Monday, April 6, 2009

A final fling: unfazed by the weather

Big Brown (foreground), who is named after the 2008 Kentucky Derby champion Thoroughbred, is our newest addition to the kennel. She is Ruffian's (who is also named after a champion Thoroughbred race horse) sister.

Spring. A time of renewal, birth and sunny days. For mushers, spring means movement. After moving hundreds of miles through fall training and winter's racing season, spring finds us moving equipment and dogs. It seems mushers never stop moving.

Tuesday morning, when northeastern Ohio was blasted by what will likely be a final winter storm, we headed north. In a last minute decision guided by the luxury of spontenaity I have been blessed with over the last year and a half, I made a final winter trip to Michigan to see my good friend Joann Fortier, have some fun, and bring home a new pack member, Big Brown.

You see, Odessa is expecting a litter of pups next month. So Joann had to make room in the kennel for their upcoming new additions.

Joann gives some lovin' to one of her top dogs, Odessa, who is expecting a litter of puppies next month. Ana looks on in the distance.

This meant another long car ride to northern Michigan.

But the girls sure have a blast when they're up north! I think they're yooper girls at heart.

Sophie bonds with Big Brown

Unfazed by the weather, Sophie and Ana played in the snow, along with Elise, who was out back "digging for treasure" in the snow!

The girls wore themselves out playing.

Sophie and Elise loved Ana

And when the girls finally fell asleep, Joann and I stayed up until 1:30 a.m. drinking wine, watching Iditarod videos and talking dog. Joann is like my soul sister. We think alike, want the same things, love the same things. We both have girls who are four years old, and have a lot of the same viewpoints on life.

So many people I've met in Michigan have become my second family. I know the sounds of their voices in my mind, the smells of their homes, and know I'd be welcome on any of their sofas anytime. I am always happy to head north, and always sad to leave.

Joann Fortier and me squinting in the bright sun as Sophie snaps our picture

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