Sunday, December 30, 2007

Longer miles...

Ok, so here I am...a bit frosty. And this was after I'd already started dripping! I took the dogs on a 40 miler on the atv and boy did it get cold down there in the flats! Basically, that's all swampy muskeg in the summers...some very low lying ground. Brrr! Honestly though, only my fingers got cold...but, that was taken care of with some heat packs in my mitts. I have to tell you...that was the LAST long run on the atv...that's just plain miserable. And what a rough run on the dogs! I had to stop and clean feet a few times, as they started getting ice balls. Still, they ran strong and we went across the ponds just a mile from home doing 13-14mph. Cool! The line up for today was: Sunshine & Feather in lead, Chevy & China in swing, Zen & Just, Dusk & Booger, Jericho & Tricky, Hilti & Ahab, and Rocket & Inu in wheel (my wheel boys!). We went all the way out to the trapline loop, then headed back. I saw 4 different teams out there, all on sleds, all running 8-10 dogs. I had a head on pass with Olaf...but he had a little trouble and had to hook down. His hook held beautifully. I came up upon another guy after that, who had a tangle (probably from a head on with Olaf). My dogs were going by nicely (as they do most of the time...they're pros at passing...usually)...then Sunshine for some reason, decided to turn around and say "Hi" to the other team. I hollered at him to line out and he just a small snafu. About 2-3 miles after that, I pulled Sunshine out of lead and put Chevy up front with Feather. These two dogs are awesome together! Chevy has this beautiful flying trot....he even trots at 15mph! He and Feather make a nice team up front and had us doing 10mph up the switchback hill. Nice! It took us 4 hours to do the 40 mile run...but with how hard and rough it is, it's easily equivalent to a 50-60 miler on sleds. We came into the yard and I gave the dogs nice sized fat snacks. They were all wagging their tails and pretty much inhaled those snacks! It's a good feeling to look at those fur kids so happy.

Zen is currently in heat (dang it!)...I'm really hoping she goes out by Cantwell time. It's such a pain to run a girl in heat. But, luckily Zen is all business, as are 'most' of my boys...of course, most of the dogs in our kennel are fixed, so it's generally not a problem. There are only 5 boys out of the 14 dog team who aren't neutered...which means I can move dogs around as I need to.

Wednesday will be a good 50 miler on sleds. We're planning on heading up to Stiles Creek Cabin trail. I'm hoping the trail is in good shape. Last I heard, there wasn't a whole lot of snow out towards the Angel Creek area. We'll see. We're going to break the team up into two 7 dog teams, just to play it safe. Well, I'm off. After 2 days of rough, 40 mile runs on that cold atv..I think I need a nap. Ha ha ha!! ;o)

-Were you a Rogue today??

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Cold run!

Devlyn and I took the A team out on a 24 mile run today with the atv. We plan on taking the sleds out tomorrow, if all goes well. But, we had a time crunch, so the atv it was. When we left the house, it was 0F. We live up on a hill, and our temps are almost always 10-20 degrees warmer than low lying areas in the winter time. However, we bundled up and off we went. The dogs ran really well for me. I'm a bit more cautious than Manny, so I kept the team slow on the way out, running about 10-12mph. Dusk and Just were in lead, Feather & Zen in swing, then China & Chevy, Booger & Sunshine, Jericho & Tricky, Hilti & Ahab, and finally Rocket & Inu in wheel. These are some very strong dogs! They pull the atv even with both brakes on. Yikes! Still, I was able to keep them under control, especially with the fresh snow on the trails. We met a beautiful team of siberians on a sled...I think there were 8-10 dogs. I pulled the atv off the side of the trail and our dogs lined out nicely, mostly on the right. The other team balked but their musher was able to call them on and they finally passed. My dogs did great, except stinking Sunshine...he started sniping at the other team until I scolded him...then he stopped. We took off from there and ran down the switchbacks to Anaconda Creek trail. Running through the clear cut was really COLD! The wind was blowing just a bit, but the temps must have been close to -20F. Devlyn & I whipped out the hand warmers and a few times, I had Devlyn get off the atv and walk up and down the dogs, petting them so that he'd warm up his feet and get the blood pumping. It's mighty cold sitting on an atv...brr! My feet got cold towards the end of the run, but I didn't get off the atv except for one time. Will test them with sleds next. It's really important to have quality gear and even more important to try the gear before the races.

Devlyn drove the dog team for a little while. It was pretty cool to see him running the atv with 14 dogs out front. The dogs listened to him as well. Nice! As we hooked back onto the wood cutting road trail, a friend was out with a 10 dog team on a sled. He was ahead of us, but we were going a bit faster, so I called trail and the dogs started a running pass. Very neat! They passed beautifully and I said Hi to Tom on my way by. Then, we started up the switchbacks, which are all climbing. Dusk decided to slow down, which was not cool since we'd just past Tom's swifters...but, I passed an alternate trail that Tom took, so I didn't have to worry about him getting hung up behind us. I stopped to switch Dusk back into swing and put my little Feather girl up front with Just. That did the trick! We ran up those hills at about 10mph. Now that may not sound like much to some...but it is GREAT to have dogs charge up hills like this. That saves a lot of time on races. I also don't let my dogs go flying down hills, as that's when they get injured from pounding on joints going too fast. We did the run in 2 hours, the dogs came in jazzed. Hilti almost pulled me off my feet when I led him back to his house...he wasn't even tired! Sunshine yanked on Manny too. So, hopefully we'll get the sleds out tomorrow and go for a longer run. Cheers!

-Were you a rogue today?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sponsors are AWESOME!

Here's Conor and I, showing off last year's sponsor gear!
Many folks don't realize what it takes to put together a quality racing kennel. For us here at Rogue Summit, it's a family affair. Manny, Devlyn, myself and soon, Conor, all run dogs. We've worked hard to develop a competitive team of excellent race dogs. We started running dogs back in 1994, with our first siberian husky, Stika. We'd been inspired by watching the start of the Iditarod, while we were stationed in Alaska (Navy). As a girl, I used to pretend to 'mush' with my keeshond, Tasha, before I really knew what sled dogs were about. It wasn't a long stretch to imagine running a team of huskies with a just seemed meant to be. Well, it wasn't long before we started building our "kennel." We soon had 3 dogs, then 5 that we were tooling around with. We quickly discovered that Washington State wasn't such a great place to run dogs. Off to Montana we went and before we knew it, we had 30 dogs! We'd started with siberians; but, quickly found that Alaska Huskies could far outrun these beautiful, fluffy furballs. It wasn't long before we began to think, "Hey, wouldn't it be fun to do some races?" By this time, we'd already read as much as we could about Irod. Plus, we'd heard about the Yukon Quest and read every single book we could get out hands on. It became Manny's dream to one day run this fantastic race. We knew that if we wanted to be serious about it, we needed to be in a place where we could run dogs right from our home. A place where a musher could learn from other mushers. A place where we could fit in and belong. That's what led us to Two Rivers here in Alaska.

It's been 9 years since we came back to Alaska and Man, what a ride! We are truly blessed to live in such a wonderful place, close to town; yet, with a whole wilderness for our 'backyard'. We've built our kennel from the ground up, gaining experience, slowly working our way to the Yukon Quest. We are just about at that goal now. We have such a fine group of high caliber athletes in the yard. We have direct access to a vast amount of training trails right out of our house. Manny is working hard to train the team for this year's races. We can't wait to hit the trails on sleds.

However, we can't realize our dream alone. Sponsors help make our dreams become a reality. Sponsorships come in many shapes and forms, from Corporate level sponsorships, to individuals who sponsor a dog, even down to folks who simply provide a needed item for races. Even the smallest bit helps. Last year, I ran the Yukon Quest 300 in Whitehorse...but, I never would have made it there without the generous help of sponsors like Cuppachena Coffee, Ginger Stock-McKenzie (Arbonne International), Grubstake Feeds and the staff at Hutchison High School. Some provided entry fees, some provided dog food and meat, others provided booties for the dogs' feet. All in all, they helped to get us down the trail. These folks were instrumental in getting team RS out there on the race trails, gaining experience for our future bid at the Yukon Quest 1000.

This year, Manny and I are both working on qualifiers for the Yukon Quest. Our plans include: Cantwell Classic 200 (Tammi), the YQ300 (Tammi), the Two Rivers 200 (Manny) and possibly the Taiga 300 (Manny). Manny plans to run the Yukon Quest in 2009 and Tammi may run it in 2010. Hopefully, we can make our dreams a reality.

Sponsorship allows folks to be an integral part of our team, even if they can't make it to Alaska to go for a sled ride with us, or race the Yukon Quest. These people receive training updates on their "dog", receive "insider" tips and stories from the trail; basically, they become a part of Rogue Summit Kennel. Folks who can sponsor at a higher level, know that they helped fuel our team down the trail, as their contributions will go to getting the high quality feed the dogs need. A dog sponsor will know that they are providing the necessary gear and supplies needed to help their chosen dog along the trail in comfort. A bootie sponsor knows that they help to provide protection for our dogs' paws; a much needed asset to keep the dogs in great shape. Or perhaps someone provides warm gloves or heat packs for keeping Manny's or my hands warm at -40F while we're on the trail. These folks that help team Rogue Summit make it to the starting line are in essence with us on the runners, rooting us, content knowing that they help get us down the trail. Now those folks are truly AWESOME!

Manny and I also bring our love of mushing into the classroom. I am a High School teacher; therefore, I love the fact that I can bring my two passions together....teaching and racing sled dogs. Manny and I do presentations for students by bringing in our gear, sleds and some of our key sled dogs to the classroom. We are fully committed to education and believe in what we do. This is a blessing for us and allows us to share our knowledge and promote this fantastic sport to future generations.

So, join us on the trails this year and in the years to come, as we continue working our way to the dream that is "The Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race"!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hangin' around the house

The temps have plummeted outside, it's -20F and dropping here at our house, while in town, the temps are -36F and dropping. Running at these temps on an atv is just plain miserable. Plus, the skinny butts have finally starting putting on a little weight, so we thought it'd be better for the dogs to take a day or two off. So, hangin' around the house is what's doin' right now.

Our house is definitely a cozy, full one! I have to chuckle when I read that folks have one or two dogs in the house. We have 7 of them, plus the cats...but Manny says that the 3 lil' dogs don't count. Ha ha ha! Above, you can see (left to right) Onyx curled up on his bed, with Radar, the GSP curled up next to him. Jaeger is wondering what I'm doing with that flashy thing Again! and Baron is taking up the whole other big dog bed. I made a couple of beds for the dogs, because the ones in the store are either real expensive or just weren't big enough for our pooches. So, I made a few for the furkiddlings. You can see, they sure do love them!

Here, you can see my little Monty Mo (short for Montgomery) and Otto (behind Monty). Monty is cuddled up next to me on the couch, there's his chew toy under his jaw there...yeah, he sleeps with it at times. Monty is a Cairn Terrier/Yorkie mix that a very nice lady needed to find a home for. I've always dreamed of having a "Toto" it just seemed meant to be. Monty is only 5 months old but has already wiggled his way into our hearts.

Needless to say, we are very blessed to have a full house. Life is good! Now, just 3 more days until finals are over at school...then 2 Wonderful Weeks Off! Wahoo!

Happy Holidays to everyone, from all of us Rogues here at Rogue Summit Kennel!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Snow in the forecast

Rain wants to know if she can come play, too! She's so silly...she somehow manages to wrap her chain around her pole, even though she does have a swivel. Silly girl! She sure is a happy girl though, and very pretty! Odin's there in the background, romping around. Our dogs here sure do have a good time...though that makes sense, as we like to play with them, love on them and just have fun. Rain and her siblings are still too young for any kind of running in team, but they do like to frolic around the yard and generally just cause a ruckus.

Snow is in the forecast!! There is a snow advisory through tomorrow night and it has already started coming down. About 3 inches are predicted for tonight, with another 6 inches tomorrow. Yeehaw!! Now THAT'S what we're talkin' bout! ;o) I sure do hope Mother Nature treats us kindly and gives us a good dumping. Only 1 more week of school and then we'll be off for 2 glorious weeks of running dogs, spending time with family and just plain having fun. I can't WAIT! Manny, Devlyn and I plan on taking out 2 sled teams the day after Christmas. Conor, who is still a bit small for training dogs with us, will be at his daycare, which means that the rest of us will have several hours to run dogs. Devlyn sometimes runs with me, standing on the runners in front of me while we run a 6 dog team. He enjoys doing this, and so do I; because the way his face lights up with that huge smile after we've completed a run is just awesome! He's looking forward to racing in the 2 dog classes in the Jr Mushers' races this season....he's been scheming and planning which 2 dogs he will race with this year. He's trying to talk us into letting him run Jericho and Sunshine...but he'll really have to convince his Dad on that one. Those 2 dogs are S-T-R-O-N-G and FAST! We'll see what happens.

The A team did a hard 30 mile run today up the Firebreak. Feather and Zen were in lead, followed by Chevy and China in swing. Rocket and Inu manned the wheel position again today. Those two just know what they are doing, for sure. Manny again had to drag the tie off rope behind the's definitely time to get a new quick release/tie off. The dogs threaded their way down through the trees, crossed the ponds easily. The overflow that was between the ponds has a nice layer of snow over it, making it easy going. The dogs ran a steady 10-12mph up the hills. At one point, he had to stop and clean everyone's feet, as the fresh snow created ice balls on the dogs' feet. He'd stopped the dogs at the base of a steep hill; but, the dogs got anxious and began pull the atv, in gear, up the hill! Sheesh! We definitely don't need to do any more muscle building, that's for sure. Manny said that he hit the 15 mile mark or so and didn't see a turn around. He went a little farther until they started up another steep incline. He decided to just turn the team around at that point, as they were really working hard and he didn't want to push them any more than he was already. That meant that he had to turn the whole 14 dog string around on the trail. Good thing the dogs are good about it! They came in, doing that hilly run in just about 3 hours. That is awesome for dogs who are running with over 800 pounds. The dogs came in a bit tired; but that's definitely to be expected. Manny said that no one had been up there where he took the team, so they were running through some fresh snow.

Well, that's about it for now. Let's keep our fingers crossed that we get all the snow (or more) that the weathermen are saying we're supposed to. Wouldn't that be a Great Christmas present?!? Happy Holidays to all of you! Give your loved-ones (both 2 legged and 4 legged) hugs and kisses! Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

30 milers

Sunshine says, "Alright! Let's go running!" And that's what they did. Manny took the team out for a 30 miler today, down into the flats, across the Little Chena and around a loop. He said that the team had to go through 4 glaciated overflows, dry on the way out, but water on the way back. Dusk didn't much like the overflow, but Just yanked him straight through it all. The dogs ran so nice, pulling well. Even Sunshine and Jericho had no trouble with this run....even though they jumped up 6 miles. Manny said that the run was pretty smooth, until he got down to the which point the tussocks made a bumpy, bouncy ride. Still, the dogs didn't seem to notice. Before the start of the run, they once again popped the quick release, but Manny had a rope tied off as well. He had to untie the rope from the pipe, as the dogs had it pulled so tight that he couldn't get it off the hitch. Manny let it drag until he could stop the dogs a bit further down the trail. He said that the dogs were bending the pipe, they were pulling so hard. Amazing!

Manny saw more wildlife along the trail. He saw another owl, but he wasn't sure what type. He stopped the team and looked for the owl, which had alighted on the top of a spruce tree. Turns out, it was a Great Gray Owl. He found a picture of it online and showed me...what a gorgeous bird! It is awesome to get to have these kinds of experiences in this great land that we live in. Too cool! I told him to take the camera along next time and get some pictures to share.

No Junior races this weekend. We were going to sign Devlyn up for the 2 dog class and Conor for the 1 dog...but they dragged the trail and said that it needs another 6 inches of snow to make it safe enough to race on. Ho hum. Another low snow year so far wreaking havoc on races.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

B Team Runnin'

Here's Balian, wanting to know if we're going running.
You bet, Buddy! Devlyn and I took the B team out for a run today. It was such an awesome day! We got another inch or two of snow, as it came down off and on all day. So, after Manny finished plowing out the drive and the dog yard, we all started harnessing and hooking up. The B team has several young dogs in it, so they have a tendency to chomp on harnesses. This means that most of that team needs to be harnessed then directly hooked up. Then, they don't chew. I was happy to see Zeus, Peiper, Odin and Balian stand there, lined out nicely, waiting to run. Since Devlyn and I were only running 12 dogs today and Manny runs 14 on the A team, we ran Peiper and Zeus each by themselves. They run GREAT by themselves!! Peiper has this beautiful lope, his whole body just stretches fluidly, making it look easy. Too Cool! Balian ran with Odin and those two looked very good together. Balian has a gorgeous trot that is smooth and flowing. Odin matched him stride for stride too. Though Odin likes to run on the right, so at one point, Devlyn had to go up and toss Odin over Balian, so that Odin didn't crowd Balian anymore. Riley and Munchkin were in lead, and they took my commands nicely. Too bad I goofed up and made them run past a turn we were supposed to take. Munch and Riley took it at first, but being the good dogs they are, they listened my haw and on we went. That's when I realized we were supposed to take that turn. That was alright, we took the next one, though it confused the dogs and we ended up with a small tangle. No worries, Devlyn held the atv while I fixed tugs and a neckline. The dogs did really well chewing, no snarling, just tail wagging. I made sure to tell the yearlings what good boys they are...Balian is funny, as he rubs his head on you like a cat. Goofy! Off we went flying across the pond. For older dogs and youngsters, they were hauling a good 15mph! :o) Not bad for Riley up front. Banjo and Jenny were running together and were "invisible dogs" meaning they just stayed into their harnesses, heads down, bodies churning, pulling hard. We came back in with the dogs looking spry. Ody and Achilles, who ran in swing, were still barking and lunging. Of course, these 7 year olds have been around the block a few times with me, so they aren't having any troubles doing the shorter miles that the B team is doing. Even Old Torus at 9 years old had no problems. What a nice bunch! Well, I'm off to bed. Another Monday morning will be coming soon. Laters!

Friday, December 7, 2007

SNOW!!! :o)

You looking at me?! Here's Chevy, waiting for scritches.
Alright!! I was so happy to wake up to fresh snow on the deck, with more of that lovely, white stuff coming down from the sky. We didn't get a whole lot, but at least an inch or three...hey, I'll take that! The weather report says snow on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, as well. Man, I really, REALLY hope the weatherman is right this time...we could sure use it. The dogs are about ready for 30s on the atv already, so it would be nice to be able to get on sleds, to start doing 40s-50s with them. They are having no trouble adding miles at this point, and Manny says that whether he goes out and does a 15 mile or a 25 mile run with the dogs, they come in looking good, pulling well. That's definitely good news and heartening to hear. Honestly, most years we feel that we push the dogs up in miles too early in the season. So, we really focused on many reps at lower miles, moving up the increments very slowly (almost painfully seemed like at times!), running 4-5 days a week. What that did was give us some well-muscled, well-conditioned dogs who seem to be able to handle hills, ice and fresh snow. Time will tell and we'll see how the dogs perform on the races this year, as compared to previous years.

Dusk and Just led the team down into the flats again today. Manny said that he left a little later, because it was snowing so hard, he wanted to let it lighten up a bit first. It didn't let up for quite a while and he went ahead and took the team out with it still coming down pretty good. He said that the dogs were breaking trail pretty much the whole way, playing through the new snow. What's nice is that they are keeping their speed up, while still being able to power up hills. Manny said that he kept stopping every few miles to check feet, as the fresh snow ould've caused iceballs. He's seeing lots of wildlife on runs, which is pretty cool. Today, he ran past a cow and calf down in the clearcuts, then even saw a great-horned owl in flight! Awesome! Well, take care and keep checking back as we continue training the dogs and preparing for our upcoming races.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A boy and his dog

Here is Jaeger and Devlyn. Jaeger is now a year old, and as you can see, a good sized guy! Jaeger chose Devlyn as his "human" not too long after he came to live with us at 6 weeks old. Jaeger always wants to be with Devlyn. If Devlyn is outside, Jaeger knows it and will whine until we let him out to be with his boy. One time, Manny was wrestling with Devlyn, when Jaeger started to bark and growl....he must have thought that Manny was hurting Devlyn! There is truly a strong bond there and while Jaeger does love all of us and listens to us all...that dog lives for his boy. What a lucky kid Devlyn is to have such a faithful, wonderful friend to grow up with. There isn't much that can hold a candle to the love and devotion of a dog. Beautiful.

Upping miles

The dogs are trucking along, doing wonderfully. Manny upped the miles yesterday and took the dogs down to the flats. He upped their mileage by 4 miles and they did it easy! Guess all that foundation training we've been doing is starting to pay off. They are pulling hard, running well and look great! So today, Manny took the team up the Firebreak a few miles. He said that the trail was so icy, that when he was having the dogs pull up the hills, they were slipping. Not good. He started running the atv up the hills so they don't have to pull and they ran much better, without sliding on the slick trail. He'd planned to keep them at the same distance, but he realized that the first turn around was too short. He ended up going to the next turnaround, which took them 2 miles farther than they'd done yesterday. The dogs had no trouble doing the extra miles and came in looking good. Now, THAT'S Awesome!!! Tee hee hee!

We're feeding the dogs like crazy and they are starting to put some meat on their bones now. We actually have a few fat dogs! Those dogs are the ones we'll have to watch to make sure they don't get wrist or shoulder injuries from pounding on these concrete, icy trails.

In other news, we had a wolf visit last night. He came up the drive and was sniffing around the meat saw, on the other side of the truck. He stayed out of the yard light and stuck to the shadows. The Karelians were going berserk, which by the way, did not even phase the wolf; while the sled dogs all hid in their houses, not making a peep. Manny went out with a headlamp and before he'd even stepped off the porch, the wolf shot off down the driveway. A bit later he came around again, but circled around through the woods and took off. So, while we aren't positive the outdoor light helped, it certainly didn't hurt! Keep your pets locked up at night and make sure you check out any ruckus you might hear outside.


Sunday, December 2, 2007

Mini "Hulks"

I snapped a few pics of the dogs this evening and wanted to share a couple. I'm just amazed at how the dogs' bodies have built up. While I definitely want to see a bit more "fat" on the dogs, particularly going into the Quest 300, they certainly don't look bad. I've been so worried about some of the dogs not having that fat pad between the pelvic bone...and couldn't figure out why they weren't putting on weight. Instead, they were building muscle. BEEEAUTIFUL!! We're going to keep feeding like we have been, as most of the dogs are looking great, but we still have a few that need to build up a bit of fat on them. So, we'll keep giving them dual feedings of kibble, along with their meat/rice "soup" at night, and their meat meal water in the morning. In the morning, we also give them psyllium (they had a bug causing loose stools), and corn oil added to their kibble in the pm. It makes more work for us...but our furkids are totally worth it!
Meet Zen. This angle isn't great for seeing her build, but if you look close, you can see how much muscle she's put on. She looks like she has big ole' drumsticks with all that muscle on her thighs. It was hard to get a pic of her, as she just wants to give hugs and kisses.

And here's Booger! It's a little hard to see at this angle, but this dog is bulging all through his shoulders, his back and his thighs!
It's hard to see, but look at those muscles bulging on Jericho. Wooowee! He's just beautiful!
Well, that's all for now. Off to give the 2 legged kiddlings baths and get them off to bed. Monday morning comes early...and it's the start of a brand new week. Take care all and keep on dancin'!
=All of us Rogues ;o)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Muscles building and training

We took the main team out on a nice run yesterday. Man, it was GOOD to get out and run the dogs! We went out and hooked the team up and I have to say...what a difference from the first few runs...or even the past few years even! It was great...we walked dogs up to the line and they just stood there, leaning into their harnesses, wagging their tails, ready to go. But, they were so calm and quiet! I was really happy to see it. Manny had to replace a couple of necklines, and all he had were poly necklines. We were both thinking that they'd get chewed through quickly...but, surprise, surprise...they didn't chew. Well, Sunshine tried chewing on his cable neckline...but left Booger's poly neckline alone. Yay! I ran up to get the dogs to go straight across our road, instead of turning to the regular trail. We wanted to go down to the ponds, then up to the Firebreak...going this way avoids Oh-My-God hill. Of course, Just and Dusk decided they didn't want to listen, so I grabbed their neckline and pulled them across the road. They got the idea fast as they saw the trail ahead of them and took off. Manny had a hard time holding them so I could jump on behind him on the atv. We went down the trail towards the ponds...the dogs were just flying! There are some very tight turns, a narrow trail with trees all over. Eeek! Ok, so that was girlish...but it was fast! Ha ha ha!

There's a good amount of overflow between the ponds, all frozen over of course, but it makes the trail a bit rough. Manny slowed the dogs on the ice...but that made them slip and slide a bit. Once we got through Times Square, Manny & I switched and I drove the team. They ran so well! We were doing a speed run, so I ran the throttle to give the dogs from having to grind. Booger was off and on...we think the kennel picked up a bug, as there had been loose stools earlier in the week. This run though, all looked fine with no diarrhea....except for Booger going on and off his tug, everyone looked good. After a bit, we took Just out of lead and put Chevy up front with Dusk. Chevy has such a beautiful, flying trot! I loved watching him in lead. NICE! We went up and did a loop on the Firebreak, then came back down to the ponds. This time, we ran the dogs across the overflow and they didn't slip and slide like they had. The dogs came into the yard at a lope...which is very cool! They are definitely doing well.

We have a few dogs I call "skinny butts" and well, you can guess why. Though we've split feedings up to twice a day, add rice to their meat at night, giving them a "soup" and dewormed them with Cestex to get any tapeworms that may be causing them to stay thin, they're still skinny. This means that they don't look malnourished or anything, but when I feel their hips, I don't feel the nice fat pad that I like them to have between their hip bones. However, I hadn't been able to see them during the day for the past few weeks. I go to work when it's dark and come home when it's dark. When I went out to help Manny harness and hook up for our run on Friday, I got a good look at the dogs. Holy crow! They look like little bodybuilders! No wonder they don't have any extra "fat"'s all been turned to muscle. The hounds all have those bulging shoulder and thigh muscles...the huskies aren't too far behind, either! What lean, muscular bodies they have. Turns out that Manny has been doing a lot of hard pulling runs, which has trained the dogs to work hard on hills. However he hasn't done many speed runs, as he was trying to make sure the dogs were well muscled and conditioned to avoid injuries. So, now that the dogs are so well-muscled, we'll work on conditioning/speed next...especially once we can switch to sleds. I'll have to get some pictures to show the bulging looks so cool! I just hope that it doesn't slow them down....but hey, look out for this team if we have tough trails like last year! Yikes! :o) Tee hee hee!

Keep on truckin'! =Da Rogues