Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Monday, October 23, 2006
Its all about the dogs!!
Its all about the dogs
A few years ago helping at the start line of the Yukon Quest, I was struck by the strong desire to give the Quest a try some day... so here I am with my kennel at the "start line" Till this point I have pretty much been a recreational musher but have dabbled in racing a bit and done some commercial dog sled touring . I have always put my dogs care and well being first and will continue to do so no matter what I do in the sport!!
A short Bio about the dogs and I.
I started mushing in 1990 while living in northern BC. My kennel has moved to the Haines Junction Yukon area and grown to be 35 strong, mostly Alaskan Huskies with a few "hound" crosses mixed in as well as Siberian Husky/Alaska Husky cross in some of my main team at present. Other than a strong influence from the "Kinvig Canines" in Whitehorse, there is no clear consistent genetic (ie.a specific breeder or kennel) background for my kennel as is common with other kennels. They are a varied looking crew, each having their own character and disposition. They range in age from 13 months to 16 years old.
The older generation typically live out their retirement in the kennel till their time comes either on their terms by mother natures design, or gently at the hands of a vet after consultation that that is the best choice to make for the sake of my valued companion. Although it may seem expensive and inconvenient to keep the elder dogs in the kennel after their "working" days are over, they often serve the purpose of "puppy trainer" for a few years and after that, I just feel that I owe them a comfortable existence considering all they have done for me.
Puppies...Well what can I say about puppies, they are a never ending adventure and I often wish I could be inside their head to see what the world looks like from a puppies perspective. In my opinion, they are puppies mentally till at least two and sometimes beyond. Because of this, I don't expect much from them and always try to make their work fun. The kennel consists of 12 puppies who are just over a year old as well as one of "Dancing Paws Kennels" puppies. This is the first season of their "careers" and I am really happy with what I see so far. They will hopefully make up the bulk of my Yukon Quest Team in 2008 or 2009.
The Main team. the main team consists of 18 Fast Dogs, 1 Dancing Paws dog and the TAZ. They range in age from 2 years to 12 years old. At this time I am not sure who will be selected to run the Quest 300, that is pretty much up to the dogs, as well as carefull training and good care on my part.
The Musher... Well, I guess that's me, 47 years old (how did that happen) a carpenter by trade who would love to be a full time musher at some point. I have been involved in the sport for 17 years and don't by any means profess that I know it all!!! I am a founding member of the Silver Sled race in Haines Junction and was the president of that organization for the first five years and then again in the tenth year. I also helped get the Babe Southwick Memorial Race off the ground and have participated in it every year. As a founding member of Yukon Junior Association of Mushers, I have helped host the last three sets of Arctic Winter Games time trials for Team Yukon here in Haines Junction and been a coach for the last two Arctic Winter Games. In Fort MacMurray in 2004 one of the youth I was coaching successfully qualified for and participated in the Games with one of my teams.
Do I have what it takes to run the Quest 300 and the Quest?? Thats the question I am here to answer, we shall see. If it solely relied on my dogs dedication and enthusiasm, I wouldn't give it a second thought. Ultimately it will rely on that as well as my own skill and knowledge both of which are in for a steep learning curve over the next few months. I hope you will follow me on this adventure by checking this site occasionally and giving me any feedback you think is helpfull.