Posted by: arcticpacksiberians | November 12, 2013

November…already ?

Oh.  Looks like it’s now November.  My last blog entry was January this year.  Oops! 

Well, what a busy year 2013 has been for us here at Arcticpack..  And a very exciting one. 

Earlier this year in March we travelled to what seemed like, the end of the world for a sled dog race.  Ok, so not quite the end of the world, but several hundred miles into deepest darkest Englandshire to Thetford.   We left on a Thursday night and travelled first to Glasgow to stay with my mum and dad, before doing the rest of the journey on the friday.  Our destination was a cheap but extremely cheerful Travelodge where we were based over the weekend of the race.  The race we attended was organised by the British Siberian Husky Racing Association who run a championship race series over the winter months for, as it says on the tin, Siberian Huskies.  The competition is fab and often races are won by seconds.  As the majority of their races are held down south we are lucky if we can get to one race per season so we always choose to run non championship.  We still get a timed place, but it just means we don’t count for any championship points. 

The race we chose to go to was the last race of the season.  The trail was just under 4 miles, was lovely underfoot for the dogs and was reasonably technical including a 5 way junction to negotiate.  We were absolutely delighted with our 6 dog team led by Wilson and Arko.  Every turn spot on and we managed to place 7th on the saturday and 8th on the sunday.    Norris and Squeaky had a fun run  in the two dog class with Cam both days.  As we don’t do many races, we tend to get a bit stressed at them trying to get everything done on time and the dogs are always extra specially wired and unhelpful about things.  Like getting a harness on.  It happens several times a week, but when at a race the dogs suddenly forget how they go on and there are legs everywhere, harnesses getting chewed, lots and lots and lots of screaming.  By the time we get to the start the dogs look like they have already ran the race and we look like we have been at the gym!   Vixen was beside herself with excitement to run and I actually had to carry her to the start the second day as she kept trying to grab people’s sleeves and trouser legs she was so frustrated she wasn’t running yet.  Thanks to all those poor souls who helped us to the start both days!  Your help was much appreciated 🙂   We had a fab few days away and it was lovely to get to see people we hardly ever get to see. 

Fantastic picture of our 6 dog team taken by the very talented Helen at Siberprint.

Fantastic picture of our 6 dog team taken by the very talented Helen at Siberprint.

Norris and Squeaky heading off the start line.  Photo again by Helen at Siberiprint.

Fab picture of Norris and Squeaky heading off the start line. Photo again by Helen at Siberiprint.

We stayed down an extra few days to visit Forstals and go training with them.  Always a pleasure to train with them and learn from them.  We always learn something whenever we visit.   Their dogs are so content and relaxed and it’s really lovely to see so many dogs living together in such harmony.   We also went for a visit to Brandon Park to walk the dogs and spent a lovely morning there in gorgeous surroundings.   We kept getting those funny looks you get when you have several dogs to walk and only take two at a time.   People often look confused as you pass them for the fourth or fifth time with different dogs.   It really is a beautiful part of the world down there.   Very different from Scotland, but still lovely in its own way.    We also stopped off at the Chekisti Kennel on the way home to visit Derek and Rhoda and their lovely dogs.   Which leads me on to our next news…..PUPPIES! 

Lovely frosty morning for a training run.

Lovely frosty morning for a training run.

Norris and Pirate out for a walk around  lovely Brandon Park.

Norris and Pirate out for a walk around lovely Brandon Park.

May 2013 saw the arrival of our first litter of Seppala Siberian Husky puppies.   We decided now was the time to try to have a litter from our lovely Snopeak girl Dancer and we chose the wonderful Taymarrs Nevada as the sire.  He is owned by Derek and Rhoda and we are extremely grateful to them for allowing us to use their fabulous boy.  Dancer of course, came into season the day we were driving up the road from the BSHRA race.  A few hours after we had left Derek and Rhoda’s.   How very helpful Dancer!  Could you not have come in a week earlier?   So, Cam had to make the long drive back down two weekends in a row as she wasn’t quite ready the first time her took her down.    It was a huge learning curve for us having a pregnant bitch and as she got bigger and bigger the reality of having puppies started to have me in a bit of a panic.  Ok, not a bit of a panic, but total stressed out, crazy, worried sick panic.   Those who know me know that I am pretty much in a constant state of worry and this put stress levels through the roof.   Dancer of course, was as chilled as ever and had me almost tearing my hair out as she just wouldn’t eat.  From about three weeks into her pregnancy she stopped eating well and some days all she would eat was 2 chicken wings.   

Dancer had seven wonderful, healthy little puppies, 5 boys and 2 girls  She had a very easy birth and aside from two puppies who needed a bit of help to arrive, she did everything herself and coped superbly for her first litter.  She had all seven in around five and half hours and if I thought I was worried about her being pregnant, I was in for a whole other world of worry about these seven, precious little bundles of fur.  Over their first few weeks I didn’t sleep at all, just watching them and making sure they were all ok.  Dancer was her usual chilled and relaxed self and really was a fabulous mum.    Looking back, the whole experience was amazing and I still can’t believe the now nearly 6 month old monsters we have now were all born here and a whelping box was a huge place to explore for them.   They have grown so quickly from teeny tiny little people into beautiful, happy young dogs, almost ready for their first runs in harness.   Two of the boys, Lewis and Hudson left at 9 weeks old to go live with their new owners Buzz and Sal.  I wont lie, it was very, very sad saying goodbye to them both.   We know they are in a great home where they are loved and cared for and we hope to see them at the end of November.

Dancer with her 7 beautiful puppies.

Dancer with her 7 beautiful puppies.


The dogs are running well so far this season and I am enjoying being back out as passenger with the team.  That’s where we get our ‘buzz’ from.  Not from races, but from just being out there with the dogs.  Just us and them, watching them doing what they love to do.   My only wish is that it snowed more often and it’s a much more magical experience than constant mud.  The dogs don’t seem to mind, they just love to run regardless.   We are looking forward to getting the puppies started in harness.  It’s been 5 years since we had puppies to train.  I just love seeing that inbuilt desire to pull forwards.  It is so instinctive in them and it’s truly wonderful being able to give them that opportunity to enjoy their ‘job’. 

Have a great winter everyone!  Happy trails x

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