Sunday, October 28, 2007

Our Tribute To Bailey
"Our faithful Buddy"

We got Bailey 11 years ago from the Allegan county "Hilltop Rescue" when we were going to college in Kalamazoo. He was all wet and sitting in the back of a pen filled with other dogs, looking pathetic. He was the one Larry wanted, so we took him home with us. Right from the start, he was a dog that NEVER left our sides for anything. He got into trouble a lot that first year as a pup (he was 4 months old when we got him). One time we came home to our blinds in our apartment ripped down, our Christmas tree knocked over, and Bailey sittin on the couch waiting for us. We thought we had been broken into, but Bailey had broken OUT of his kennel and destroyed our house! I was not very fond of him at first, but we quickly grew attached after he got over his puppy antics and became the BEST dog we had EVER had. He was pretty spoiled, slept on the bed with us and went with us everywhere, especially since we couldn't leave him in a kennel, he was the ultimate escape artist! Even after we got into sled dogs, he was still the only one that got to be in the house. He had kind of a snobby attitude with the sled dogs and would only associate with the females at certain times! He seemed to know he didn't belong outside with "working dogs". He was the king of the kennel and all the other dogs knew it. We never had to tie him up or keep him confined, he always stayed around the house and never caused any problems and lived a carefree, healthy life up until 8 months ago. We found a bump on his front leg and took him to the vet only to find out the worst news. He had Osteocarcoma and would only have a few months to live. We made him as comfortable as possible for the remainder of his life. He was on a pain pill every day and slept on his pillow. The last month he really started to go downhill and his tumor grew to the size of about two softballs. He exceeded his expected lifespan of 4 months and lived 8. On Thursday the 25th, we said our final good byes to him. Larry took him in and Dr. Greve made it very peaceful for Bailey. We are grateful for the 11 years we had the privledge of knowing him. There will never be another dog like Bailey.
Good Bye old friend.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Shaw's Training WeekendThis is our trailer, finally finished. It has 26 individual dog boxes, but we can double box and haul as many as 52 dogs if we had to. Thankfully, we don't have that many!
This is Saturday at Shaw's. We kept the yearlings tied out all day. It was such good training for them just being there around all the other teams. They actually got used to all the comotion pretty quick and even relaxed some.

Memphis (left) and Peavey. Memphis DOES sit still, it is a miracle!

Tefa & Star (black dog) in lead on Sunday morning. Can you tell they were pumped?

Zoey & Windows leading one of our teams on Saturday morning.

Otter (brown dog) and Star leading the 2nd team on Saturday. Look at that doggie smile!
We had a great weekend at Shaw's. 7 of our 11 yearlings have never even been boxed in the dog trailer, so the experience was awesome for them. They got a TON of passing and head on passing all weekend. Saturday on the 8 mile trail, most of the Odessa yearlings were way out in the weeds with every pass. Eddie, Jersey, Memphis and Boston barely batted an eye at the other teams. What a difference a day makes. Sunday all the yearlings passed well, Tak & Fender were still cautious though, but not like the day before. Otter was the only leader that hesitated on some passes. We ran her with Windows on Sunday and Windows showed her the ropes. She will hopefully take after her mom when Windows retires. We had a great time talkin' dogs with all the mushers up there and eatin great food! Thanks to Bob & Jan for your wonderful hospitality as always.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Projects DONE!!! Ana outside helping with the dogs
Windows & Fender(right). Fender is only a yearling and is doing super in lead!

Gibson (left white dog) and his sister Peavey

Cowgirl (left) and Jersey. Jersey works so hard in the team I swear she is gonna keel over, but she never does. She always finishes with her tail waggin.

The team going fast again. They love this change from the slow hard pulling

Takin a break
Well, we are finally DONE with ALL projects, including and most important, the dog trailer!! It looks beautiful! I will post a picture on the next blog entry. Only thing that sucks is it will only stay nice looking until we use it, the dogs jump all over it, then it is covered in mud- oh well! The only thing we are waiting for is our ATV axle to arrive in the mail. Then, we can have our ATV back, I can't wait, I hope it gets here so we can have it fixed before this weekend. We go up to Bob & Jan Shaw's in Newberry this weekend for training and rabies shots for the dogs. I can't wait, it is so much fun up there and there are always TONS of teams, so all our youngsters will get a bunch of passing practice. Have a great week and weekend!!!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Fast & Fun! This is the team running a bit faster, they LOVE it!
break time

Our training is back on track now that it is colder. We've had a couple of mishaps this week. Our 4wheeler brakes are fixed, but we needed a new right front axle. The guy fixing it said the wheel was about ready to fall off! could you imagine that with a bunch of dogs hooked to it?!! That would not have been too fun. The part was gonna cost $329 around here, but I found it on ebay for $149!! Thank goodness for ebay! So, for the meantime we are using my dad's smaller ATV until we get ours back. I also woke up on Wednesday with a scratched cornea from something in my eye the night before. So, I went to the doctor to get it checked out. When I got out of the office, Ana was waiting with my mom in the waiting room and said at the top of her lungs "Are ya all fixed momma?!!!" It was pretty funny, the things kids say. I can't wear my contact in that eye for a week, so I am pretty much going on my right eye till then. It sucks, but I'm getting used to it. I wore Larry's glasses to feed dogs yesterday morning and almost killed myself stepping into a hole Eddie dug. Glasses have no depth perception, now I know why I don't wear them!
We upped our mileage to 7.2 miles last night and I ran two 11 dog teams. They handled it with ease. I let them go faster, a nice lope for most of the run. They loved it and barked to go at every stop. We still worked hard up hills etc. and both teams finished strong. We will alternate between this 7.2 mile trail and our 8.1 mile trail till after next weekend when we go to Shaw's training session. Otter and Star lead one of the teams last night and just did a super job! Star has finally learned commands and Otter is going to be a super command leader like her mom Windows. She is only 3 so will be leading my team for a few more years. They got every turn on the new trail. I was so proud of them!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Relief 2!!!!!Woohoo!!!!! Finally, the temps are back to normal!!! I could've done cartwheels this morning when I woke up to a temp of 44 degrees, but I am getting old! It has been unbearably hot here since last Friday, in the high 80's and very humid. I can't ever remember an October like this. Our last run with the dogs was Thursday night, they've had 4 days off. Tonight we will finally get to run again!! Our 4wheeler is being fixed, we have some major brake problems that we can't figure out, so I will borrow my dad's and run tonight and hopefully we will have ours back tomarrow. I don't know if I will be used to a 4wheeler that actually has working brakes. So far this season, we've had to run no more than 11 dogs per team and park on a hill when we stop. I will finally be able to run a bigger team tomarrow, so that means training only one team per day, which will be nice not having to be outside till the wee hours of the night running both teams. We have also starting repairing our dog box doors. Nothing like waiting till the last minute, we need it done by next weekend to go to Shaw's. One of these years, it will actually be DONE and we won't have to spend all our time fixing it! We got new latches, hinges, ordering the expanded metal for the doors, and we will repaint it. I will post a picture when we finally finish it. Enjoy all the GREAT cold weather coming our way, I know I will be!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Zoey & her daughter Memphis (below). Don't they look alike?? The only real difference between them is Memphis is a little fluffier than her mom. Zoey is the mother to two litters of pups in our kennel. We have 3 really good yearlings out of her and seven 14 week old pups. Martin (white dog) and his sister Fender (the guitar litter). Fender is doing exceptionally well. Martin is kinda a knucklehead still, a bit distracted at times, but is still doing a good job. He is always running on his partner's side, which I hope he learns NOT to do by sled training. He really turns on the speed when asked.
Gibson (left) and his sister Taylor (more of the guitar litter). They are both doing awesome!! Gibson is running a pretty good lead so far. They both are very hard driving dogs! Gibson never once chased the 4wheeler like his siblings as pups when I free ran them. I had doubts about him, not anymore. He is exceeding all my expectations.

Eddie (brown yearling) and Odessa (mother to the guitar litter). Odessa always does well. Eddie is a super yearling!! So well behaved, works hard and runs lead like a natural. We are so glad we were able to buy him from the Curtice's. We really like him!

Duelly (black dog) and his sister Otter. Their mom is our almost retired super leader Windows. They are hopefully going to take after her. Both are running lead very well this year, focused and confident. Duelly was a knucklehead as a youngster, but had moments of greatness, so we hung onto him. Very glad we did, at races he really turns it on! He gets more and more confident every year. I really hope to have Otter as a main leader this year. She is very smart and is getting good at commands.

We are still running our 5.6 mile trail for the past week. It has been too warm most days to move the mileage up anymore. Last night was our first really cool night since last Fri. The dogs were on fire and really enjoyed the faster bursts of speed here and there during the run. I enjoyed it as well!! Going slow for over a month gets old after awhile. But, the dogs really need to build muscles going slower for awhile before we implement any speed. October is the time to start focusing on a race pace. We start by doing short bursts of speed till they are running their race pace most of the run by the end of the month.
We also have to get going on our dog box repairs before the 3rd weekend of this month when we go to Newberry, to Shaw's training weekend. It is so FUN!! We had to miss it last year since our new dog trailer wasn't done and there is nothing like waiting till the last minute this year to do some repairs on it before we go!! We ordered our new latches and hinges (ones that don't rust) and will begin fixing it this weekend.