Kennel Club
Kennel Club #BanShockCollars campaign set to be won in England
The Kennel Club is delighted that, following a meeting with Rt Hon Michael Gove and Ross Thomson MP just last week, it is understood that a ban on both the sale and use of shock collars is to be announced across the UK shortly, following a consultation period on the terms of such a ban, including a total import ban and a possible amnesty.
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Five Hero Dogs
Five Hero Dogs Named as Finalists in hero dog awards
Judges from the Kennel Club, the UK’s largest dog welfare organisation, have selected five inspiring finalists to go forward for the public vote, with the winner being announced in the Genting Arena at the Birmingham NEC on the final day of Crufts, the world’s greatest dog show, on Sunday 11th March. These five dog heroes are just some of the dogs celebrated at the show for the ways that they enrich our lives.
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New partner
The Kennel Club announce Purina PRO Plan as their new partner in pet nutrition
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “We are delighted to be working with Purina PRO Plan who share many of the same beliefs as the Kennel Club in terms of responsible dog breeding through the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeder Scheme and the important role that our canine companions play in our society.
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Foreign Secretary backs call to ban
Foreign Secretary backs call to ban shock collars
In a video posted on Ross Thomson MP’s twitter account, the Foreign Secretary states: “I am absolutely shocked to discover that electric collars are being used on dogs as utensils of discipline and education. There are far better ways of training your dog. Just as you don’t need to cane children anymore, we’ve moved on from that – let’s move on from electric shock dog collars.”
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Kennel Club welcomes consultation
Kennel Club welcomes consultation on third-party puppy sale ban
The Kennel Club, whose own regulations explicitly ban the sale of puppies to third parties, has long called for an end to the sale of puppies in pet shops and by other third party retailers, as puppy farmers often use such outlets to sell their pups to unsuspecting members of the public who never see the terrible conditions that the pups were raised in.
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Say bonjour
Say bonjour to the UK’s newest pedigree dog – the Barbet
Following the ‘entente chaleureuse’ established between Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron at last week’s summit in London, Anglo-French relations in the world of dogs also look set to become even more cordial after official recognition of an ancient French breed in the UK.
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  • Kennel Club
  • Five Hero Dogs
  • New partner
  • Foreign Secretary backs call to ban
  • Kennel Club welcomes consultation
  • Say bonjour

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How Covid is Like a Runaway Dog Team

I lost my team a couple of weeks ago. Everyone is ok. I just had to write that down before I continued. Losing your team is every musher’s worst nightmare. A lot of books or blogs that are written by novice mushers joke about losing a team, but there’s absolutely nothing funny about it. It’s exceptionally dangerous for the dogs. A small team might stop with just a verbal “WHOA!” but most larger teams will not. And my team was no exception. I’ve been mushing for 11 years now, and I knew it would happen some day. I always figured it would be more dramatic, like I was skewered on a branch and let go of the sled only because I had a stick through my gut. But it wasn’t anything nearly that dramatic. We stopped to snack. I walked up the team petting the dogs and feeding everyone a chunk of beef. They got excited and popped the snowhook. I leapt on the sled and rode briefly on the bag. Then I tried to set the hook from the sled bag and fell off in the process. The moment of seeing the team run away as I yelled whoa…I wanted to vomit. I immediately began yelling for Mandy (who was running a team behind me). She mushed up, jumped in her sled bag, I hopped on the runners, and we mushed...


I lost my team a couple of weeks ago. Everyone is ok. I just had to write that down before I continued. Losing your team is every musher’s worst nightmare. A lot of books or blogs that are written by novice mushers joke about losing a team, but there’s absolutely nothing funny about it. It’s exceptionally dangerous for the dogs. A small team might stop with just a verbal “WHOA!” but most larger teams will not. And my team was no exception. I’ve been mushing for 11 years now, and I knew it would happen some day. I always figured it would be more dramatic, like I was skewered on a branch and let go of the sled only because I had a stick through my gut. But it wasn’t anything nearly that dramatic. We stopped to snack. I walked up the team petting the dogs and feeding everyone a chunk of beef. They got excited and popped the snowhook. I leapt on the sled and rode briefly on the bag. Then I tried to set the hook from the sled bag and fell off in the process. The moment of seeing the team run away as I yelled whoa…I wanted to vomit. I immediately began yelling for Mandy (who was running a team behind me). She mushed up, jumped in her sled bag, I hopped on the runners, and we mushed as fast as we could after my team. I handed my phone to Mandy and she began calling. Within minutes, Kalyn, Derek, Matt, and Will were on snowmachines racing towards us. I was on the phone with Aliy as she was firing up her snowmachine when I came around the corner, and there was the team in a big, tangled ball. Miraculously, everyone was ok. My body trembled as all the anxiety and stress of those few minutes came surging out. As Derek says, it was a cheap lesson. And one that I’ll never forget or take for granted.

The reason a loose team is so dangerous is because it’s exceptionally hard for them to stop. All 10 or 12 dogs have to consciously decide to stop at the exact same moment, and even then, the sled will probably slide into the back of the wheel dogs if a tree or deep snow doesn’t slow the sled first. And as we all know, sled dogs love to pull, so the pressure of the tugline is their happy place. It’s how they feel secure and at peace. That’s why Covid is like a loose dog team. We’re all running along, working, but we’re out of control. Sure the fast and healthy dogs can sprint all the way home. The dogs who don’t need to poop, they’re good to go. But the older dogs or the dogs who really need to use the bathroom or the dogs who accidentally misstep- they’re about to get tangled and be seriously injured or killed, but we’re all still running along. The leaders could decide we need to stop and slam on the brakes. It’d result in a massive mess of tangles and lines. Dogs might get grumpy with each other, but at least we’d stop. And everyone would be ok. But here I am in team, running along, pulling. Giving tours to people from out-of-state. Planning to compete in races that will bring together large groups of people and travel to remote communities. And I’m doing it because this is what I know and love and feel comfortable doing (and we are taking precautions like masks and congregating outside). But is it the right thing? Maybe I need to put on the brakes and stop pulling. I might not be able to stop the team, but maybe I can slow us down enough so that one more dog can keep up. Alaska’s Covid-19 case count has hit an all-time high. We had a record 933 new cases reported Saturday. Our ICU beds are more than 75% full, with only 30 beds remaining of the 128 in the state. And while I love Alaskans, the “you can’t tell me how to live my life” mentality makes it really difficult for the general populous to support a mask mandate. Even though my job (tourism and racing) is essential to me and feeding our pack, is it essential to society? Probably not.

But our decisions in these next few months will have many repercussions. Repercussions for our business, Chena Outdoor Collective, a major way we support ourselves. If we close down, how will we remain financially stable? Repercussions for our kennel and sponsorships, the main way we support the dogs and our mushing lifestyle. If we don’t race, will we loose sponsors for future years? This winter is probably the last season of racing for some of our older all-stars; would we miss out on what promises to be one incredible race team? And repercussions, most importantly, for the health of the people in Alaska. If we keep giving tours and racing, will our health care system become overwhelmed and people die unnecessarily? Would we be contributing to the problem?

I’m writing this blog post not as an announcement of what we’re going to do but just as a window into what’s going on in our lives and how Covid-19 has impacted us. It’s a way for me to look back in several years and remember the winter of 2020-2021 for Ryno Kennel.

I try to keep Ryno Kennel from ever having an opinion on topics that aren’t mushing related, so I hope this post doesn’t upset sponsors or discourage fans from following, but also we live in crazy times.

In the meantime, we’re training for the races and enjoying the Two Rivers trails with this rockstar team of dogs.

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