As most of you know, I’m a fanatic animal lover, and don’t like using animals for our amusement.
Prior to going to Alaska in 2010, the Iditarod fell into that category of things I just didn’t like.
That is until I saw the dogs and learned that they just LOVE to run. The trainers would come out to the kennels to select a team to go out and do a demonstration and the dogs went CRAZY barking at the top of their lungs “PICK ME! PICK ME!” It was quite a sight!
So this trip, we discovered that there is a summer training camp for sled dogs just outside Skagway near the old site of the town of Dyea on the Taiya River, right near where we did our float trip, and we wanted the girls to see them.
Hannah studied the Iditarod in school this year, so it would be especially meaningful to her.
Once we got to the camp we boarded vehicles that looked like firefighter movers (UNIMOG) for the beautiful trip up from the base camp to the training course.
If you aren’t familiar with modern day mushing, the first thing you notice is that the dogs are not the big, furry huskies portrayed in movies. Those dogs were the ones used to pull sleds of supplies. Racing dogs have been bred to be smaller and faster – a pointer/husky cross, and they all look different!
When the dogs saw us coming they got all excited, knowing they were about to be able to run! This was our team…
And they’re off!
Once we got through with the track, our musher introduced us to our dogs, told us a little about each one, including stories about their temperament, and we got to pet those who like getting to know strangers.
Our two favorites were Donald and the princess, Callie.
Donald HAS to be on the left side of the team, and somehow he got hooked up on the right. So he took matters into his own paws, and jumped the midline. His partner, Kate was not impressed and kept looking back to see if the boss was going to do something about it!
Callie? Well, she’s a princess, what more do you need to know? We love princesses. She was so calm she got let off-line so we could love her up.
Within a few minutes, they were rarin’ to go again!
Back at base camp, we watched as one of the trainers gave us an overview of the sport, talked about the history, and basically shared her love of the sport.
And then it was “puppytime! What fun it was to snuggle these 4 1/2 week old bundles! And the puppy breath! Heavenly!
Even Mr. Tattered was enamored of them!
We were VERY tempted to stick a few in our pockets, but they were wise to us, and said they’d be doing a puppy count before we left. We wouldn’t REALLY sneak off with them, but we sure would have liked to!
Then we moved over to the pen with the older puppies, and the girls giggled away as the puppies ran ofter them around and around the pen. The girls gave out before the puppies did. When we finally had to leave, the puppies squealed and squealed for their new friends to come back!
This photo sort of summed up the day.
Yeah. We pretty much loved them. AND, I’m pretty sure we need puppies…