The Future Home of Iditarod Dreams: What a Difference You’ve Made in My Life


A lot can be said about the ebb and flow of life. Some believe in fate and some believe in destiny. Some think we have a higher purpose while others say that everything is already planned. There is a huge debate still raging about natural selection and evolution and Creationism. I don’t ride the fence on to many things and many that know me will tell you that I have strong opinions and sometimes, if not very often I speak before I think and that has gotten me in my fair share of trouble.

But once thing that is certain, in October of 1999 I met the person that changed my life forever. I can’t help but think of a sappy county song, ironically named after a guy named Ronnie Milsap. The song is titled: What a Difference You’ve Made in My Life. You may have heard the song, so lets hear it in our heads–here we go:

What – a – difference you’ve made in my life

What a difference you’ve made in my life

You’re my sunshine day-ay and ni-ght

Oh what a difference you’ve ma-a-ade in my li-iiife

Now before I go any further I need to make one thing perfectly clear. I am not a county fan. Far from it. I am hard rock all the way and as you know by now, my rabid reader, I was a pretty good guitarist (if I do say so myself) sowing my oats in the uber-grunge scene of the Pacific Northwest while attending college in Portland, Oregon. My heaviest influences are KISS, Metallica, Alice in Chains and a little band you may have never heard of called Rainmaker, oh wait, that was the name of my band (sorry). But on the other hand I am a purveyor of music. All genre from Classical (thanks Grandpa for all those tapes when I was eight) to Gansta Rap artist like Easy-E and Ice-T before he became a movie star. I was listening to Snoop when he was eating chicken and waffles and rockin’ to Run-D-MC when they collaborated with Aerosmith.

I digress. Back to Ronnie and Michele. When I met Michele in 1999 I was in Minnesota and all of my wild oats have been sowed up by the best farmer in the world. I enjoyed sky diving, day trading stocks, running a rag-tag pack of Siberians on the snowmobile trails in the middle of the night, mountain biking and playing rock shows in some of the craziest bars and clubs in the underground scene.

We met ironically thru a fascination of dogs in of all places a AOL chat room. Back in the day everyone was hooking up on chats and if you are old enough to remember you probably did do. Not knowing who I was talking to and fearing that the “girl” could have been a “guy” on the other end of cyberspace I insisted she call me. We soon were talking hours at a time on the phone and soon I made plans to meet.

Well the rest is history… not quite. In the last eleven years a lot has changed in my life and in Michele’s and the kids’ lives as well. We have come full circle. I am running dogs again, I am talking on the phone again for long periods of time to my sweetie (often nibbling on a hunk of cheese, I don’t know why but I love cheese) as she is in Colorado keeping our business, Denver Dog Works, running smoothly. We still chat on the computer and I still use the same “screen name” that I used all those years. I was one of the first ones to have a Yahoo email address and I still use it today although now it is mostly filled with spam from every solicitor from Nigeria to Timbuktu.

Michele and I have grown up now. We are both in our late 30’s and the kids are teens. We have done plenty together and plan to do much more. I hope to have those guys here next summer so we can resume our lives together, splitting our time in Alaska and Colorado.

But one thing is certain–Michele, you ARE my sunshine day and night.

I welcome your comments and suggestions. Please comment below.

Robert Forto | Team Ineka | Alaska Dog Works | Mushing Radio


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