Friday, August 29, 2008

First Training Run of the Season and Introducing Beau

The dog’s water pans had a skim of ice on the surface, and the hose was frozen again this morning. It’s time for me to bit the bullet and shut off the outside water faucet. That will make watering a bit more inconvenient, but it is clearly that time of year. According to the thermometer next to the door the temperature was down to 28 degrees (F) last night.

I ran into Lynn Orbison at the lodge last night, and we agreed that I would load up the dogs in the truck and go to her place this morning for breakfast and a training run. After feeding Lucky and the puppies I loaded up the kids and hit the road. Quiche, fresh from the oven and hot coffee made a fine meal, and a great start to an awesome first training run of the season.

One of the dogs I was running is Beau, a big black boy similar to Torus in appearance and build, but only about 6 years old. I have been considering adopting Beau as a member of the Stardancer team. I have a lot of older dogs, and a lot of younger dogs, but only Seamus in the middle. I figured that having one more dog in physical prime of his life could only help the team, so I gave Beau a tryout.Beau is in the foreground of the picture below, and Torus is standing behind him.

Here’s the training report for the day:

. Circumnavigated Sweson’s Field, 3.4 miles on fourwheeler. ~ 10 mph throughout run.

Torus - Rose (Leaders)

Nels – Seamus (Swing)

Beau – Gump (Team)

Sheenjek – Grace (Wheel)

A very awesome first run of the season. Torus was a bit confused when I asked for a hard gee at the entrance to the field, but seemed to get his head together for the remainder of the run. Gump ran slack quite a bit a first, but always hit the gang line hard when we slowed in mud bogs. Beau was an excellent, hard working dog throughout the run.

Splashed through several mud holes, a couple of them pretty deep. The dogs pulled powerfully and we had no major difficulties. The pond at the corner of Swenson’s field is filled with water, but Torus and Rose selected a route that skirted the deepest of the water and team splashed through like old pros.

Two passes with another team. The first pass was difficult, as the other guy’s leaders balked and got balled up and of course my guys wanted to visit once they did start by. The second pass was much easier, though Seamus wanted to sniff noses and tails. Still, for the first run of the season it was awesome.

To answer the question “Did Beau make the team?” Well, I brought him home with his new team mates this afternoon.

On the way home after running I stopped at Rick Swenson’s place. Rick uses his own equipment to keep the local trails groomed all season long, and lots of mushers take advantage of the situation. I wanted to lay some money on him to help pay for the fuel he burns keeping the trails in good shape. Of course any visit to another musher’s kennel requires some time and conversation . I enjoyed the visit and considered time well spent. Rick is “the real deal” when it comes to running dogs.

Once back home I fed Lucky and played with puppies for a while. They are at a stage of development in which they are nothing but a barrel of fun. All rush forward for a chance to interact with humans and they wrestle each other around for a chance to be first in line.

Beau has settled into the team just fine, as though he’s always lived here. I have him surrounded by Gump, Grace, Torus and Nels. Interesting, Gump is the first one to engage him in play.

This afternoon Lynn O came by with her “little sister” to visit the puppies. The girl looks like she’s maybe 8 or 10 years old and she seemed to be having a wonderful time with her new big friend. She also had a delightful time with the puppies, and they with her. Introducing puppies to as many kind and gentle humans of all ages and sizes is a very important part of socialization and I’m really pleased at how well the puppies react to people.

So, it was a pretty full today. I had a wonderful time and I’m looking forward to running the sled dogs again on Sunday – our next “play date”.


  1. You have a great website. Lots of nice photos and informative info. Saw your team on the Weather Channel Nome Serum Run Documentary - wish I had taped it! Dave and the fur kids( 8 northern breed rescues in eastern NC)

  2. Thank you for the compliment. The web site and this blog are both labors of love - most of the time.

    Thanks for reading them.

  3. Beau looks like Torus' twin. Uncanny. Handsome fella. Happy to hear he's working out.