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.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Diablo is going in for surgery on Monday.  He got sick last weekend and threw up all of his dinner.  I thought at first that he just had a bug.  When he hadn't eaten for 2 days, I started to get a little more concerned.  While out running the other dogs on a very slippery trail last Sunday, it dawned on me.  Diablo chewed his collar about 6 weeks ago and I never found the majority of it.  I was fairly sure this was the best explanation.
I took him to the vet Monday morning.  We couldn't see anything on the X-rays so we decided to wait and give him some antibiotics to fight a possible infection of some sort.  He did seem better on Tuesday and I was hopeful.  He woke me up on Wednesday morning in major distress so I took him back to the vet. 

After running barium through his digestive tract, we were able to see something in his stomach.  You could almost see the texture of the webbing from the collar.  Since his digestive tract isn't actually blocked and it was getting late in the day before Thanksgiving, we opted to wait until Monday for surgury.

I thought I was going to be spending the next few days syringe feeding him soaked food and water.  But, after Thanksgiving dinner, he started getting into the trash.  When I offered him food, he devoured it.  I have been feeding him small meals every 2-3 hours and he hasn't stopped eating.  This is very good and hopefully he won't lose any more weight.

We are hoping that we will be able to remove the object/collar from his stomach by pulling it back up the way it went down.  The vet is not overly optimistic that this will work as a collar is a fairly substantial object and the claws on the endoscope are not especially strong.  If this doesn't work, he will have to have his stomach cut open.  I am hoping for option one as this will mean a quicker recovery and less stress on all of us.  But, if it has to be option two, I think I will be having another house dog for the winter.  Wiley (my Border Collie) is not really happy about having another boy dog in the house.  But I have always loved this little guy who came into this world kicking and screaming and is a little monster.  Having him inside with me has been interesting especially the last couple days when he has been feeling better.  I can't take my eyes off him even for a second.

I am sure all will end well with Diablo and I look forward to putting this week of too many vet visits behind us and moving forward with the endless list of "must dos".

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Is it really almost Thanksgiving?

Time is just flying by and it is just over 10 weeks to the best part of this whole adventure.  There is still so much to do before we head North and so many details to figure out.  We have had a fall full of all kinds of weather, even a skiff of snow here and there.  The dogs are ready for snow and sledding and the longer miles that those entail.  I am ready for those things but not for all the extra work that is involved when the snow comes.  Everything just takes longer.  

A few things that have been going on:

I went to Missoula on Halloween to pick up 1000 pounds of meat for the dogs.  I made it about a quarter of the way home before I had to stop due to a major oil leak in the truck.  Brooke and Sean were kind enough to come and get me, Wylie, and 40 boxes of dog meat.  My friend and fellow dog musher and diesel mechanic, Steve Riggs of Condon, MT, has been working on the truck to help get it prepped for a long trip to Alaska.  It sure helps to have friends you can count on, though I feel like my IOU list is growing...  The worst part of the whole ordeal was that I didn't get to where my Halloween costume I was so excited about.  Watch out next year.

November 5 was my 30th birthday and this was the sunrise that day.  I made it through 3 decades and have had a lot of fun.  What can I do to make the next one even better?  Well, to start with, I am going to run the Yukon Quest with my own pups.

I sold Happy to my friend, Robin Beall, of Grand Marais, MN.  Hopefully Happy will fit right in with Robin's team and help her to win lots of races.  And then I will truely regret letting her go but at least I know she has a great home.

On a sad note, I have to share that Chinaco passed away, on my birthday.  He was happy in the morning and ate breakfast and was ready to go for a run.  The time between the first sign he was not well and his passing was less than 10 minutes.  I could not even get him to the car to go to the vet in that short time.  Chinaco was born on the floor next to my bed and died in my arms exactly 17 months later.  He went quickly and with little suffering.  I miss my gentle giant very much.  I am glad that I was there for him and he knew I was there.

Patron stepped on a stick during a run that stuck over an inch into his foot.  I thought for sure we would have problems getting it to heal.  He spent one night inside with me and was raring to go the next day.  He had about 12 hours that it was sore and hasn't looked back.  These sled dogs amaze me with their toughness.

We are training about 80 miles a week now.  Seventeen of the 19 in training now are running in lead and all the dogs are now responsible members of the team.  I am very proud of how they are looking and doing.  Though this is a fairly young and inexperienced team, I feel confident that we will have a successful trip and positive experience as we run the Quest.  The next several weeks will be consumed with training dogs, planning race tactics, organizing food drop bags, gathering equipment needed, testing new gear, and, of course, working my "real job" and keeping up with the day to day necessities of eating and sleeping (though these are the first to get dropped when time gets short).

A few pictures from a run last week when my friend John Welch stopped for a visit on his way back to Fairbanks, AK.  It is hunting season in Montana and I see more deer than the hunters do!