{Tsuga Siberians}

January 4, 2006 - “Happy New Year”

Dawg House Sunrise

Screaming puppies!


Isis and Moon



Reba not liking her collar.

Wow, was December a short month this year, or what? It’s hard to believe it’s gone already and the first race of the season is only 10 days away. Most of our holiday travel was by dogsled this year and we never even found time to set up a Christmas tree despite owning a small grove of balsams that we allow friends to thin out for their trees. BUT, the dog team looks good and we’re just about ready for the Eagle Lake 100 on January 14th.

The 12 puppies are growing fast and taking up tons of time and energy, but they are so fun and rewarding. Wilson is now the biggest at 30 pounds with little Moon bringing up the low end of the scale at 20 pounds. Mugs’ litter has been smaller since birth, and they still haven’t caught up to Gila’s monsters. They all wear collars now and have begun to get trained on leashes and stake-out lines. If anything will ever try your patience, it’s 12 puppies restrained from doing what they think they should be doing!! After having lived in kennels all their lives, they have a bit of trouble adjusting to the thought of being tethered, away from their littermates. Like anything, they can be trained for it and they soon adjust (hopefully). We’re still very happy with all the pups and as soon as they fit in our smallest harnesses, they’ll get a chance to try what they were bred to do…

As far as the race team goes, training has been going very well. Molly is the only new addition to the race pool this year. This gives us a nice veteran team that has seen it all before. Molly has kept up with the best of our dogs and looks to be a leader, too. We have to work to keep the pressure off of her and remember she’s still just a pup between the ears. We use a goal to double our cumulative mileage for the rest of the fall in December, and this year we exceeded that, although it took 23 of 31 days in the month at camp to get it done! Getting on sleds and off the ATV for training is always a great joy and it makes it a whole lot easier to get more miles on our runs which increase in duration, speed, and frequency as the season wears on. The dogs are now able to do in one run what took all weekend to accumulate just a month ago. They’ve got to be ready to do 100 miles with just a 4 hour break in the middle by next weekend. The distance is no problem at this point, but we’ll have to wait and see how they do with speed and nothing will tell you that like the first race of the season. Sue will be on the runners again at Eagle Lake to pilot the team and we’ll get the first look at how we’ve done with training this year.

We hope you all had a great holiday season and we’re sorry we couldn’t see many of you. I’m not sure many folks understand the commitment to the team we have and how that shapes our lives to the point of sending us deep into the north woods at the holidays instead of out visiting family and friends. Training for world-class endurance events isn’t easy and if it was, we probably wouldn’t be doing it.

We wish you all the best for the new year and hope 2006 brings you all the hope, peace and happiness we feel standing on the runners behind our wonderful dogs

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