Monday, August 25, 2008

Shelter Dogs, Shady Acres & Training
Meet Willie, our new addition from the local animal shelter

" Shady Acres"

Inside "Shady Acres"

Ana with Star & Tefa (right) after our first training run

George (left) & Gibson

Lilly (left) & Dana

The 2nd team we ran Sunday morning, Eddie (left) and Jersey in swing
Well, summer is almost over and we have been extremely busy, as usual! First of all, we have a new addition to the house/kennel. His name is Willie, he is a Border Collie/Husky. When I went to get my kennel license renewed in the spring, the ladies at animal control showed me this dog that was put in the shelter for killing 30 chickens! Some people found this dog wandering around and for some reason they decided to put him in their chicken coop and then decide what to do with the dog. Well, Willie had a great time in there, killed all the chickens and ended up at animal control. Huskies and Border Collies are very hard to home so they wanted me to take a look. He was very sweet and good with Ana and I said I'd think about it and walked out of animal control not wanting another dog. So, over the summer, my good friend Sherry Sutherby (knowing we love Border Collies/huskies) kept emailing me the picture of this dog I had seen in the spring that was on Pet Finder. Two weeks ago, she emailed me his picture again and I told Larry. I had mentioned this dog earlier in the summer, but we definetly don't need any more dogs, so I said we shouldn't get him. So, I told Larry that that dog was STILL at animal control and was very unhappy and over the past few weeks, seemed very sad. So, Larry decided to go and take a look at him. I told him to call me BEFORE he made any decisions. Well, I called his cell phone and asked him how it went. He said "Good, I'm on my way home". I asked where the dog was, he said "in my truck"!!! So, we decided to try him out for a couple of weeks to see if he'd fit here. We don't have chickens or any small animals, so that is good!! Well, it turns out we are going to adopt him. He is very sweet, a bit shy, but good with kids and our other dogs. He is great in the house and well mannered. We weren't planning on getting another house dog so soon after losing our other Border Collie, "Bailey" last October to Cancer, but he really need a home. Also, he needed a home with people who are framilar with those breeds. They have some quirks and are not for everyone. So, we named him "Willie" and looks like he is here to stay.
I made Larry promise to build my huge pen I've been asking for though, since he got to keep Willie. It took almost 200' of fence, 4 bee stings from yellow jackets, killing bee nests and lots of hard work, but we finally have "Shady Acres". It is a fenced area for our house dogs and retired sled dogs so they can run and play with each other. I hate seeing retired sled dogs without anything to do, they like to be busy, so now they can play with our house dogs in Shady Acres. I do have to say they LOVE it!! So, thanks Larry!!
Our fall training usually starts August 20th, but it was way too warm. Our first training run was early Sunday morning, the 24th. They dogs were CRAZY to go!! It was so much fun and good to be back running dogs. We trained two 12 dog teams and went 3 miles. We had 2 retirees, 16 race age dogs, and 6 yearlings. Our yearlings were super! They are a repeat breeding that we are very excited about. Looks like we will be able to have another training run tonight and might have to wait till the weekend to run again, the temps are on the rise again.
This weekend we are going up to the U.P. near McMillan to my dad's cabin to run dogs for the weekend. He calls it "Bear Camp". It is AWESOME and there are miles of trails. It is right down the road from the Steilstra's kennel. I could live there. It is a great place and so relaxing right on the Tahquamenon River. Ana is very excited and asks me every day if it is Labor Day Weekend yet. We plan to take her to Oswald's Bear Ranch and to visit the Shaw's and the Holmberg's while we are up there. I can't wait to get away for a few days!! Have a great Labor Day Weekend everyone!!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Perfect Summer Ana getting a kiss from Windows, my retired SUPER leader

Koyuk giving Ana some love (another retired leader)

Larry & pups on our puppy run

Larry's new invention, introducing the "Musher Tote"

Pumkins are blooming!!!

Clouds after a storm
This has been a perfect summer and I can't believe we are already at the tail end of it. The temps have been awesome!! No 90's here, at all for an entire summer. That has to be some kind of record. While some people have been complaining about a lack of summer, we are LOVING it!! It has been consistantly in the upper 70's with lots of sun.
Now we are hoping for it to quickly become cooler, because in 2 short weeks, we beging fall training with the dogs. I cannot wait to see what my team will do this season!! Our summer projects are pretty much done and now we are concentrating on getting the dog equipment ready. We will be training two 12 dog teams, then when Windows & koyuk cannot keep up with the younger, faster dogs, they will be dropped from training and live our their retirement in the house. Koyuk will love it, but it will probably take some adjustment from Windows. She is the queen of the kennel and still has the drive to train and she still thinks she is young enough to race. She goes crazy when she is left behind.
I recently signed up for my two biggest races of the 2009 season. Our races for next season will be: Tahquamenon, two 8 dog teams 43 miles, the Beargrease 150 (this will be my rookie year) one 8 dog team, the Midnight Run one 8 dog team 91 miles and then we will close the season with a close, fun shorter race so Larry can run the main team. It should be a great year. We have a lot of young talented dogs coming up that we are looking forward to running. I am hoping to place in the top 10 in every race this year.
Larry has been quite busy this summer. He and Ana planted some pumpkins and they are now starting to bloom. We've never grown anything before, so it is fun to see how these plants keep changing. They check them every day. Larry also built us his new "musher tote" so all 3 of us can comfortably run dogs together. I drive, Ana sits behind me and has a saftey bar to hold her in, plus we are putting a seat belt around her so she can't fly off. Then, larry gets pulled behind on his "musher tote". It is like riding a sled. I am still a bit skeptical and think on the first big turn with a huge string of dogs, he'll go flyin in the woods, but we haven't lost him yet on any of the puppy runs. So, we will see. It must be quite funny for our neibors to see us cruisin down the road on this contraption. We look more like Redneck Racing, than Coyote Run Kennel. Oh well, it sure is fun!!