Archive for June, 2011

Kasilof Swim Team

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

With Fish Camp behind us and the summer weather still warm and sunny, we have begun our annual tradition of swimming the dogs. The first batch of mutts went absolutely crazy when they saw us turn into the pond. We had several dogs in dog boxes and quite a few in the cab of the truck with us and the guys in the cab started basically trampeling us as soon as they saw the water. Screamer, above, lived up to her namesake and began bellowing as soon as she figured it out. She kept it up even while swimming the first few laps. It was totally hilarious. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dog so excited. Here’s a few pictures of the fun, and we’ll do a longer post soon, since we have lots of news as some of you already saw with the sign-ups for the 2012 Iditarod. More soon, we promise.

From L to R, Jeeves, Dunkel, Crumb, Cole and Metoo.

Above, Dunkel really carves through the cold water. See how far out of the water he hold his head compared to the other dogs.

Cole and a few of the guys head back across the pond for another lap.

A nice shot of Oaky.

Kings For A Day

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

We’re back, and as always the end of fishcamp is bittersweet. It ‘s hard to be away from the dogs for most of the day for two weeks, but at the same time we caught enough fish to feed us and them throughout the winter once again. Counting everyone’s catch we fished with, we caught nearly 200 sockeye and FOUR king salmon this year. This later species is highly coveted, but has eluded us for several years. We’ve had a few hit our net in the past, but they tore right through like a cannonball. Somehow this year they managed to get tangled up though, and we landed a few fish between 25 and 35 pounds (see above), so much more meat for the work compared to the 8-10 pound sockeyes.
This, combined with our garden which we doubled in size this year, should save us thousands of dollars on food this winter. People often ask us why we don’t do more races or sign-up for Iditarod or the Yukon Quest every year, and the answer really comes down to income. We both work yearround and save like misers, but it can be tough to afford operating a kennel our size, particularly since we don’t do dog sales or breedings for cash like many of our counterparts. All our guys have homes for life.
Instead we rely on what we can do ourselves to provide more for us and the dogs, and working hard to live off the land is one of those ways. Now is the time to start planning the logistics and finances of the winter race season though, and Cole is considering taking another crack at one or both of the 1,000-mile races in the state. To do this we are going to need help from our kennel friends, existing sponsors and hopefully a few new sponsors.
However, more on this next week as we have decided to use this coming weekend to go over our finances, gear and vacation time, to determine exactly what we can do this coming racing season and what else we still need to make our dreams come true while continuing to spread the message of humane education for all dog owners.
Until then, enjoy these pictures from fishcamp. We made a lot of new friends and had some beautiful weather for most of it. These pictures hardly due the scenery justice, but if you want better, you’ll have to come and see it for yourself. Everyone really should once in their life.

Here’s two of the other kings we caught.

A sockeye hit our net on one of the few rainy days we had.

Here’s the view from our tent. Th guy taking it in is our neighbor Gerard. Each of the little orange balls is actually a bouy marking the end of somene’s net.

JOseph preparing to clean some of the sockeyes up on the gravel. This keeps the fishy from getting sandy, but this same rocks is what we try to avoid when fall training with the dogs on the beach.

Last pic, this is little Ema Mullet, learning how to clean a salmon by working with Cole. She and her sister are both kennel apprentices this season, learning about all the responsiblities of taking care or dogs. We thought seeing where and how we get food for the dogs would be an important part of their education. More on them in future blogs. Stay tuned.

Another Installment of…

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Things have been going well around the kennel this past week. The dogs are all doing great for the most part with only minor exceptions, and we eaked out another win at a local racing event. First, the dog health news.
Tatika is still slowing down, but has been having more good days than bad. She did wander off the other night while we were playing with the other dogs, which is very odd for her. Sometimes when Cole leaves for a week, Tatika will wander to go to the beach or neighbors to look for her, but Cole was standing outside with Tika when she wandered most recently. We think she may just be going senile, and not necessarily looking for the last place Cole really was, rather Tika is looking for the last place she remembers being with Cole. Since we have a lot of little potholes and such around the yard, Tika also occasionally will trip in a hole and have trouble getting up on her own. We don’t want this to happen when she is out of sight, so we have started putting a little cow bell on Tika when she is outside for bathroom breaks or to get a little exercise.

Shagoo (above) had a close call this week too. We got a bag of balloons so our niece and nephew (who come out regularly to help with dog chores) could have a water-balloon fight. The balloons had a bit of a sweet smell when we opened the bag, but we didn’t think much of it at the time. We took about a dozen and went outside for some fun. We came back in a few minutes later for something we forgot and found Shagoo standing on the dining room table woofing balloons down like they were dog treats. Luckily, Shagoo being Shagoo, she went outside, worked herself up with the kids running around, and got into one of her hyperventilating fits. She was hacking so hard she ended up puking and up came an assortment of colorful balloons.

In what has become an unfortunate summer tradition, Buckwheat (above, getting chased)has hurt himself again. Him and Dunkel have started this boys will be boys game where they run around and nip at each other while wrestling in the yard. Metoo gets in on it too from time to time, but it is mostly a game between the fellas. Anyhoo, Dunkel caught Buckwheat just right while playing a high-speed version of this game and it torn about a three inch gash on Buck’s ribs. Luckily he did not need stitches, but we started him on antibiotics and have been keeping him indoors so the wound stays clean.

We also vaccinated and dewormed everyone recently and they did great with getting their shots and taking their medicine. The vaccinations are an annual deal, but we try to deworm the dogs about four times a year, and using different medicines, to keep the dogs healthy. Living in a place with so many other mushers and their sled dogs, germs can transfer easily, so we do all we can to keep our guys healthy.

Speaking of going to the veterinarian, our local vet holds a “Dog Jog” once a year. This involves a 3.5 mile run through town with your dog. We have attended annually since it began about six or seven years ago (with the exception of last year, I think it was too close to Kawlijah’s death and we didn’t feel up to it). We have been lucky enough to win the event a couple of years, which is always great since the winners get veterinary care vouchers. This year I(Joseph) took Metoo (above), and Cole took Dunkel. The dogs did great! Metoo and Dunkel went crazy as soon as we put the harness on them at the start. The race marshall could barely get a word in edgewise over their carrying on. Then the two pulled so hard that at a full sprint we could barely keep up with them. In the end it was worth all the feet beating though because Metoo pulled me to An overall 1st place finish, while Dunkel led Cole to a 2nd place finish in the Women’s event and 4th place overall.
Well, fish-camp starts next week so we’ll be heading down to spend a lot of time by the water, hopefully catching enough salmon to feed us and the dogs all winter long. We try and takes some pictures of how it goes, until then, have fun with your own pets.