Dogs and ponies

Hunter

Hey, I am Hunter. I am working here. This is my first winter in Wyoming. I live in Montana. We came to Wyoming in December to work as sled dogs. I think there were six of us. This is a big kennel. I have counted 160 dogs so far. My Montana friends ended up with the other mushers in the yard. My guy is ok, actually, he is pretty nice.

I didn’t like the food first. In Montana we all eat raw meat, none of this kibbles soup. So the first weeks, I think I gave my guy a little headache, because I was picking out the meat from my meals and left the kibbles untouched. For some reason I did not loose any weight. You may have already guessed it: I am a girl.

They also serve food here in metal cans, which I am not used to. I have learned to clean my can by now. I even start to like these juicy kibbles.

I am also young, just 3 years old, so I am still a bit playful. I believe my musher tries to teach me a lesson here and there. First he puts me in lead with this serious gentlemen, Clumber, who is all about business. Whenever I find something interesting on the trail, he just keeps pulling me along. Am I not allowed to stop and investigate? We also don’t stop for #1 or #2, even marking is not allowed while we are pulling a sled. So, whenever I run with Clumber, I am a good girl, because I have no choice. He is so strong! I believe, he is my musher’s favorite dog, although he maintains he loves us all.

I also think my musher doesn’t like it when I chew my harnesses. I am just excited and want to run. So when we are parked nobody pays attention to me. I can yap, I can howl, I can jump, nothing. So, then I chew. That gets his attention, although he doesn’t sound thrilled. So far I have chewed 2 harnesses. The first one, I destroyed completely. It looked like goulash, when I was done with it. I ran home with a spare harness. That was funny.

The second time I just chewed off the strategic tail piece of my new harness. Again, major annoyance. Now, he takes me off the line right away and I am home first, good deal. I also do necklines. They are so easy (smile) ! 2 seconds and they are gone. Come on, give me a break. I am just an innocent, young girl. Wink!

XOX Hunter

Standard
Dogs and ponies

Cabernet

Hello. My name is Cabernet. I am a big dog! I mean BIG! I am wearing an XL harness, the only XL harness in my yard and I could drag my musher down the strip, if I weren’t such a nice boy.

I live next to Palenque, a nice lady, who is flirting with me all the time, well, who isn’t? My trail buddy is Spongebob. We get along alright. No reason to fight. We are wheel dogs, meaning we are the engine of the whole shebang. Our musher puts us usually on the second sled. With our other four buddies we pull 2 adults for 20 miles every day, no sweat.

I am not the youngest any more, so my eyesight is slowly fading, but I am not complaining. I do love to run in the morning, I have a good appetite and I am in pretty good shape for my age. True, those young folks like to run a bit too fast for my taste. I am more an endurance kind of guy. I could go at my pace all day.

I guess you figured out by now that I am a mellow guy. Don’t get me wrong, I am getting excited about work. You’ll see me with all 4 legs in the air, when we are stopped for too long. The other day we had this photographer Benjamin visiting us. He took a cool shot of me and my buddy Spongebob. I think, we look great.

Cabernet & Spongebob - ©2014 Ben Gately Williams, gatelywilliams.com

Cabernet & Spongebob – ©2014 Ben Gately Williams, gatelywilliams.com

That’s me in a nutshell.

Did I mention I ran the Iditarod in 2007? Quite a trip. We burned up the sled on the way… That’s a whole different story.

See you on the trail, Cabernet

Standard
One Man's Paradise

Race fever

The International Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog Race is about to start.  On Friday, January 30, more than 20 teams from all over the world start in Jackson, Wyoming, a 9 nine day race. The teams will cover 40-50 miles each day.  The Stage Stop showcases the beauty of sled dog racing and aims to make sled dog racing more accessible to the public. In addition, it is a goal of the race to spread the word about the need for childhood immunizations and each year the race makes a contribution to communities on the race route for childhood immunizations.

race2

Standard
Dogs and ponies

Johnny Cash

„Hello, I’m Johnny Cash“

Johnny-Cash

I hear there was a two-legged fellow with the same name? Well, I am the original Johnny Cash of Granite Creek. I wear black and I love the ladies, oh yeah!

In the morning I am the first one to alert my fellow sled dogs that the guy with the food bucket is coming. I believe, I am the first one to be served because of that. Nothing wrong with a little attention grabbing.

At 10 o’clock I usually go to work. My favorite running mate is Chichen Itza, she is hot! She just had a baby, Archimedes, so she is not really interested in my advances, but I am a patient dog…

Itza-and-Johnny-Cash

We run together with four other buddies of mine, following our musher to the hot spring every day. I just ignore the dudes on my sled yelling „Mush, mush“. What does that mean? I am pulling as hard as I can, so are my buddies. Had a little trouble with my tender feet lately. Too much ice on the trail. We need some snow, man!

I am not much of a „camper“. When they stop for lunch, I can’t lay down. Just can’t help it. I like the snack we get at our break, but I really love my dinner at home. When it comes to food, I am not picky. You should see my food bowl. It’s spanking clean. I like it all, the kibbles, the meat, you name it. My musher gives me sometimes seconds, because he thinks I am a bit skinny. I just want to look good for the ladies!

Well, time for me to curl up in my little dog house. Time to sleep (and dream something sweet). Gotta be rested for work tomorrow.

Good night and God bless.

Johnny

JCash

Standard
Dogs and ponies

Princess

Hello!

I am Princess and I am beautiful.

Need I say more? It goes with the territory that I do not get along with the other girls in my yard and I get a lot of attention from the boys, as you can imagine, especially Johnny Cash, who you have not met, yet. I think he is handsome, but he is such a player. Classic is good looking, too, such a boy, though.

Some say I am infatuated with my musher, but I wouldn’t go that far. I think Aphrodite, Palenque, and Hunter adore him as much as I do… Girls!

I take good care of my fur, which is kind of short for this cold weather we are having right now, but I can’t stand these fleece coats they try to put on me, when it’s chilly outside. I think the colors and the style are hideous, so I rip those coats to shreds in no time. Luckily they have given up on covering me up with these despicable outfits.

My complexion is quite fair, so I have to be careful with that winter sun. My nose burns easily and they apply some cream to it once in a while. If they just could find some unscented cream. I have a sensitive nose, so I lick this smelly stuff off. I know, I shouldn’t…

I like to run almost every day, 10k or 20k, I don’t mind. It’s nice to be on the trail. We have a fast team. I like that. I can easily keep up with the boys.

I am in good shape, I watch my weight. Those chicken skins are my only vice. Otherwise, I am perfect.

Sincerley, Princess

Uhh, almost forgot: I had my nails done the other day by Elise, as you can see. That was fun. I really like to be taken care of. Love.

Standard
One Man's Paradise

Becoming a musher

© 2015 Pascal Joubert

© 2015 Pascal Joubert

I have now 2 months and 400 miles of dog sledding under my non-existing belt. Does that make me a musher? I don’t think so.

Every day is a new day with challenges and surprises. My main lead dog Clumber has been loosing weight and I needed to give him a break to see what’s bothering him. That meant other dogs had to fill in the key position as lead. None of my other dogs have the same leader qualities and attitude as Clumber, unfortunately.

I realized there are two qualities that make a great leader. First, never turn the team around. A wandering or turning lead dog can cause tangled gang lines resulting in injury, dog fights and a confused and insecure team. Today I had to deal with this issues several times and it was not easy to overcome. At one point I was sitting in a pile of tangled dogs, in the midst of one tail-biting snapper, and a bunch of scared pups. Not a pretty sight. In the end we made it and everybody had a good day, realizing that dogs and mushers are not machines but living creatures.

The second quality in a lead dog like Clumber that I appreciate very much is his confidence and trust in me. This trust goes both ways. When I say „Gee“ or „Haw“ he reacts to that command immediately. He will turn, even there is no trail. He will turn, even we have gone 99 times straight before. I hope Clumber is back leading my team, soon.

Running 20 miles every day for 21 days, a few nights with temperatures below -30F has changed the attitude and motivation of some dogs. I am beginning to „see“ their daily mood when I enter the yard with the harnesses. Most dogs are still happy to see me, a few of them prefer to stay inside their houses until I convince them to come out and run with me.

Learning the broad strokes of running a healthy, motivated dog team was easy. Dealing with fatigue, injury, and motivation is a bit more challenging, but hey, that’s what I signed up for.

Gee, haw, never let go.

Standard
Dogs and ponies

Clumber

Clumber

Hello, my name is Clumber. As you can see I am not a Clumber Spaniel, no, I am true Alaskan Husky. I got my name from Jeff (Jeff King that is, who won the Iditarod four times). My mom’s name is Spaniel, so I guess Jeff thought it was a cute idea to name me Clumber. Clumber, Spaniel – get it?

You should see me lead. I love doing that! I could do that all winter. I am pulling like a wheel dog, and I don’t stop until my musher asks me to.

Most of the time I am running lead with my son Classic. He is still learning, but I show him the ropes. I also love to run with good looking girls, like Aphrodite or Hunter. Boys? Not so much, especially this Knox guy. I always give him the evil eye and a good bark and when he waltzes by my house.

What’s up with the food lately? They give me this chicken skin stuff. I can’t stand it! It’s cold outside they say and I should eat more. Hey, I have done this for 10 years, just give me my kibbles and beef and I’ll be fine.

Oh, and if you could fix my house when you get to it, that would be great. There are a couple holes that need to get patched up. Don’t even think about fixing it with those flimsy trail markers. I’ll have those for breakfast.

Let’s go already!

Standard