Monday, April 6, 2009

Winter is finally here

We've had a terrible year for snow. Casper Mountain trails were useless most of the season. But the last couple weeks (following a teasing bout of warm windless days) we have had storm after storm, 18 inches, 4 inches, 4, inches, 3 inches...too bad the County already retired the groomer for the season,the mountain trails would be ideal. However, down in the plains, where our home sits, the sun quickly melts off the wet heavy snow and quickly turns to mud. So if your gonna go, you'd better get up and go!

That being said, we thought we better get the young dogs in harness to see if they remembered the lessons of the previous weeks. I gotta say they are an impressive bunch. They all inherited the wonderful personalities and work ethic of both Madonna and Marshall. Marshall is the easy going guy who gets his job done. He doesn't bother anyone and no one bothers him. He also possess a muscular build and very nice front shoulder angulation which gives way to his flowing movement and beautiful reach.

Madonna has a daintiness about her that just makes you love her. She is very affectionate and has passed this temperament to her puppies. But when you put Madonna in harness, she gets the *crazy* eye--I love it! Both Madonna and Marshall are incredible, smart leaders. You can actually see them *think* about their decisions...I hope the puppies show this intelligent trait as the build their racing careers.
Sunday's hook-up went very well and the pups all ran and pulled as if they were season veterans. All of them are so easy and natural. I spent lots of time this year just free running them either behind the 4 wheeler or letting them chase the border collies across the endless, rolling fields that make up our landscape. Usually, it is more fun to use my kids to run the puppies, er, maybe it is the puppies running the kids.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Looking for a home...

I regularly check rescues and shelters in the Rocky Mountain states. To some degree, we all have a responsibility to do our part. That isn't to say we have to take in every stray or abandoned dog, but we can do a little extra when the opportunity presents itself--I really think that is innate to any breeding policy. Our basic policy is to never turn a dog away if it came from our kennel. Additionally, many times over the last 12 years (and to our own determent), we have fostered a number of dogs in order to find suitable homes.

Lack of time and the cumbersomeness of updating my site has kept me from posting our rescues or others looking for homes. However, now that I have this blog, I will try to be much better about it!

In any case, I found this sweet looking rescue named Jazz in a shelter in Fort Collins. The description says she is from Seppala racing lines. I have no idea what this girl's pedigree background is, but she certainly looks like she could be part Seppala--possibly Howling Spirit lines. I'd imagine there is a good chance that she'd make a great recreational dog for someone even though she has been raised as a pet. So if you considering a pet to get in the snow with, give her a second look before you "buy".

Sping is in the Air

Spring is just around the corner and I can't wait! I especially love it because I work for an accounting firm as a tax accountant and the busy season ends just as the weather turns sunny. Spring and Fall are my favorite--especially Spring because the new babies start showing up from puppies, to calves, right down to the baby antelope. The daylight lasts longer and the temps set just right allowing conditions to take a team out. We all especially enjoy spring runs as they are shorter without the bitter cold. The *green* doesn't last long around here. The bottom picture was taken over Memorial weekend a couple years ago, the top picture was taken just a few weeks later.

Each spring we come up with a few major projects to get done before the heat of the summer hits. Last year we did a major expansion to the dog yard. We increased capacity of the kennel; replaced all fencing that was less than 6 feet tall, replaced any depleted gates with brand new 6 foot walk through gates (with latches that can not be lift with a nose--sorry J. Lo). The biggest part of the project was putting in 100' of a solid, 6ft wooden fence. It sure has cut down on they way the wind and drifting goes through the back side.

So this year we'd like get in a second exercise pen, the original yard has turned into the puppy area. The hard part is going to be deciding how to set it up...I have an idea, but I think it will take a little arm twisting to convince Allan :-) There is also still about 60' of chain link on one side of kennel we'd like to swap out for the solid wood fence. I suppose the majority of the work will come through general maintenance--painting and replacing.

Just for fun, here is our first kennel (and my first Seppala, Bristall). Yes, just three pens! I'll never forget Allan's declaration as he finished the third pen, " this is it, no more kennels or dogs!"


Even though he started his racing career with Alaskans, it was really Bristall that won his heart :-D