who can enjoy living with creatures whose personalities have been broken?

Just don't try to explain this to the ordinary dog-owner who takes his animal for a house-elf? Why not call one of your next pups "Dobby" to emphasize this?


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