Yesterday I took one step closer to making all this a reality. I met with friend and Iditarod musher, Hugh Neff at Underdog Feeds in Meadow Lakes, to look at a couple of his dogs that he brought down for me to try out. One was a male that was not feeling too well from the trip and they wanted to take him to the vet right away. The other dog, also a male, named Shifter is a Yukon Quest and Iditarod (I think) finisher on both Lance Mackey and Hugh’s teams. He is four years old and as Hugh said, “full of power.”
After a quick few minutes visiting Hugh (so they could get to the vet in a hurry all the way in Palmer) I loaded up Shifter in the truck and we headed to get him a crate. I wanted to keep him inside for the night and introduce him to Raegan. Not necessary for Shifter’s sake but for the pup’s.
With Shifter on leash and Raegan not, the pup acted like she didn’t know what to do at first and she appeared a bit spooked. Her hackles were raised and there was a hint of a growl. Shifter paid her no mind. I then took the two dogs out to the yard and let them run around and they warmed up to each other quickly.
I don’t know what is in store for Shifter in terms of our future team but I do know that I will test him out right away. I will first hook him up to my bicycle and we will do a little bikejoring and as I add dogs I will see where he fits in best. He is larger than a lot of sled dogs so we will have to see. While I plan to build my team of Siberians I am in no way against running Alaskan’s to qualify for the race in 2013.
It is pouring in rain and I had hoped to do some work on the kennel to give Shifter a place to stay tonight. Hopefully the rain tapers off soon or I will be one wet pup!
I welcome your comments and suggestions. Please comment below.
Robert Forto is the host of The Dog Works Radio Show and is the training director of Alaska Dog Works. Robert Forto can be reached through his website at www.alaskadogworks.com