Thank you to all sponsors and fans for your support and encouragement. Without you, not only would Evening Star Kennel been absent from the 2010 Yukon Quest, but this incredible sport and these wonderful dogs would become a thing of distant memory. I thank you from the bottom of my heart and I hope that you have enjoyed following this amazing event.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Pups are getting Personality...

The puppies are growing fast and becoming little individuals. When they first opened their eyes and could see the world, they were terrified of me. But they are coming around and most of them are getting very social. No one has a name yet because I can't keep them all. But they aren't an amorphous mass anymore either. One of the black females is super sweet and is definitely vying for one of the spots in the kennel. Everyone is looking healthy and eating real food. Etna is still being a good mom, even though the pups now have teeth and tend to use them. I wish they could stay this size and then become dogs overnight. The totally obnoxious stage isn't too far away.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Puppy update

The pups have opened their eyes and had their first meal last night. I notice the 2 brown girls in Etna's dish last night while she was eating. So I soaked a little bit for the pups. I had to put them all by the pan, but they seemed to know what to do. Until half of them fell asleep in the dish. This morning they did a little better and everyone had a bit before heading back to mom to nurse. They are getting more mobile by the day and can hear now. They are all a little shocked by my voice and handling now that they can see and hear me. But I am sure they will soon get over that and know me as the other mother to them. Everyone is healthy and the size discrepancy is not so noticeable any more.

On another note, the big dogs have now had 3 runs and are all doing very well. I have run different leaders each time getting 3 dogs some lead time in each run. My goal is to have at least 10 solid leaders in my Quest team. It's looking very achievable right now. It seems that summer is already winding down here in Montana and the mornings have been quite cool. Makes me want to go everyday. More later....

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Fall Training Begins!!!

Today was the first run of the season. 16 dogs got the privilege of being on this inaugural run. We went 6 miles and everyone did great. There were only a few minor equipment casualties due to Sneezy's excitement and scissor teeth. My goal is to get out 2x a week for 4 weeks while it is still warm and then buckle down to a regular schedule after Labor Day. Everyone is ready to go back to work.

Detour and Margaret led the way. I have a feeling this is Margaret's year to shine in lead. She takes her duties very seriously and has the "gee" and "haw" turn commands down. Can't wait to see how she improves even more as the season goes on.

And Happy sure is that. She has come around and rarely has a down moment.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Adventures with Puppies

The puppies are all doing well and should soon be opening their eyes in the next few days. They sure gave me a scare today though. I went to feed the dogs this morning and, when I did a head count in the puppy pile, there were only 3. Etna had been "redecorating" in the puppy nest and had dug a hole under the fence just big enough for puppies to squeeze through. The ground drops off steeply right behind the pen and has fairly dense undergrowth. As the pups squeezed out, they rolled a ways down the hill. I found one right away about 6 feet down the hill. I found numbers 2 and 3 about 20 feet down the hill. They were all asleep and had no idea what had just grabbed them. They squealed a bit and were very happy to get back to their mom. I searched up and down the hill for the last puppy and couldn't find him. I finished feeding and cleaning up for the big dogs and decided to give it one more shot. I guess he was getting hungry because he was awake and crying a little by then. He was only about 3 feet from the fence but all the way down at the other end of the pen. He must have tried to get back but, being blind and deaf still, had no idea which way to go. Etna was very happy when the head count finally came out right and everyone was back in her nest. What a relief. I would have had a terrible time trying to concentrate at work if I hadn't been able to find that last puppy.

Hopefully the situation is now remedied by a hay bale against the fence and the house and puppy pile moved toward the center of their pen. Before I know it, they will too big to worry about them squeezing out and rolling down the hill.

They are growing fast and getting stronger. They all like to sleep as close together as they can, in one big knot. This sometimes results in some interesting sleeping arrangements...

Monday, August 3, 2009


It's official. I just sent in my entry. Saturday, 8/8, is the first official sign up day. As I cannot be there in person, I wanted to make sure that my entry was there to be counted in the first batch of entries. Also, by having my entry in on the first day, I get to be part of a drawing to get my entry fee back. Every bit helps...

Puppy update: New pictures coming soon. There are still 7 healthy puppies. One of the brown girls is the biggest in the bunch. She is a full inch longer than her smallest sister. I removed their dew claws on Friday. For those of you who don't know what this means, the dewclaws are the fifth toe on a dog's front foot, similar to a "thumb". We remove the puppies' dew claws when they are very young and the bone is hasn't hardened yet. It makes them uncomfortable for a few minutes and makes mom worry a lot, but they all settle down within a minute or 2 after everyone is done and no one ever thinks about it again. The advantages of this process are many. The 2 biggest reasons, though, are to make bootie wearing more comfortable and to prevent their accidental removal as an adult. The tops of the booties sit right where the dew claw would be. If the dewclaw hasn't been removed, the bootie causes a lot of abrasion. The accidental dew claw removal could occur when a dog catches his/her dew claw on punching through crusty snow, on the edge of the dog house, or in a chain or tug line. If this were to happen to an adult dog, it would be considered a serious and potentially crippling injury.

So pups are well on their way to future race careers and should be opening their eyes by the weekend. I'll post more pictures soon. But for now, check out these video clips from last winter when my brother Jamie was visiting.