Amber was definitely the main cheerleader of the bunch. There was not a time when we got ready to go that she did not jump in harness, even at the finish line. That was her attitude that whole way though and I wish we had 14 dogs with that kind of attitude.
Champ was always steady, always pulling. Even though he had some gastro-intestinal issues that caused him to lose a little energy, he still had a great appetite and he always pulled.
Chipper‘s (right) name serves her well in that she is always cheery and chipper. She works really well running in wheel running underneath the line; however, I suspect she would rather be up front leading the way. She has led me as a two year old in the Iditarod so we will move her around in the team more in the future.
Daisy is a little girl that sometimes tries too hard, it’s good and bad in that her back is always bowed going as hard as she possibly can but sometimes she hurts herself. That’s what happened in this years Quest. After 300 miles she tweaked her back leg and I needed to leave her behind. Hopefully in the future she can settle down just a little bit, not too much, but just enough to keep from hurting herself.
Commando (left) was a main leader for more than half the race. He has a lot of drive. Commando has a lot of race miles under his belt being three years old and already run four 1000 mile races. He was always in command (his name fits him) and he is happy. He looks to you for acknowledgement and guidance.
Dutch is definitely a pretty serious dog, he was in the lead at least a third of the time. He’s a no-nonsense “nothing really bothers him” dog and he really just wants to please you. He was very even tempered in this race.
Felix finally gets to finish a competitive 1000 mile race. In the past he has had intestinal but this year we were able to keep that under control. Hopefully we can continue to keep his stomach issues under control and he will prove to be a valuable asset to our team, just like his papa Biscuit.
Izzy (below left) is definitely one of our mature dogs and is a mature leader. When everyone else got a little tired of being up in lead I put her up there in the last 200 miles so she could pull us over all the hills. She is strong headed, strong willed and there’s definitely “no quit in Izzy”.
Mismo (below right) the biggest dog in the yard with the biggest head and probably the biggest drive. He led most of the race and that says everything about a dog when they lead for long periods. He listens to you and he responds in kind to that. He ate well and he ran well.
Junior works hard! It was hard to know that she was even in the team just because she was always pulling. She never got into trouble, never bothered anyone; all she did was put her nose down and go. She’s definitely a good leader but I did not use her in that position. We will change that in the future.
Kodiak was the leader I started out with and ran 400 miles up front. He, too, is pretty strong headed, however, when the scent of a pretty girl is in the air his mind goes south and that’s why he was taken out of the lead. He began to bother whoever was next to him after that, whether male or female. But, all-in-all he is a great, steady dog.
Nomex the big-headed dog. Nomex is yet to finish 1000 mile race but he tries really hard. Sometimes that’s the problem, dogs like that can hurt themselves a bit quicker. He started head-bobbing and he had a tricep that got sorer and sorer until I had to carry him the last 50 miles into Dawson. Hopefully next race he will have learned from that and make it to the finish line.
Rodney is probably the most surprising out of the whole group. He is two years old and had never done much as far as racing. That being said, because of his appetite he thrived. There was not a morsel of food that went by him that was not eaten. With that gives a dog energy and keeps him going which it did Rodney. He was always happy to go and it was all due to his appetite – we could only wish for all of our dogs to have an appetite like him.
Sparkie (below) is another three year old that is like Amber in that he was another cheerleader. I ran them next to each other and one would feed of the other and just make the whole team and musher much happier than they would have been without him.
The race went well overall. However I wish I could have seen what their real potential was but due to the gastro intestinal issues mid-way in the race I rested the team a lot more and didn’t really find out what they are really capable of. I know they have a lot of potential; they are a really good team and there is a lot more racing in these dogs. Hopefully it is the start of something really special.
Thank you to all the volunteers and officials, the vet team, logistics and both boards for putting on this special race. Thanks to our handlers and those back at home. We couldn’t do it without you.
Thanks also to the visual content team of Whitney, Chance, Julien and Steve for the wonderful images and for letting us use them!