Archive for June, 2012

Strike a Pose

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Hi all. Big news this week. The dogs had their first proferssional photo shoot! As you can tell by the beautiful image above of Butterscotch, and below of Cole and Penny and big man Waylon, the photograpjher does some pretty impressive work. The images were taken by Albert Lewis, a photographer from Anchorage who is working on a coffee table book about the dogs of Iditarod caled “Born to Run/ Athletes of the Iditarod.
We were very happy to hear about the project since most books out there focus on musers and adventure tales, rather than the true talent….the dogs. We were equally excited when we foujnd out that Albert would only be featuring dogs from about 30 different kennels.
He shot about a dozen dogs and we won’t be able to share all the images until the book comes out roughly a year from now. Believe me, we are just as anxious to see the images as you are. He was particularly interested in thecolor patterns in our kennel. Not a lot of mushers like red-coated dogs, other won’t use blue eyed dogs, and we of course have a bunch of both. Our only regret was the dogs coats actually change color in summer, and a lot of the red dogs have a much more vibrant coat in winter, but oh well.
He spent a ton of time with Cyder and Crazy Horse, two of the most beutiful dogs in our kennel. He also shot images of Zoom, Hildy, Penny, Dunkel, Butter, Waylon, and Brick. It was very interesting seeing his techniques for getting good shots. He uses squeky toys and whistles, all kinds of stuff to get the dogs to make, at times, funny faces. It was suprising seeing who did the best and who did the worst. The dogs who are the most spooky of stragners actually did the best becuase they came in and just stood still and stared at him, while super friendly dogs like Dunkel jumped around and acted like a fool beucase he wanted to play with Albert rather than siot still for a photo.
Well, that all the news for this week. Fish camp is going on, so we are living down on the beach for the most part, and nect week we’ll have some pictures and updates about our annual endeavor to get salmon for us and the dogs.

A nice shot of Cole and our pint-sized powerhouse Penny. An always serious dog, Penny seemed embarrased by all the attention.

Big Waylon, we did our best to brush him out before the shoot, but sadly most of the dogs are still blowing their winter caots, so he looked a little scruffy for his shoot.

Paying the Bills

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Hi all, sorry it’s been so long since we made a post. Our only excuse is, we’ve come to the conclusion there is no off season with sled dogs. While the long runs of winter have stopped, the workload has not, it has just changed from conditioning the dogs, to swimming them, playing fetch, and making money to pay all the bills we racked up all winter long.
Fortunately, things have been steady on this latter front. As you can see in the image at the top of this post, we have been working hard on selling prints and canvases of some of the artwork we are able to put together from running and being around sled dogs. This week alone we have sold several images from Nome of other mushers, which they will send out to their own sponsors to say thank-you.
We also have several large canvases that just went up in Rosco’s Pizzeria in Ninilchik. Rosco’s owners, as some of you might remember, are big supporters of Cole and the dogs and they sponsored Cole several pizzas to eat along the trail during this year’s Iditarod. Some of the canvases they are now displaying are VERY nice shots of areas or conditions that would not be possible to view without traveling by dog team. It’s great to think of how many summer tourists will now get a chance to see those images and hopefully understand a little bit of why those of us who lives here year-round chose to make this our homes.
I should point out, if you’ll bear with this shameless self-promotion, that almost any images that we post here on the blog can be made into prints or canvases, so if interested in adding one to your home, business, lodge, etc. just sent us an email at to let me know what image you’d like and we’ll get back to you with a price list.
In other news, an Anchorage-based photographer is also working on a coffee table type book on the Athletes of the Iditarod. It looks like it will be a lot of extremely high quality shots of dogs, and a few of the mushers. It looks like he’ll be coming down around the 16th to shoot some of our guys. We, as always, are very excited to share our dogs with him. The tough part now will be decided who should end up in front of thee lens…beautiful, colorful dogs like the orange coated and blue-eyed Crazy Horse or Cyder. Or perhaps we should go with the dogs that deserve the most credit, such as lead dog Penny. Or perhaps, just the dogs we know will be the biggest clowns in front of the camera, like Metoo and Dunkel. Ultimately, it will likely be up to the photographer, but we’ll keep you all posted.
When not working on selling photos, we have been hard at writing for the book we’re working on that we mentioned a few blog posts ago. We’re trying to put together a book of our adventures and misadventures with all these crazy canines. Progress on this project is going well and we have written several chapters already this summer. We promised we’d share some of the stories here, and since we have disappointed you all by not blogging in so long, perhaps a sample of one chapter will make it up to everyone. This is from the chapter we’re writing on poop, that’s right you read that correctly, poop. I know it sounds gross and weird, but bear with us and take a read at this portion of the much large chapter on this disgusting subject. We only ask that you don’t copy and paste, or share it anywhere as this is a work in progress that we will eventually be trying to sell. Thanks and enjoy.

All mushers, if not all dog owners, probably have a story or two about a dog leaving a tightly coiled pile somewhere they shouldn’t, and over the years we’ve had more than our fair share of accidents in the house, truck and many other places. At the time they’re happening, they are never funny, but looking back on the incidents, some of the messiest and most embarrassing bowel blasts are now some of our most hilarious memories with the dogs.
Not everyone can see the humor in a dog pooping at in inappropriate time. We can vouch for this based on an experience when we briefly crossed over into the world of purebred dogdom by attending an American Kennel Club puppy socialization class. Despite that mushers and agility enthusiasts or those who partake in obedience are all dog lovers, there seems to be a large rift separating these groups. It seems to be one of those things like skiing versus snowboarding, being a republican or democrat, being a kid and eating vegetables. You either do one or the other, but people who participate in both are few and far between.
We weren’t aware of this elitism in the animal-lovers world when we signed up for the class. It was right after Butterscotch and Doc had produced the first litter of puppies we had ever had in the kennel. Until then we had been taking in other people’s dogs, puppies and their associated physical and social problems, but we had decided to have a litter to raise them right and help balance the scales.
We had called ahead to be sure it would be O.K. to bring in our puppies, since there were seven of them after all, and even among the high-energy reputation puppies have, husky pups are in a league of their own. The instructor agreed and initially things were going well. Our guys played with the other pups in the class and climbed on the agility equipment, but then Buckwheat – our yellow-eyed husky with a fuzzy, cream-colored coat and reddish muzzle – made sure we and everyone else would never forget that evening.
I should preface this part of the story by saying at the time we had only recently gotten the diagnoses of Buckwheat having a liver shunt. Without getting too scientific here, this is a condition where a blood vessel carries blood around the liver instead of through it, causing toxins to build up in the blood stream. Because many of these toxins come from protein, Buckwheat was on a special diet and taking medications, all of which gave him extremely wet and white-washed looking stools.
We knew going into the class we didn’t want any amorphous deposits, so we hadn’t fed him since breakfast and had walked him before and at several points during the hour-long class. We were almost in the clear. There were only about 15 minutes to go when, as puppies often do, Buckwheat had an accident. We were already juggling our attention between all his siblings which had fanned out across the room, when out of the corner of Colleen’s eye she saw him starting to assume the position.
She made a dash for him, but hadn’t even crossed half the large, rubber-matted floor when he began to release what was nothing short of an anal outpouring. To be honest, I think had any dog pooped in the class it would have been frowned upon, but what really made the folks in the room go from looking down their noses at us to scooping up there puppies and running out in sheer terror was the appearance of Buckwheat’s crappy calling card. It came out completely white, and in a consistency that was more liquid that it was even close to a solid state. Had it not been coming from his behind it would have looked like someone had knocked over an old glass bottle of milk, which was glug, glug, glugging its way to emptiness.
I think parents on a beach where someone has pointed at the water and screamed “shark!” have moved slower than these pet owners did scooping up their puppies and running out of the room. We couldn’t blame them. Without knowing his condition, his stool storm was so unusual in appearance, we likely would have thought he was harboring some horrible virus and in an act of puppy preservation fled, too, had he not been ours.
While Buckwheat blasting in the class was one of our most embarrassing moments, it was far from the most shocking…