June 2, 2013
There are so many great things about dog mushing… One of the most remarkable aspects of the sport is the comradery that exists between mushers. The mushing community is actually relatively small, and word travels fast within it. (This can be good or bad, depending on the circumstances!) In our case, lately, it’s been good. When our buddy, Dave Dalton, found out Jeff and I were looking to expand our kennel, he contacted us with a proposition. Jeff and Dave have formed a good friendship over years of working together for Alaska Heli-Mush in Juneau. A few months ago Dave was beginning to prepare himself for another summer of work in Juneau, and Jeff was gearing up for his first summer in 8 years of not being there. As you can imagine, there is a lot of preparation that goes into splitting your year between two places that are hundreds of miles apart. One of the biggest considerations for mushers is deciding which dogs you can bring with you where you’re going and which ones will have to stay back with your invaluable friends and family members. This year Dave was able to bring every dog in his kennel except one – a pregnant female named Yahoo. For safety reasons, puppies are not permitted at Alaska Heli-Mush’s glacier operations. So Dave called Jeff. In exchange for taking care of Yahoo and her puppies for the summer, we get to split the litter with Dave. This works well for Dave, knowing that his dogs are being well cared for and raised by competent hands during this super important and formative time of life. And it works well for us because we get two great dogs out of the deal. Yahoo finished the Yukon Quest as a yearling with Dave in 2012.
These guys were born on April 25th. They are now just over a month old.
It’s amazing how much a puppy can sleep during its first few weeks of life. We had a lot of fun bringing them inside for some quality cuddling. This was especially nice with the super long winter we had this year. (We were still mushing during the first week of May!) But the weather has finally turned hot now, and these guys are not doing so much sleeping and cuddling anymore! These days we are taking them for a lot of “puppy walks.” This is fun for them, but also an important step in teaching a dog to come when you call.
They kind of look like little guinea pigs, don’t they?
This was taken on their first day outside of the puppy pen, playing in the grass.
The pups love kibble but it doesn’t seem to hold their attention for too long.
You can see here John is attempting to nurse while standing… Yahoo is a great mom; nursing has not slowed down, even with the recent development of their sharp little teeth!