Sunday, March 1, 2015


It is said that the word "mush" comes from the French word, marchez, move on or March!

The month of March in our north country usually continues with winter, and often some of the best winter snow arrives in March.

We mush in March!  And we watch Iditarod in March!

Our 12 kennel dogs represent years of wonderful breeding in the Alaskan sled dog racing world.  While our main leaders are all 12 and 13, they are still excited and begging to be on the first team out.

A special thank you this winter to Christine and Jenna Grabowski who make it their commitment to keep the dogs running all winter.  Jim Youngell, also, continues to help with dogs when he is able.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Faster and faster

Life at Summer Place Kennel goes faster and faster.   Tomorrow we celebrate the 13th birthday of the Liller and Skinny pups, Ruthie, Buffalo Gal and Kiddo.  These dogs have been a mainstay in our kennel since they were yearlings.    When they were pups, we would turn them loose and let them race each other , first , in the valley, and then on the hilly trails.   Aliy Zirkle visited us late in the summer of their first year and chose Buffy to go home with her.   We had made that deal in Susan Butchers parking lot, when Aliy allowed me to take skinny home to retire and Susan took me for a predawn ride with Liller in lead. After the run I asked Aliy if I should breed them and , if so,would she want a pup.  She said yes to both.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Copper, a special special dog

Each of our dogs is very special to us.   In all of the dogs we've had, Copper found a very special place in our hearts.   He was quiet and kind, yet he ran the place.  He knew our schedule as well as we did.  In the morning, after he was fed, he would sit on the front porch awaiting time to feed everyone.  He went from pen to pen with me, in the right order, every day.   Then when it was time to clean, he again went from pen to pen.  He herded and guarded everyone.
He knew after I showered that I often ran errands.  When I would be almost ready to leave, he'd sit by the front door awaiting his treat.  Then he'd sleep until I came home.  My favorite story of Copper was the day he came from nowhere, when I called him, to intercept aged Lillen as she ran toward the highway.   She just didn't know she couldn't do it, many cars were zipping back and forth.  Copper ran out and headed her off, leading her back to the kennel.  I think she thought she was in a race, and that she had won.  The ever so polite Copper let her go in the gate, first.
He was my Superman and my best friend.  I really don't know what to do without him awaiting me in the house or on the porch.  He enhanced our lives in so many ways.   We say, Godspeed dearest Copper.
You are a very special special dog.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Happy Birthday, Navy and all SPK Dogs!

Happy 12th birthday to Navy, d.o.birth, June 1, 2002.

Date of Birth            SPK Dog                   Age 2014

2.24.02                    Ruthie                         12 years

2.24.02                    Kiddo                         12 years

2.24.02                    Buffy                           12 years

6. 1.02                     Navy                           12 years

6.4.03                      Herman                        11 years

6.21.03                    Copper                        11 years

9.3. 03                     Swix                             11 years

9.3.03                      Yuki                              11 years

9.3.03                      Yo                                11 years

9.3.03                      Yeti                              11 years

9.3.03                       Zoom                          11 years

12.4.04                     Sherpa                         10 years

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Back to summer blog

Our summer blog is at:

We will update our summer activities there.  Please visit us.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ruby, sweet Ruby, 2002-2014

Ruby was easily the happiest dog at Summer Place Kennel.   Born February 2, 2002, she was the daughter of Liller (Butcher ) and Skinny (Louden, Zirkle), a wonderful litter.   Her litter siblings are/were:  Ruthie, Buffy, Kiddo and Quattro.   They were an energetic bunch from the beginning and had many, many great runs and races .  Ruthie, Buffy and Kiddo survive.

Early on, Ruby and Ruthie entertained a sort of rivalry, which translated each morning to fence sparring.   As soon as either would be out for her free run, they would run to the other's pen and bark, bark, bark.   Yesterday we watched them spar for the last time and as sick as she was, Ruby was enthusiastic and happy in her morning visit to Ruthie.

Ruby and Martin lived together for a long time.  When Martin died, Ruby was lost, so in moved Yo, Martin's neutered son.   They, too, have lived together for a long time.  Yo paid tribute to her in a very long solo howl yesterday.  He seems to be mourning her loss .  Each day they would vie for the larger house, and each day he gave in to her.   After her loss yesterday, he just laid by the smaller house, waiting for her to take the big one.

We can't know what's in their hearts, but we do know we all miss that little happiest spitfire that was Ruby.

Godspeed, dear Ruby.   Rest in gentle peace, next to your dear protector, Martin.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

And, again, more snow

The temperatures have modified, but we did have minus teens earlier this week.  Today a mix of snow and rain is predicted to bring yet another accumulation of 2 to 4 inches of snow by days' end.  We had five teams out running on Saturday and could run more this weekend.

Gardeners and golfers are wondering how long the snow banks will take to melt, but we winter lovers are still happy with snow depths.