Consider installing industrial carpeting free of pad underneath very simple to vacuum and steam-clean.
This blog should be relaxing, entertaining, and educational, so I try to keep this a “no politics zone,” but I hope everyone went out and voted yesterday! The dogs sure enjoyed our trip to the voting booth :)
The reindeer are settling in at their new home at the Co-op. Since they’re the start of our reindeer farm, we figured it’s about time we named them! If you have suggestions for names, please check out our Last Frontier Mushing Co-op Facebook Page and caption the photos of each reindeer with your suggested name. If we pick your name, then you get a Last Frontier Mushing Co-op t-shirt!
But first, a bit about the reindeer. Our farm is comprised of two cows and one bull. Each one has a distinctly different personality. The bull is fearless. He doesn’t shy away from ATVs, the dogs, or humans. While that makes it easy to interact with him, we have to be careful around him, especially this time of year (the rut). His confidence hasn’t translated to aggression, but he’ll protect his gals at all costs. The darker cow is the smallest. Even though she is small, she’s holds her own and will push the bull out of the...
Over the past week, we’ve been on two different camping trips to prepare the dogs for life on the trail. Most of the team are veterans, so the second straw is laid down, they immediately curl up and catch some shut eye. The two-year-olds, however, aren’t quite as disciplined. They like to play with their neighbor, dig in the snow, or bark at mysterious noises. After a short while, they eventually learn that straw means nap time, and they settle in for a short nap. During both of the campouts, we trained with the dog truck. This means hooking 26 dogs up to the front of the Ford, and cruising down unmaintained back roads. On the one hand, I feel really detached from the team as I roll the window down to yell “Ready, let’s go!” over the roar of the diesel engine. But on the other hand, sitting in a heated cab, listening to music, and making hot, fresh tea with a Jet Boil stove is pretty plush! While I wouldn’t want to train solely with a truck, it sure was comfortable at times :)
Our first camp was with fellow mushers from Squid Acres Kennels and Trail Breaker Kennels. We drove Standard Creek Road just south of...
The yearlings are doing great! They’ve been running anywhere from two miles all the way up to fifteen. Once the runs started progressing over ten miles, we separated the yearlings and the adults so that the yearlings would increase their mileage at a slower pace. Ham, Fire, Niagra, Frosty, Kindi, and Belle are responsible for training with the yearlings and being good role models. While we do hope to get the yearlings miled up enough to run a race or two, our goals are very different for yearlings than for the adults.
So what are the ultimate goals when training young dogs (8 months - 2 years old)?
1- Mushing is FUN!
Alaskan Huskies instinctively love to pull and run, but they all have different personalities. We have to ensure that each training run is structured so that the youngsters feel strong, confident, and ready for more. We never want them to question their own abilities. Running must be fun and rewarding in order to set a good foundation. For example, Mario can get overwhelmed running back into the yard after a training run because all the adults like to loudly bark, welcoming the team back to the kennel. We changed up the return trail so there is more distance between...
With a 24-hour news cycle filling our collective hearts and minds, we could all benefit from something fun, right? An
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We’re having an unseasonably warm October (which the Fairbanks Daily Newsminer called a “thumbs up.” Mushers consider it a “thumbs down.”) We broke a record for the latest snowfall ever recorded in Fairbanks. The previous record was from 1920! Silver lining- the rain is creating some spectacular rainbows!
On this day in 2017 we were putting in our well. And I vividly recall that the ground was frozen and snow covered, I was wearing bunny boots, and the water quickly froze after being blasted out of the well by the air hose. It was poor weather for pounding a well, but fantastic weather for dog running. Currently the weather is 50F and sunny. Luckily, the dogs don’t mind too much as long as we run at the coolest hours of the day and take lots of breaks in the Chena River or enormous puddles, hence why they’re so happy in this video! Can you pick out your favorite dog?
Rain in October—- at least there’s a rainbow accompanying it!
Last night I went over to SP Kennel to visit with the Izzy x Supai offspring. They’re almost five weeks old now and are motoring all over the place! They go by names like “the Big Fat Boy” or “Tiny Black Girl” or “Shy Brown Girl” or… you get the picture. Aliy and Allen will make their first two picks, and then I’ll have a chance to select two puppies. I know a lot of breeders and mushers have specific personality traits or conformation that they’re looking for (and I should probably do the same), but my 5-year-old inner child comes out and says, “Oooo that puppy is cute!” And there you have it. While good conformation is important, I think it’s the heart of a sled dog that matters more, and there’s no way you can tell that at such a young age.
While I don’t have photos of Scarpa and Petzl, they’re sassy as ever. They’ve mastered the “sit” command, which I’ve found very useful. I had never taught sled dogs “sit,” but one day, my friend Mari at ATAO Kennel said she had taught every single one of her sled dogs how to sit. While sitting in a race isn’t particularly important, knowing “sit” is just one more way you can connect with a dog, and it’s a perfect way to get puppies to...
When you come to The Pet Experts, you’ve probably talked to one of our veterinary technicians about your pet’s health.
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The Wood Stove!
We’ve had a few chilly nights (4F yesterday morning!), so it’s kicked our cabin construction into overdrive! When temperatures start to drop that low, it means the ground is freezing, and any projects that involve dirt work better be about finished. Luckily, Derek finished connecting our water just in time! If you recall from last fall, we pounded a well next to the cabin. The well has supplied us with water all summer and fall, but it hasn’t been connected to the cabin itself. A submersible pump propelled water out of a hose at the top of the well casing, which meant that when temperatures drop below freezing, the hose was pretty much guaranteed to freeze. To connect the cabin to the well, we dug a three-foot trench, cut a hole in well casing, and connected the pump to a pipe going to the cabin. We then insulated the pipe to keep it from freezing in the winter. And truthfully, when I say “we,” I mostly mean Derek. I occasionally gave a hand, but most the time, I was busy running dogs or doing kennel work! I’m continually impressed by Derek’s can-do attitude and patience when tackling these projects with...
Over the past few days, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Eagle and boat seven miles down the Yukon River to visit with Matt Hall’s parents, Wayne and Scarlett, in their beautiful, remote home. Wayne and Scarlett live a truly subsistence lifestyle. Their property can only be accessed by bush plane (there is a large gravel bar near their house), dog team in the winter, or boat in the summer. Every summer, they put a fish wheel into the Yukon to catch anywhere from 4,000-5,000 Chum salmon to feed their sled dogs. Several years ago, Wayne ran the Yukon Quest; however, now Scarlett and Wayne own and operate Bush Alaska Expeditions, a remote dog touring business that offers the real deal.
Tyler, Matt, and I drove to Eagle (about an 8-10 hour drive depending on road conditions). We combined it with a trip to Delta to grab our winter’s supply of straw for our kennels. Once we arrived in the small community of Eagle (population 65ish), Wayne and their handler, Greg, picked us, and we took their boat downriver to their homestead. You might recognize the city of Eagle, Alaska as a checkpoint in the Yukon Quest. While the Taylor Highway does go to Eagle, it isn’t maintained...
On March 23rd, Derek and I were married by close friends (Moore/Zirkle clan) who are basically family. On September 23rd (6 months later), we had a big party to celebrate! All my family flew up for the festivities (Mom, Dad, Nick, Cass, and Tom) as well as Derek’s parents (Rick and Sue). What they thought would be a vacation turned into a “work-cation” as they eagerly…or supportively rather… helped us to hang sheet rock in the upstairs and bathroom of the house. Not only that, but my mom and Cass single-handedly planned the party (I’m not much of a party planner). Even though it rained their entire visit, unpleasant weather can’t dampen this family’s spirit! They made our party an evening to remember. Good friend Amanda Brooks took our group photos as well as made that impressive cake!!
A big thank you to all the friends and family who came to help us celebrate!
Olsons and Pattons
If your pet were critically injured tomorrow, and needed to be hospitalized, could you afford the bill? We all strive
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We’re very excited to announce the arrival of Izzy and Supai puppies! Izzy is an all-star at SP Kennel with 4 Iditarods and 3 Yukon Quests on her resume. She’s spunky, happy, and an amazing sled dog! We were so thrilled when Supai was selected as her date.
Supai has been a core athlete for Ryno Kennel since the very beginning and finished every race. He has an insatiable appetite, strong work ethic, and one of the friendliest personalities around. Supai was born at SP Kennel (I was visiting my brother in Ecuador at the time) and his mother is SP Kennel’s, Scooter. We’re hoping these pups are the perfect mixture of both their parents. Perhaps a future Golden Harness Winner in the mix?
Until the pups are older, they’ll be staying with Izzy at SP Kennel. Eventually, Ryno Kennel will be taking home two of these pups to join our puppy class. We can’t wait for them to join the team!
A couple free loaders on our run!
After a few weeks of fall training, all the dogs are looking amazing! I may be biased, but I’d say they’re the best dogs out there! Here’s a short blurb about each ADULT athlete’s performance so far this season. I’ll be doing another blog post updating everyone on the yearlings’ performances as well as the retired athletes.
Amelia- She’s looking strong and focused. Amelia is one who moderately enjoys human contact, but prefers to hang with her canine buddies. I don’t think she particularly cares if I’m on the team or if it’s some other human. She’s a great eater and works hard, so if she maintains focus, she’ll be vying for a spot in the A Team.
Badger- Badger has Perm’s limitless energy. With his thick coat and good appetite, I think he’ll mature into a fantastic Quest athlete. He has a tough head and leads occasionally in training. Badger is looking strong so far this season, so if he maintains his weight (youngsters can have a hard time keeping weight on), he’ll be right in there with the core team.
Boone- Boone is sassy and jazzed for training. I love the energy she brings to a team. She made the Quest team last year and was one of the...
Dog lovers everywhere know how wonderful it can be to share life with a canine companion; the bond we share
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