Sunday, April 29, 2012

Trailwalkers tonight

Tonight's Trailwalkers are Kiddo, Zoom, Copper , Buddy and Lillen.   Buddy is 14 and he hangs back from the rowdier racers.

We met a new kennel owner online today, Kathleen Anderson of Winter Moon Kennel in Minnesota.
She has been teaching driving sled dogs for 25 years and she has some Zeus relatives in her teams.
It's great to 'meet' you, Kathleen.

The dogs enjoyed their outing, it's a bit like a lottery draw at night for the turn at trailwalking.
They're very well behaved when selected, running fast and circling back to check on me.  It's my favorite part of the day, too.

Turkeys living with dogs

These turkeys seem to be not too bothered by the dogs.  The dogs run down to visit and the turkeys
fly up in a nearby tree, but come right back down.

When Lillen speaks...

We listen , when Lillen speaks.  She starts and ends each day with her commentary.
The tarp on her fence is to give her privacy and shelter her from the North winds.   She has two houses, one is airier for hot days and one is warmer for cold days.  She's speaking right now, so it is time for her breakfast.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Celebrating Dogs

One of the best ways to celebrate our dogs is to take them trailwalking.   Today sweet Frita and
Copper (every bit as sweet) strolled together while Buddy, Yuki and Swix went their own way.
We'll interrupt trailwalking once we start to see fawns in the woods, but for now each group
enjoys their nightly meanderings.   Frita, a wonderful leader, will stay mostly at my side when we walk, while Copper charges forward clearing the way of any possible interlopers.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Our tribute to Zeus didn't publish, so here it is again.

Zeus, almost thirteen, had multiple health issues and could not overcome them.   We are so very sad to say that he is now crossing the beautiful bridge to be with our other great dogs, and hopefully, Susan Butcher, his breeder and coach/musher.  We hope is running in all of his splendor, free from pain and happy forever.

Zeus was a star, simply a star.   The most responsive gee haw command leader , he would turn on a dime. He ran with any dog here, never a problem with Zeus.  His personality was the sweetest ever and his speed was fast and eager.    We loved him so much and especially enjoyed his being a wonderful house dog in the past year.  He had a commanding presence , as well, and as all of our dogs have, he taught us so much.  We wished that he could talk in his sleep as his dreams were many .

Godspeed, dearest Zeus!  He is pictured in lead in our main photo above.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Yepa, Snow Princess

This is the Frita/Martin litter from September 3, 2003. Yepa (Snow Princess)
was one of the "twin" white look alikes to their father, Martin. Today she
crossed The Rainbow Bridge to be with her father, Martin and her brother, Yuri.

Terrified of thunder, Yepa had dragged herself under a fence in the process of which
she had slashed her tongue. This occurred last year and she has dealt with it well until
this weekend. Her throat swelled, making it difficult for her to breathe. She spent a day
in unwanted captivity in the veterinary hospital and struggled with great anxiety. While being dosed with numerous meds to calm her and to help to shrink the swelling, she could not kick the problem she was having. We decided it was best to opt for ending her great suffering, a very difficult decision.

Those beautiful brown eyes followed us everywhere, she always kept her eyes on us when we were working with the dogs. She only ran once this winter, but she was a fantastic wheel dog, powerful, strong and beautiful.

She ran with her father in wheel several times, a mighty duo. The photo of Martin and Yepa appears on our Facebook Summer Place Kennel page.

She leaves behind her mother, Frita, sisters, Zoom and Yuki, and brothers, Yo, Swix, Yeti and Tsunami, all who are noting her absence with subdued sadness, and me, her human, with not so subdued sadness. Our thank you to Dr. Kim for her comforting care and assistance to Yepa.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Windy and Dry: Fire Hazard

The red flags are posted for fire danger... unrelenting winds, dry sand and brush. There is a burning ban but there have been some small wildfires. Send rain! (we had a bit of snow this morning, but it had virtually no moisture)

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Delight and a Challenge

To walk three gee haw command leaders, all Susan Butcher's dogs, is both a delight and a challenge. Lillen, 15, Zeus, 13 and Copper, 9 are all Iditarod veterans. Their ages are irrelevant to them when they know they're headed down a trail on gangline or a leash. Since I'm not a sled or an ATV and I have no brake, it's really fun to keep up with them. Copper takes the lead, off leash, and they think they're racing him . Highly recommended for fitness training , (mine :).
The photos don't capture the personalities involved. Zeus, ears up, is a driven super leader; Copper is slightly less driven but loves to outdo Zeus. Lillen is the commander of the whole kennel and she calls the shots with the boys. They easily sidestep her when she gives them a mean look, which she has down to a tee.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Spring frost

Technically it is Spring, but we did have a hard frost last night. We continue to do spring cleanup, sometimes a daunting task. The dogs are running every day and loving the new smells and the visiting wildlife. They seem to especially enjoy the turkeys who fly into trees at the sight of the dogs.

We'll switch to our summer blog some time in late April or early May, but it's frosty enough to convince us to stay in Winter at SPK for now.

Spring tasks:

Rake/haul all straw from pens .
Rake straw from houses.
Fill holes.
Pickup all of winter's winds branches, etc.
Remove doors from houses.
Treat all dogs for parasites (deworm and topical treatment for ticks, etc)
Repair houses.
Hang and repair shade tarps.
Haul water with buckets until hoses thaw.
Trail run and trail walk all dogs.
And, of course, clean all pens every day, wash and fill water dishes. Haul, haul, haul.

Sightings of foxes, turkeys, and of course, deer, but no bear evidence as of yet. Field cameras are out. The Easter Bunny will borrow our trail this weekend, so we're trekking with dogs to discourage the wildlife from hanging around .