Sunday, August 5, 2012

Upper Peninsula dog transfer and beautiful weekend

The days are just beginning to get noticeably shorter as August slips into focus. This summer has been a sweltering mess, and fall can't come fast enough for the huskies or me!

But, I had a bit of a reprieve from the incessant heat and humidity of an Ohio summer last weekend when I traversed up to Paradise, Michigan to take my Siberian, Jack, to his new home. On a long stretch of quiet road that meanders along the Lake Superior shoreline sits the modest cabin of Cheanne Chellis and her partner, wilderness writer Len McDougall.

Several years ago, while training at another local musher's cabin, I tried in vain to find Cheanne, aka "the wolf lady." She has two wolves who live on her property in a huge enclosure. Well, this time, there was no mistake. I found Cheanne and her wolves...or rather, one found me. He practically goosed me - something I am told is a compliment in wolf speak.

Goosed by a wolf. Leave it to me to wear a mini-skirt to meet a wolf
The wolves not only allowed me into their enclosure, they didn't spook when I shot a few photos of them.

Look at the feet!
The trip to Cheanne and Len's was bittersweet, for I was bringing them my six year old Siberian, Jack. You can read his story here.  I'd had Jack since he was 10 weeks old, but because he couldn't keep up with the rest of my team, had decided recently to rehome him to a recreational mushing and pet home.

Jack took to the place right away. Cheanne and Len have several recreational or retired Alaskan huskies and Jack is very friendly, so I knew he would have a ball getting to know everyone. We first gave Jack a chance to get to know his own kennel and Cheanne.

Jack and Cheanne

Then he was reintroduced to a Seppela Siberian, Willie, who he'd met back in 2009 at the home of my good friends Joann and Larry Fortier. Willie had been pulled from a local shelter and Joann kept him until he found his forever home at Cheanne's.

Willie (left) and Jack (right) have the same bi-eyes

Len and Cheanne with some of their recreational sled dogs. The center of the enclosure is open so the dogs can mingle and play with each other.

Leaving Jack was difficult. But I know he's in a better place where he can get more one-on-one attention.

Today I heard from Cheanne. She said, "Jackie boy is doing great. Spoiled. Last night during the storm Len brought him in cause he was crying (I was sleeping). He has warmed right up to me and Len. This morning he jumped right up on my bed and rolled over for a belly rub then he did a bit of free running with the others. He was a well-behaved boy."

After leaving Paradise, I headed west to visit with some friends and trek around some of my favorite places in the Upper Peninsula. The temperatures were awesome and the weather gorgeous. 

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Munising, MI

Miners' Falls, Munising, MI

Boats beside a small harbor outside of Munising, MI

My great friend, Emily Wade and I had a chance to do some yakkin' on Lake Superior - something I've always wanted to do! It was quite choppy and a little cloudy when we went out, but still so beautiful. 

Emily yakkin' it up on the great Superior!
Five days in the great north woods is never enough for me. Now that I am back in Ohio, I am anxious for cooler temperatures and fall training to start. It will be here before I know it!  

A few weeks ago, I wrote my "official plans" for the season, fearing admittedly that they would change. They already have! In fact, I'm not even going to breathe a word about the plans, except to say I will be teaming up with Emily and the fabulous dogs of Powderhounds Racing! 

Stay tuned, and as always...


  1. Very nicely written with some awesome photos. Thanks for the good words and Jackie boy. We love him already. So happy your trip was a success and we look forward to seeing you at the races. Best of luck

  2. Great Blog ~ highlighting great folks. (Cheanne & Len) Gorgeous photos Shannon!! Exciting news about your plans for Fall...


Please leave comments - I always love reading them! namaste!