Archive for March, 2008

Bad News

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Actually bad news would be putting it mildly. Horrible news is more accurate and it relates to one of our yearling pups Yodel – a big black and white female that absolutely loved being a sled dog (as evident by the look on her face in this picture of her leading Cole from the start chute of the Copper Basin 300).
Several weeks ago Yodel began favoring one of her hind legs, so we immediately gave her time off to rest and recuperate. After several days she didn’t appear to be improving, so we brought her to the veterinarian. He couldn’t determine what was wrong initially and prescribed more rest and some painkillers. This didn’t do the trick either, so when we brought her back in for another examination they decided to take x-rays to determine what the problem was. It turns out our poor Yodel has hip dysplasia — a congenital defect that causes her leg bone not to properly fit into her hip socket. Instead the bones are grinding together and causing her pain.
It can only be treated by one of two surgeries, the cheapest of which will cost $1,000 while the more expensive one will cost $5,000. Needless to say we didn’t see this coming and hadn’t budgeted for it, but since allowing Yodel to live on three legs and in pain for the rest of her life is NOT an option, we will be attempting to come up with the money. ANY AND ALL DONATIONS ARE WELCOME.
The doctors said that neither surgery will allow her to ever be a sled dog again, but they will allow her to live a normal dog life going on walks and moderate hikes and jogs. Unfortunately, Yodel is part of a litter of seven pups, so now we are worried there may be other dogs with this problem, and we just haven’t seen any overt signs yet, so we are in the process of having the whole litter x-rayed. We’ll post the results as we know them.

Free meal

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

Well, this has been a wierd week to say the least. We had a snowhook pull during hook up, which briefly led to a runway sled. No dogs were injured but the easy rider sled we just finished building is already back in the shop with a smashed stanchion from where it hit a tree before we could get to the sled and get it under control.
Next, while putting Crumb away after a training run, she accidentally jumped up to get on her box, right as Joseph was bending over her. She ened up chipping one of his front teeth.
Lastly, our house dog Shagoo caught a feral ringneck pheasant that was running through our yard. These birds are not native to this area, but occassionaly yahoos will turn them loose in an effort to have more things to shoot at. Ringnecks could easily outcompete our native fowl such as spruce grouse, so whenever one of these birds is killed we’re not too sad. However, this time we were actually happy since Shagoo caught it and immediately broke its neck, then brought it to the house right away. As such, we were able to skin it and have a delicious dinner free of charge. Shagoo also shared in the meal since it was through her effort we got it.


Thursday, March 13th, 2008

O.K. after a few out of state requests, here are the photos of Cole’s etched wooden bowl trophy and gold booty.

Chatanika Challenge Finish

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

chatblog.jpgHere is a photo of the finish line (taken by Beth Manning) showing how close Colleen and Mike came in together. She only passed him at the street sign, which can be seen if you look closely at the picture. Finishes this close are common in sprint races, but almost unheard of in distances races, which is why this race was so exciting for Cole to run, and for eveyone else to watch. Cole and Mike ran neck and neck through the whole course. The third place team finished roughly two hours behind them.
Also, we never said who her team was. Cole ran Oaky, Penny, Zoom, Cyder, Butterscotch, Crumb, Goliath, Zoya, Nuk, Waylon, Yeti and Squirrel. These latter three dog are all yearling, and this was Yeti’s first race, so it was extra special to us that they performed so well. As to who led the race, Penny was definitely peaking during this event, and as a spayed female, she was one of the only females not in heat, so she led the whole 200 miles. Oaky, while in heat, still lead roughly 150 miles, and Cyder led the last 50 miles into the finish. Also, all 12 dogs Colleen started with made it to the finish and looked great doing so.
To view more photos of the race, visit and follow the directions. The event will be listed in Alaska and may also be called the Two Rivers 200. Enjoy!

And the Chatanika Challenge Winner is…Colleen Robertia

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

“Kasilof musher Colleen Robertia won the 2008 Two Rivers 200 sled dog race Saturday by 15 seconds over Mike Mayer of Fairbanks. Robertia left the start line, at Chatanika Lodge, at 12:36 p.m. Friday, the last of 19 mushers out of the chute. She finished the 200-mile course at 3:21:20 p.m. Saturday. Mayer clocked in at 3:21:35.” – the Fairbanks Daily News Miner.
This was an AWESOME race, and one that required Colleen and the team to work hard from beginning to end. Colleen went out last like the article stated, but by the dog drop 44 miles into the race, she had already fought her way past all but two teams. By the half way point 98 miles into the race, Cole had reeled in one more team and only came in a few minutes behind Mike Mayer, but after the starting time differentials were calculated (since mushers leave the starting chute in two minute intervals and must be compensated for this time), Cole was actually leading the race by six minutes. She took 6 hours of her mandatory rest and then ran to the next checkpoint around 45 miles away. She had some issues with several dogs in heat, and so was passed by Mike along the way, but the two still came in within 30 second of each other. After another four hours of rest the two took off for the finish line, and Cole didn’t make her move for first untill roughly seven miles from the finish. She called up the dogs and began kicking and ski poling as fast and furious as she could. The two teams ran literally side by side, neck and neck for several miles, doing at least 20 miles an hour, but in the last mile of “No Man’s Land” Cole was able to pull ahead, winning the race by 15 seconds. It was incredible!
For her win, Cole claimed a fantastic trophy, and almost $2,000, of which $500 was in gold coins. We hope they take them at the local dog feed store.
Look for more tales from the trail and photos from the finish in just a few days.

Last Race of the Season

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

We’re doing our final packing in preparation for what will likely be our last race of the season – the Chatanika Challange 200. The race starts north of Fairbanks so we will be getting up around 4:30 a.m. tomorrow to load dogs and make the long drive up. Hopefully it will go well. The temperatures have been a balmy 35-40 during the day along the race course, which will be challenging for the dogs (too hot), but we’ll do our best. The funny thing is we had planned on doing this race last year, but the temperatures were minus 40, so we didn’t go up because we didn’t want to put the dogs through that. Wierd huh? We’ll update again, and hopefully have some pictures, when we get back. Wish us luck.