Rant and Raves - July 2008 thru October 2008

September/October 2008:

We are excited to be sharing the experience of training dogs with our new friend Celeste!  She and Rhonda have been getting up at 6am in order to take advantage of running the dogs during the coolest portion of the day. Without her assistance, we would be falling behind schedule.

Unfortunately, September was punctuated by SAINT passing over the Bridge.  We knew this was the season of his retirement, just did not expect him to decide he'd rather leave us than sit on the bench.   SAINT was truly an amazing sled dog!   Never injured, invisible on the team; earning tight tug awards every run!   He is now buried in the woodland garden next to his mother.  Rest in peace our dear friend and may you sing to your hearts content!

Attended the annual Northern New England Sled Dog Trade Fair.  For 8 years we have been using Taiga harnesses and honestly Love them.   The collared neck seems to fit well on our Siberians vs other manufactured styles.   Apparently, alot of other folks also love the Taiga harnesses, because the past few years production has been regularly backordered.   So, while at the trade fair, we asked Amy Dugan to take some custom measurements of our dogs.   We look forward to trying out Mountain Ridge's harnesses this season.

The TK x DHARMA pups are maturing nicely. At 5 months of age, JESSIE (our cowgirl) clocks in at a whopping 30lbs.

CURLY and JASPER are showing great promise.   CURLY is a nut case in harness.. all attitude... so much like his grandfather it's not funny.    He also has the habit, like KOBE did, of talking while running in harness.  JASPER on the other hand, takes after his father;  quiet, more reserved, wants to please.  Since we are training two 8 dog teams right now, 4 dogs get a chance to run in lead each time we go out.   The usual crew of dependables are being paired up with RHONE, GRANITE and RUBY.   ALLAGASH and JELLO refuse to retire!  They both have impressed us with a few rocking runs in lead next to HALLEY!

All 4 of our intact females are in season.   Assuming they are on a 6 month cycle, we'll have plenty of breeding options for consideration come April/May time frame!

August 2008:

For the past few weeks, New England has been plagued by a crazy weather pattern (no doubt a sign of Global Warming). The South Eastern and Central coastal region of New Hampshire is recovering from the aftermath of a tornado. The roar of the storm reverberated like a jet engine as it passed; scary considering we live 8 miles from where the twister first touched down. In addition, we have been enduring daily afternoon thunder/lightening storms. Thankfully... mornings are starting to cool off and the air has notes of that exciting fall essence!

Our prior handler and someone we call friend, is Director of the 4H camp at Bear Brook State Park. Chris has been prodding us for a few years now to conduct a sled dog related presentation. Well, who doesn’t LOVE puppies?! So Dharma and the pups enjoyed a few field trips up to Allenstown. The pups had the opportunity to free run, drive in the dog truck, hugged by strangers and learn to swim.

This year after Rhonda participated in the annual Sandown 5 Miler, Bob drove the dog truck with RAVEN sitting proudly in the passenger seat, in the Old Home Day parade. As a follow up; we submitted to an interview and kennel tour for our local Tri Town newspaper.

Small projects around the house/kennel and yard have pleasantly kept us busy this summer. On a side note, we adore this house! When we purchased back in 1999, the home started as a simple log structure with a walkout basement and a lot of character. Since then, we’ve added two additions and just recently renovated the main floor bathroom. Our home is set back from road and surrounded by pine trees. It’s quite serene sitting out on a summer night around the fire pit or in the screen room enjoying a book. Price of gas (auto and home fuel) is at historical record highs. We will sleep with the thermometer set at 55 degrees this winter, run up the credit card bills and eat Spam (no offense to folks who love the stuff) before we would ever resort to selling off the dogs as a means to make ends meet. Keep the dogs Happy and Healthy, and it has been said, they will return the favor 200% when it's time to hit the trail.

Since our truck was scheduled as a ‘float’ in the town parade, the dog box extension project to accommodate 4 more dogs, was put off until last. Many thanks to MuShield (any guesses what hobby the founder is involved with :-?) for their detailed CNC machining.

While filling out Can-Am applications this month, it was not surprising to notice an obvious disproportionate level of experience when comparing our ‘resumes’. For the past three seasons, Bob has done most of the racing whereas prior to 2006, we typically would have entered two teams in each event. So this coming season, we are planning to mix it up a bit.

July 2008:

While making plans for breeding DHARMA we considered a number of males at stud, one of them being JELLO. Even at 10 years old, that boy is simply beautiful! So, when TK x DHARMA produced for us, a few pinto patterned / bi-eyed pups, we were thrilled!!   Mind you, we don’t really care what color our Siberians are, since it’s performance which we consider first and foremost. However, like most breeders, we have developed an eye for, and started to favor, various phenotypes and coat coloration's.

While making breeding decisions, if the various combination reproduces that which is attractive to our eye, and eventually performs phenomenally well in harness, than we’ve successfully done our homework.

One breeders preferences vs another should not be misconstrued by the outsider and or a newbee to the Breed as ‘avoidance’ or 'admittance' that various faults or dishonesty exists within a particular parentage/line.  Preferences vary widely among breeders; without such diversity, the genetic make-up and gene pool of the Siberian Husky would stagnate.  Despite all the research, Nature may throw the genetic cards up in the air and surprise us. It’s what keeps the process of breeding, a constantly evolving education and adventure.

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