Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Esther's first Dogsled Ride

Esther and lovable Maku "Moochie" dog -- she has been wanting to find a dog she could "ride" like this forever! Since she read the "Carl" picture books when she was a year old. Finally, Moochie was accommodating and sweet for her.

Right in time for the Iditarod season, Esther got her first dogsled ride! We visited our best buddies' Jill & Jeremy's house in Nikiski, Alaska, on the Kenai penninsula, where they are building their house and training their dogteam last week.
Esther and Jill on their bluff overlooking the ocean and mountains, a five minute walk up the hill from their cabin.

We had a great time in their warm and cozy cabin, where they are homesteading in the long tradition of Alaskan homesteaders. I'm very proud of Jill living without running water, Jeremy building the house himself, and both of them figuring things out as they go along. Jill & Esther & Ruby
Esther being a trooper on the outdoor potty chair! Sorry, I can't figure out how to get this picture to be vertical -- sorry for any neck-craning!

Slackline Kennels (their team name) is still overbrimming with wonderful dogs, and it's so impressive to see how professional and smooth their dog mushing operation has become. They have a great system, and their dogs are so well taken care of. I was reading some ridiculous criticisms of the Iditarod today online, in which people were saying that dog mushing is animal cruelty and all that nonsense. You only need to spend 5 minutes looking at Jill & Jeremy's dog lot to see that these are some healthy, well-cared-for, and insanely happy dogs. And they love to run -- they get super excited when they are getting hooked up, and their howling is soothing to the spirit. It was a great visit, as you can see!

Jill & Esther in the doglot, meeting the dogs.
Taking a break in the doglot while the team gets ready.
All packed in the sled and ready!
Right before take off. Sorry, another one I can't figure out how to make right-side up.

Esther totally loved the ride -- they even had a few bumps and dumps along the way, and she got right back in the sled, excited and chatting with Jill the whole way. They even got back after dark! What a cool experience.

Grown-up Litter

Esther taking Fancy for a ride on her bouncy horse -- Fancy looks thrilled, doesn't she? :)

Talk about a pile o' puppies!

The whole cute group, at about 5 and a half weeks, right before they were given to their prospective homes...

The remaining two, Fancy and Draco, who have no idea what's in store for them during their first bath.

Little wet rats! :)

They survived, contrary to what they believed when they were getting washed off. :)
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