Thursday, January 28, 2016

Inukshuk Dogfood

In case you were wondering what slightly more than one metric tonne of dog food looked like, here it is. Takes a while to move bags individually from the pallet at the end of the drive (freight trailers can't make it up our drive) onto our trailer and then from the trailer to the "sled shed." But it's well worth it cause this food's good. Or at least that's what I'm told. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

"You're Disgusting!"

Today I had a new and unpleasant experience running dogs.  And it had nothing to do with the actual  running of dogs.  They were excellent.  It was our long run day and we went about 10 miles with the ATV.  As always, would have preferred running the sled but the day was packed with my 5 year old's basketball game and other two-legged family necessities leaving no time to drive to the snow.  Unfortunately, our valley is in the slow snow melt process where it's icy, wet, and muddy in patches which makes for a messy run.

We have to run mostly on back rounds around our house and we are very mindful and cautious of cars. With only about 2 miles to go until home, we climbed a big hill to get back onto the canal road and I decided to let the dogs rest and roll in the snow as they like to do. Suddenly a truck came driving up the road by yelling something out the window.  In All experiences I've had, it's usually questions or friendly comments but this was far from it.

After listening a little closer I heard "You're disgusting! You should be ashamed of yourself!!!"

Rather infuriated I asked, "Why am I disgusting?!"

"Just look at your dogs.  You're horrible. You're disgusting, you should be ashamed!"

I look back at my very healthy dogs, wagging their tails, taking a break, rolling and relaxing but admittedly very muddy (heck, they're rolling around in snow-mud).

I repeat, with much more anger in my voice "Why should I be ashamed?! How am I disgusting?!?!" (Unbelievably without extra words added...)

It is followed by more of the same from the woman. I decide she's crazy and has NO clue what the situation is nor any clue about working breeds and ignore her as they continue up the road yelling at me from their truck.

I was so angry! In my 7 years of mushing, I've not had an experience like that before and I wish to not have to deal with people like that again but knowing people's lack of knowledge of and experience with sled dogs, it probably won't be the last.

My dogs are very happy, healthy Siberian huskies doing what they were bred to do.  I do not ask my dogs to do anything I wouldn't do (within reasonable bounds of each species...i.e. I don't have them pull in temperatures above 45-50degF yet understand they can handle colder temperatures than I.  I have no qualms taking them out for a run in a mud bath as I, a runner myself, would do the same!) I listen to my dogs and constantly am reassessing what they each can handle for that day in that moment.

I know I take good care of my family and they enjoy what they do.  The pictures below are a perfect example of that and this is a perfect example of why I should and shall continue educating people about the breed and the sport.

My leaders, Jig and Whip, having some fun in the snow!

Goof balls!

Flier, a usually light grey and white dog was pretty muddy but still having a good time!

Tank is a mudder.  His mother was a mudder, his father was a mudder! Buzz and Buck, in wheel.

Rolling and relaxin'

Running again! Racing some neighborhood horses!

The horses were pretty stoked about the dog team!

Love your puppas!!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

What a Weekend!

This weekend was our club's annual (9th) sled dog race, the Darby Dog Derby. I did not race this year as I was the race Marshall.

It sure was another great year with more excitement than the race officials would have preferred but all issues (loose teams) turned out as best they could. On Saturday after the pee wee race (which Isis and Tank did great in!  pulling little kiddos up the trail for their first rides, Nicki and I took my 8-dog team out on the course.  We did the 10 mile Sunshine run loop. When we got to our snow fencing blocking Sunshine run (because it isn't a part of our course), we tried to get around with the team...almost made it. But Buzz and Buck in wheel got caught up a bit and our attempts to get the sleds around them turned disastrous.  All our efforts to be lazy didn't pay off and it ended up being more work than if we had just taken down the snow fencing then put it back up. A little further down the windy, fast trail we came upon a sharp corner.  I usually run this section single sled, so I don't have problems with turns I just swing the sled out around. When I attempted this, I quickly realized the rope leading back to Nicki's sled (since we were running tandem sleds) prevented me from swinging wide.  I grazed a tree which caused me to pop up on one runner.  Just as I was about the right the sled, the sleds abruptly stopped (Nicki's sled had a head on with the tree...luckily without much damage: just a crack in the brush bow) and I was flung up to my wheel dogs (turned into a pretty sweet barrel roll).  I had just been asked before heading out for the run, why I wear a helmet.  That perfectly reinforced in my mind why I wear a helmet. The dogs did wonderfully on the run and it was without incident the rest of the way.

Also last week Toby came and ran the team with the ATV with me from the home. She took some great photos of prepping the team as well:

"Let's GO!"

Situating harnesses

Whip getting her Head-Lites collar

Buck getting his harness


Whip in lead

Kisses from Tank

It's tough work hooking some of these excited dogs to the their tugs

Buzz getting his few jumps in before connecting his neckline.  I think it's like his routine, like a basketball player at the free-throw line spinning the ball, he jumps twice before I hook him in.

Hooking up Buzz next to Buck

Getting the last dog, Jig the other leader

Coming back to the ATV to take off

Last night Rohn and I ran the team with the ATV. Tank and Jig ran lead, until Tank became too distracted and Jig got a shot at single lead. She did okay but needs to gain more confidence in herself.

Jig and Tank


Flier then Isis and Tensaw

Isis and Tensaw, Buck and Buzz

Rohn headed back to the ATV.

Rohn helping drive the ATV

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Tank's Birthday Party

Monday morning I told Rohn it was Tank's birthday.
"Are we invited to the party?"-Rohn
"You know I mean Tank, the dog, right?"-Me
"Yea, are we invited to the party?"-Rohn
"I guess we could throw him a party."-Me
"Let's have cake!"-Rohn

So that's what we did, we made a cake that supposedly humans and dogs could eat.

Tank invited his best friend, Isis, to the party. We sang him "Happy Birthday" and we ate cake.....

...or we tried to eat cake. Unfortunately, by making it edible for both dogs and people it was not enticing to either. The boys didn't like it and Tank didnt finish his but the rest of the dogs ate theirs.

The boys did have a blast and screamed "this is the best day ever!" So I deem it a successful birthday party.

Monday, January 11, 2016

One Of Those Days

Yesterday was one of those days. One of those days where I say "This Is Why We Do This!" I'm not gonna lie, being a musher is really hard sometimes. Taking care of a team of dogs is a 24/7, year round commitment. When it's pouring rain, you go out and feed and pick up poop and socialize with the dogs. If you ever go on a trip (which isn't long and isn't very often), part of your heart breaks driving away and you're always thinking of the team. There are days you just want to be lazy on the couch but your team wants and needs to run, so you do it. So yes, it's a commitment and it takes work. But I also just love it an yesterday was just one of many days that get me through the tough ones. 

The trail was absolutely gorgeous! The dogs were fast and powerful. My leaders were spot on. We had so much fun! We had three successful, free-running dog passes (something we've struggled with over the last year)! My leaders, Jig and Whip, are clearly learning their commands. And we went fast (for us!). 9.8 miles in 50 minutes. Boy it was fun!

Love your puppas!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


There was no mistaking my leaders tonight! We got our new Head-Lites collars last weekend and today was our first night run with them! They are super bright and fit and sit nicely on the dogs. They didn't seem to notice them at all. But I noticed them! They are snazzy!

Flier modeling his collar!

Whip and Jig after returning home from our run!

Picture of the leaders (no headlamp light). 

Video of everyone getting loves after the run! 

Love your puppas!

Sunday, January 3, 2016


We had a few close calls on Saturday's run. These could have been big bummers had they turned out differently. I took the fast 6 (Jig, Whip, Tank, Flier, Buck, and Buzz) to Skalakho for a late evening run. 

A couple of skiers chatted me up before heading out and waited to watch our very messy departure. I removed the leader hook, after getting all the dogs hooked up, and walked back to the sled. In the few moments it took to put the hook in the bag, Jig had backed out of her harness. I looked up to see and empty harness in the snow next to Whip and a furry husky butt running full tilt down the trail. 

I quickly clipped the lose tug to Whip and took off after Jig. Luckily, she realized she was alone and wanted her team and turned around for us after a few hundred meters. Crisis avert! Thanks Jig!

3 miles out, we turned around. After getting a few tangles out, I popped the hook and then promptly lost my balance tipping the sled. I stuck to the mushers #1 rule "Never let go" and was drug a ways before getting the snow hook dug into the snow! 

Again, thankful things turned out well. Got the sled upright and we headed back to the truck, everyone safe and sound. 

Sunday, Keegan and I ran all 8 dogs six miles. (We also gave a new Bitterroot mushers club member, Hilary her first ride for the first mile). 

Keegan spent a few miles on the runners! He did great! We had tons of fun! Sorry, no pictures, unfortunately, forgot my phone. 

At the very end of the run we came upon a fellow mushers team (the club had gotten together to run) in a head on pass. And the team passed amazingly!!! It was a great end to a beautiful weekend of mushing!

Puppas got a lot of good running in this weekend!

Love your puppas!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year

Took my friend, Toby (the awesome dogsitter mentioned in the last post) on her first dog sled run today! 

The team took off like there was a herd of bunnies ahead. They were screaming down the trail, so we're we, wahoo!

The Nez Perce trail was a beautiful snowscape!

Having fun running sleds in tandem!

At the turnaround. Toby taking a picture of me...

...while I was getting a picture of her. All the while my leaders were snow swimming. 

Headed back to the sled. Look at those brilliant bright (and mismatching) colors!

Thanks for the fun, Toby and dogs! 

Love your puppas!