|By Blake Cazier |
From duluth MN
Mar 9, 2011
today was our family day off and we ran ten dogs out around our 8 mile trail system. The dogs each day are fed a soup in the morning, they pull sleds, enjoy a treat and then are fed a high quality fat protein rich food and get a good nights rest. We have groups 3-5 days a week and run 2- 6 teams of up to 10 dogs on these days.
Our teams have been adopted from race kennels and they see thousands of youth, families and adults from early Dec to early April. We have a swimming program for conditioning in the summer and they free run around the yard in shifts and take turns digging, running, tearing down trees, and relaxing in a large fenced in area. Some of our older dogs are slowing down at 11 and 12 years - they will probably next winter retire and live in the house or where ever they are happiest. Our oldest dogs join us on hikes, greet visitors, act as reading partners, and 'rule the yard'. Two of our dogs died last fall at 15 - one was son of a dog that ran to the north pole and across Antarctica. In the fall usually early Sept, the dogs get into fall training and pull atvs for conditioning and team training.
For the first time since 1993, we may consider finding pet homes for a couple of our older or less enthusiastic teammates. A few dogs we adopted probably should have gone to a skijor or otherwise active person - not a busy working kennel.
Next year we plan to do a few more races and will probably make a race experience possible for a staff person or kennel regular.