Friday, February 3, 2012

Introducing Tiffany McLean

Tiffany McLean is visiting the kennel for a few months from her home near Vancouver, B.C.  Tiffany has operated a dog-walking business and has been heavily involved in dog rescue efforts in Canada's North West Territory.  Her goal during her visit is to learn to care for a drive sled dogs.

Tiffany has already been responsible for rescuing a dog here in Two Rivers.  While driving out to our place for the very first time, she came across an old, confused dog that was trying to dodge traffic on the highway.  She picked up the old timer and brought him along.  While running errands in town yesterday we stopped by animal control, planning to him scanned for an identification microchip (he had no other ID).  When I described the dog to the AC staff, they knew immediately that he had been reported missing, so gave us his caretaker's phone number.  We were able to hook up with the caretaker (a guy petsitting the dog for a friend), and were able to reunite them on our way home from town.

Tiffany had been here at the house less than an hour before I was dragging her off to the Yukon Quest Start Banquet, to meet and greet mushers and handlers associated with the toughest dog sled race on earth.  As always, the banquet was a wonderful social gathering including the "Who's Who" of long distance sled dog racing.  At the banquet the mushers drew lots to establish the starting order of the race, and their bib numbers.  Here is the line up for the race:

The complete starting order for the 2012 Yukon Quest:
1. Allen Moore
2. Kristy Berington
3. Sonny Lindner
4. Dave Dalton
5. Misha Pedersen
6. Hugh Neff
7. Kyla Durham
8. Kurt Reich
9. Jason Weitzel
10. Brent Sass
11. Brian Wilmshurst
12. Paige Drobny
13. Jake Berkowitz
14. Nikolay Ettyne
15. Marcelle Fressineau
16. Lance Mackey
17. Joar Leifseth Ulsom
18. Mike Ellis
19. Yuka Honda
20. Gus Guenther
21. Abbie West
22. Trent Herbst
23. Maren Bradley
24. Michael Telpin

Yesterday was spent finding Found Dog's lost human, returning Tiffany's rental truck, shopping for better quality winter gear, caring for our dogs, and then heading to Muzzy's Place Kennel so Tiffany could get better acquainted (and better equipped) to work as a race handler for a Yukon Quest 300 musher.  I'm afraid the poor girl is going to suffer from dog mushing overload if we aren't careful, but it IS that time of year.  

Today was our first opportunity to run Stardancer dogs, and after nearly 3 weeks off.  I expected some wild and wooly behavior during hook up, but the fuzz-butts surprised and delighted me.  They were reasonably easy to manage on hook up, and both teams ran exceptionally well.

Tiffany was able to ride along on our first run, so I shared some tips on driving a very stiff toboggan sled as we glided (or bounced) along.  When I got home I made a vid of clips from that first run.  It's a bit long (around 10 minutes or so), but I'm sure some of you will enjoy it.

Here are the training journal entries for our two runs today:

Date, Day, &c:
Friday, February 3rd
Mileage & Speed: 
4 miles, max speed 14MPH, average speed 7.2
Toboggan sled, 130# passenger
Route, Trail & Terrain Conditions: 
Home to Two Rivers School trail to Swamp trail to Rod and Julie's feeder trail to home.  New powder on packed powder or hardpacked trail.
+14 degrees, overcast, light snow
Orion & Cassie lead
Amazing Grace
Selene & Denali
Nels & Beau
No major issues at all.  The team gave us a nice solid run around the block.  Orion and Cassie hit every directional cue spot on and there were no behavioral issues to report at all.

Date, Day, &c:
Friday, February 2rd
Mileage & Speed: 
4 miles.  Max speed 12.9 mph, average speed 8.6 mph
Empty toboggan sled
Route, Trail & Terrain Conditions: 
Home to Two Rivers School trail to Swamp trail to Rod and Julie's feeder trail to home.  New powder on packed powder or hardpacked trail.

+14 degrees, overcast, light snow
Just & Capella (lead)
Midnight's Son (single swing)
Aumaruq (single team)
Rose & Seamus (wheel)
Amost identical to the first run today.  The dogs were all well behaved.  Aumaruq helped harness himself just like a grown-up big dog.  Although our maximum speed was slower than the first team, our average was significantly faster, but the trail was already broken out and there was no passenger in the sled.  This team wanted to move right along, and I was willing to let them.

Tomorrow is the official start of the Yukon Quest, so I'm sure I'll be sharing updates as the race progresses.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I enjoyed that video. Great to see Orion turning into a real sled dog :-) And the rest of the team!