The Fog is Lifting

With an early November snowfall and a chilly mist hovering over the dog yard, the sled-dogs have a certain glisten in their eyes! The fog is lifting and the sun is rising over a new season – Winter! Counting down the days until we’re hanging on for dear life on a sled behind these dogs 😉

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Perfect Pearl from Alaska

Born on Pearl Harbor day, meet “Pearl” – our newest, and possibly sweetest, sled dog! Arriving early Saturday morning, (*read previous blog) we brought her home to meet the family, then took her out to her new dog-yard at Winter Wind. She immediately bonded with Darby – our other newest female that hasn’t quite fit in with the other dogs yet. It was so cute to watch them happily play, almost like they’d finally been reunited! Since the male dogs seemed TOO excited about Pearl, we decided to keep Darby and Pearl in the barn kennel together for the night. The next day, we introduced Pearl to the team in the large running area. She was definitely popular with the boys but she held her own and didn’t tolerate their advancements. Pearl also seems to have taken to my husband – running when he calls her and even jumping right into his arms! We already adore Pearl and feel that she’s and awesome addition to our now team of eight! A huge thanks to the Berington twins in Alaska who lovingly trained Pearl and have now entrusted her to us. We will do our best to care and lavish her with attention – and I don’t think it will be too hard 😉

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Dog Yard – with Pearl standing on her new house

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Pearl and her new bestie, Darby!

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Somebody has bonded with Pearl!

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Darby and Pearl – having a sleepover in the barn.

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The boys – eager about the new girl.

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The college kids playing with Pearl and Darby 🙂

Finding a Pearl

After months of talking to the Berington twins in Alaska about acquiring a dog from their kennel, we finally decided on Pearl – a female that ran in the Iditarod Race the previous year. She had the ability to run lead and we liked that she was smaller in size – with our girls just starting to race this year, smaller works well for handling. And so, Pearl’s red-eye flight was booked, we built her a house, and eagerly waited her arrival. Maybe TOO eagerly. On the morning I thought she was arriving, we headed to the airport at 5:00am. Of course, the girls insisted on coming along. I wasn’t quite sure what Delta door to go to so I parked and we quickly ran in to check. Sometimes dogs arrive in the oversized baggage area but there were no dogs there. Claim agents scrambled to track her. Police then got involved because I was parked illegally. Thankfully, they sympathized over my missing dog & gave me a break – telling other officers not to ticket the red car! Eventually, it was determined that she went to the cargo bay near terminal two. I drove there and of course, get lost. We wound up in a private parking lot where security had to come and get me out… but they too had compassion over our lost dog. Finally at the cargo dock; no dog. Everybody at Delta seemed to be looking for Pearl. Knowing it’s the middle of the night in Alaska, I reluctantly call one of the Berington twins. I first apologize for waking her, then break the news that Pearl’s lost. All eyes from the cargo crew watch my reaction. I hesitantly reply,”Ohhh… not until TOMORROW morning?” I look up, smile, and say, “Oops!” Be back tomorrow!

Mental note: a red-eye flight arrives the NEXT day! haha. IMG_0017

The “puppy love” of a sled-dog.

Sled dogs are working dogs. Bred into them for hundreds of years; the intrinsic desire to pull and run and follow commands. And what we’ve found to be even truer than those primal instincts; the ability to love their owner – uniquely apart from than any other dog breed. We have pet dogs that love us for ear-scratching, soft doggie beds, and food that “accidentally” falls from the cutting board. But our sled-dogs look to us for an entirely different reason that’s actually so basic, it’s hard to describe. Their love and loyalty is quite honestly an amazing thing to experience. We are looking forward to going into our first full winter with this team! If you’re interested, here’s a link to a short article about sled-dogs that’s pretty good: http://www.dogwatch.com/dogtails/2012/01/16/sled-dogs-part1/ Hike!

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Playing with the dogs in the fenced running area – getting kisses from Eddie.