On a country road in South Central Minnesota, one might think to see horses trot by… but sled dogs? Not so much! We decided to take the dogs out on a stretch of dirt road to hopefully work off some extra chub from the long wet spring. After we selected a route to run them on, we hooked up a team of four to the ATV and a team of three up to the dry-land training cart. Again, the girls naturally harnessed the team and secured the lines – like they’ve been doing it for a lifetime. For the first mile, the ATV was in neutral and we FLEW – literally stopping local traffic as onlookers waved while we blazed a trail of dust. The second mile however; not so impressive. It was only 67 degrees out but some of the team started overheating fast. The ATV had to be put in gear to help out the fat frothy-mouthed dogs. When we got back to the kennel, we never had such an easy time putting the dogs back – they were totally spent! With some serious water-lapping, they all recovered quickly except for our two darkest dogs – they took a bit longer which worried us at first but they too, bounced back fine. [insert reminder that we are still rookies.] And so…another mushing lesson learned; even two-mile runs in the summer (particularly for sleddogs who’ve been given treats all spring) need to happen in the very coolest part of the day! Next adventure: midnight training 😉
May in Minnesota and the ground finally thawed! We came across a really good deal on swivel poles from another dog kennel so our first order of business was hole-digging. “We” meaning, my husband and father. Since the dog yard is on a farm, rocks in the ground were pretty menacing obstacles. Quickly needing bigger and better tools for the job, a power hole digger was purchased – which often spun out of control, resulting in bruises and sore muscles for a few days. Boys. When the poles were all installed, we started on the dog houses. Thank God for youtube! Seven sheets of plywood, a few 2×4’s and two gallons of paint equated to approximately $40 dollars per house. We painted the houses red to match the dog trailer and my car – not sure why. I also added a bonus touch with their names painted on each house – because… they can read? 😉 Oh well, fashion points. With all of the dog houses in the yard and full of straw, we hooked the dogs up and we could tell they felt right at home – all smiles and wagging tails. Next quest, serious dry land training – stay tuned!
Our female that we bred with the esteemed “Asland” from 10 Squared Racing had her prenatal appointment today. We were very excited when the vet felt baby bumps during the initial examination! But our joy was quickly exterminated when the scan revealed no pregnancy. The bumps? – nothing but poo. Nice. The vet asked if we had another female to breed but I explained to her that although we love our other female (DJ) – she’s the kind of dog that should not reproduce. The musher that we bought her from actually told us that if she were a child, she’d be on ritalin. We actually keep crazy DJ in a kennel with old blue-eyed Jackson – a fixed male with his own set of issues, such as excessive feces eating. Needless to say, I got some info on spaying and we were on our way. When we arrived back to the dog yard, we were surprised to hear high-pitched howling. To our horror, DJ and Jackson were “stuck” together – end to end, which I’d never seen before! And of course, I had my daughters with me – biology 101! We waited until they were “done” and then separated them into different kennels. The vet told me that dogs usually can’t tie together if the male is fixed but the musher we bought him from assured me that he was. I guess we have to examine him to see if his parts are all there. Yay. When we finally got home, one of my daughters said, “well, that’s something I never wanna see again.” Yep, pretty sure they’re never having kids now!
SIDE NOTE: If crazy DJ happens to be pregnant, we’ll be offering “crazy” deals on pups! 😉
We’ve spent the few dry days of spring clearing the dreaded buckthorn from the trails – already getting a couple of wood ticks along the way! When we cleared a small loop, we got the four wheeler ready and as we harnessed a team of three for the first run, we noticed our first obstacle; fat dogs! The harness of our lead dog “Fast Eddie” was a little snug – resulting in Eddie not being so fast. The team did a good job though, pulling the four wheeler without any problems and knowing their commands. And although the loop was a fun run, we may need to find a nice long straightaway to let the dogs run full out from time to time. Maybe a country road nearby. We’ll also be rationing food a bit and we are in the process of preparing the dog yard – stay tuned!
When our twins were in first grade, I stopped by their elementary school for lunch and recess. While we were out on the playground, the recess monitor marched over and asked me if I would ask the girls to stop making all of the other kids pretend to be their sled-dogs. Apparently, my girls were “mushing” the other children – making them run on their hands and parents were complaining about mittens being worn out! We had no idea! Fast forward two years. At ten years old, the playground mushing had stopped, but the dogsledding intrigue hadn’t – and their third grade teacher took notice. If a child is lucky enough, they will come across a special teacher with an insight into their soul; this teacher was that visionary for my girls. She encouraged the uniqueness of their characters and one day, surprised my girls with a book called “Born to Pull.” Today, three years later, I pulled the book out and as we read through it again, we found her hand written note inside the pages. What a treasure. A reminder to not only follow your own dreams, but encourage others to follow theirs as well! Thank you Mrs. Laubach!
With an incredibly wet spring, the dogs are getting desperate for a good run. This weekend, we picked up a small 4-wheeler from my in-laws and we bought a used dogsledding cart from 10squared racing in Two Harbors. FurEver Wild, where we are boarding our dogs, has a nice trail system for us to use – we just have to do a little clearing and we’ll be on our way to dry-land training! Another new adventure for the rookies – let’s hope the right things hit the trail!