Sunday, October 25, 2009

Talkin' Dog: Updates from the Shaw Rig Session

Teddy, at Arctic Wind Sleddogs, is a classic Shaw dog: full of character.

We wake to dogs howling, barking, jumping to go. The chaos is broken only intermittently by the steady fall of raindrops. Every year for the past twelve, serious mushers from all around gather at the home and kennel of Bob and Jan Shaw, about 20 miles west of Newberry, Michigan in the heart of the Upper Peninsula. It is a gathering of friends, old and new, and people I am happy to call an extended family.

Joann Fortier gets a kiss from one of the dogs

Hearty and stalwart, we thrive in inclement weather. Mushers are the only people I know who get excited in weather others take cover from. Cold? Awesome! Snowing? Even better. Raining? long as it's below 50 degrees.

But, for five days, it's been nothing but solid, steady rain. Rain the local weather station described as "soaking" rain. Cold rain: with temperatures hovering between 34 and 41 degrees, the dogs were happy to run. Eventually, though, even my Gortex became tired and soggy.

We must love what we do to do it in this miserable cold rain. And we do it for a love of dogs and nature few understand.

But we also do it for a love of the camaraderie we share.

Emily Curtice, 7, hold a pup at the Shaw rig session

Here, we are a gathering of like minds. And we talk dogs...and talk dogs...and talk dogs...

The rain can't stop all the dog talk

Stay tuned for the low down on all the dog talk that went on this weekend...

Iditarod veteran and maker of Momentum and Pursuit dog foods, Tim Hunt, speaks at the Shaw Rig session about fall training standards

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