I just got great news tonight! My friend, Brooke Bohannon, is going to be able to come to the Quest with me to be my handler. This is a very important job as she will be driving the truck from start to finishe, checkpoint to checkpoint. She will be able to help me only at the halfway point at Dawson City, but she will be taking care of any dogs that don't make the final team and any dogs that are "dropped" along the way. If, for any reason, a dog needs to stop and not continue the race, I can "drop" them to the care of my handler. This system is set up to protect the health and livelihood of all the dogs. This is a great system to have in place for a younger dog on a more mature team. I will have at least one yearling to fill out my team. He or she will be going with no expectation but for the learning experience. If at some point s/he needs to stop, I can leave the dog with Brooke and know that it will get the best care possible and be well fed, rested, and loved when I see them again at the finishline. Knowing that Brooke will be there to care for my dogs not on the trail with me will give me great peace of mind and let me better focus on the dogs that are still racing with me.
I first met Brooke in Juneau, AK in the summer of 2005 when we were working for competing glacier dog sled tour companies. We met on a day off in the upstairs of the Alaskan bar in downtown Juneau on a day off. Little did we know then that we would end up living in Whitefish, MT and training our teams together. Brooke and her husband, Sean, have had sled dogs for more than a dozen years, starting in New Hampshire. They have done some racing and had a lot of fun but are slowly phasing out of sled dogs and on to the next thing.
Brooke, Sean, and I started a dog race, Flathead Sled Dog Days, here in NW Montana. 2010 will be our 3rd year and it's been a great event and has been nice to give something back to the sport. We have been neighbors for the last 2 1/2 years. Without Brooke and Sean, I would never get to go away without worrying about my dogs. We swap dog sitting and thus we all get a chance to have a little vacation here and there. I wish Sean could come along too. Then I wouldn't have to worry about a thing. Thank you, Sean, for letting me borrow your wife for a few weeks.