Archive for April, 2009

Puppy Profile

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Cole and Joseph are in the process of taking over updating their website, as their current webmaster is having health issues, but the process is slow since the two are so bad with technology. Hopefully over the summer they will learn the tricks of the trade and bring some much needed updates to the other parts of the site besides the blog, but in the meantime, here are some long over due photos.
Last season (and again this season) Cole and Joseph decided not to breed any dogs. They just felt there was enough out there already. But, as the summer went on, it was a bit boring with a bunch of literal ankle biters running around. A neighbor had an unplanned little so they volunteered to raise the pups, with the deal they would give have of the 6-dog litter back come winter.
Sadly, a deadly virus struck, taking one of the puppies lives and making the others very sick. It took a lot of 24 hour care to keep the ones that survived alive. Cole and Joseph would stay up all night and call in to work, so they could give fluids and medicine around the clock. This REALLY bonded them to the pups, so they struck up a deal with the musher who owned their mother, and traded a meat saw for the other half of the litter. Four of these dogs, all males, are in training to be sled dogs, while the fifth, a tiny female that was sick the longest, was made into a house dog. Cole and Joseph hope to soon be adding a “2008 pups” page to their home page, but in the meantime here is a preview.
These are all of the same pup, named Buliwyf (pronounced Bulvai) after a character in the movie “The 13th Warrior.” Like the theatrical viking, Buliwyf is big, strong and so far tireless. He went on about 20-30 runs this year, and did great on each, even leading runs a few times toward the end of the season. At nine months old he is already 50 pounds, and he is a voracious eater, so who knows how big and thick this guy will be as an adult. Buliwyf is a welcome addition to the team and the kennel.
The above photo is just after his eyes opened.
Cole loving on little Buliwyf. In the background you can see his littermates in the nestbox still.
Buliwyf getting chubby at a couple weeks old.
Starting to get his legs under him.
Buliwyf may look cute in this photo, but he is in the middle of our garden in this shot. Where he’s not supposed to be!!!
Playing one the beach last fall.
And finally, starting to fill out, Buliwyf in lead at the end of a training run in early April.

Mushing’s dark secret

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

While Cole and Joseph love the “activity” of mushing, they acknowledge that the “sport” of mushing has many disturbing aspects to it, of which culling (by killing unwanted dogs) is by far the most grotesque. Many mushers will claim that culling is a thing of the past, an unscrupulous behavior of a by-gone era of dog drivers, but as you scratch the surface of this issue, you start to see numerous mushers still do this despicable act, they have just gotten more savvy about hiding it from outsiders.
One of the saddest parts of it is, that these dogs aren’t killed because the musher has decided to get out of the sport (not that this would be justifiable in the least, but at least it is a one-time-only massacre). Rather, dogs are often killed annually for “not making the cut,” or “being too old,” so that more puppies can be bred for the upcoming year. It’s sickening and Cole and Joseph would rather see the sport of mushing become extinct than continue on in its current form.
Here is a recent incident to illustrate this point. This is a letter to the editor, sent to the Fairbanks Daily News Miner, after a woman named Laurie Lawrence found a horrible seen at the waste transfer site in North Pole, AK. She wrote:
A person filled a Dumpster last Thursday with what appeared to be a whole dog team. Why? Were they rabid or sick, what? I know someone who is looking to put together their first dog team. Was there some reason these dogs couldn’t be put in the free ads? I always worry about finding kittens or puppies that someone disposes of in this terrible manner, but at least maybe I could save them. But for someone to come upon a Dumpster full of dead sled dogs, it was sickening and heartbreaking.
Sadly, Alaska lacks animal rights laws to punish this person, if their identity could even be determined, since this type of activity is so common in Alaska. Cole and Joseph have seen similar incidents to this at our own waste transfer site in Kasilof.
I wonder how many other people like Lawrence visited the dumpster that day, and what they now think of all mushers because of this act by whoever the asshole was that killed and dumped these dogs. Sad that Cole and Joseph can be compared to a person like whoever did this because they all share the title of “musher.”

Family Fun

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

We are in the final days of the 2008-2009 snow season, but as we enjoy our last few sled rides, we have had company from out of state. Cole’s brother Ross came up from Massachusetts and has been helping out around the kennel for a few days. The dogs took to him immediately as he showed up with a suitcase full of Cuzz toys, which is one of their favorites, and since they are a tough toy for the dogs to chew apart (after the legs immediately come off) we like them too. Like many guests we put Ross to work and he has been great about cutting up fish and scooping poop, but like all mushers, his favorite part has been the sled runs with the dogs. After a couple of rides in the basket and an quick lesson about what to do and what not to, we gave Ross his own 8-dog team, and the three of us all went out for a fun 20-mile run. Ross did great despite our best efforts to get him to eat snow. He only fell over twice leaving the yard, but he was able to keep upright on some of the more technical corners and obstacles out in the heart of our Cohoe Loop trail system. Too bad he lives so far away, we could really use a quick learner like him during fall training.
Ross leaving the yard with a fresh team led by Screamer and Pong.
Ross changing out leaders after the sun came up and Pong got a little to warm to run in front.
Crazy Horse, still going strong at more than 12 years old, barks at Ross to hurry up while he changed out leaders.
After a day of running, Squirrel unwinds by chewing on her Cuzz toy that Ross brought.