Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Iditariders & Pre-race Pizza Pressures

Thanks Paula & Dave Clark!
There is a lot of pressure heading toward the starting line of the Iditarod.  The long list of must-do’s includes vet checks, drop bags, logistics, budgeting, training, and AJ maintaining a strict training diet of ice cream and Twix. 

This year’s pressure includes an added challenge that combines the typical race prep and AJ’s nutritional needs.  Snowhook has been tagged into one of the great Chicago debates?  Who makes the best Chicago deep dish pizza?---Giordano or Lou Malnati?  We find ourselves amidst the hotly contested culinary concern courtesy of our 2015 Iditarider, Paula Clark and her husband, Dave. 

Shortly after securing the seat in the sled for the eleven mile stretch in the Ceremonial Start, we received an email from Dave.   While AJ busied himself with making lines for the sled, Rebecca read the email from Dave out loud.  The email concluded with asking if we needed anything from Chicago.  AJ smiled, "A Chicago deep dish pizza.  I want to see what all the fuss is about."  We had no idea Dave and Paula would take us seriously, but soon eight pizzas were shipped north for the tasting and the testing. 
The message pictured above was printed on the outside of one of the shipping
 boxes that contained four of the eight pizzas.  The pressure is on!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Zig. Zag. Mush.

Part of racing is to be nimble and adaptive to your circumstances. It could be a missing drop bag, a broken sled, or a stomach bug---all of which AJ has experienced on the trail at least once. This year, the need to be adaptive not only holds true of what may come on the trail, but also leading up to the starting line. 

The announcement earlier this week that the Iditarod restart would move from Willow to Fairbanks due to poor trail conditions was not a total surprise. AJ and the dogs faced down a race for the record books in 2014. While the dogs crossed the finish line unscathed, Snowhook's musher and sled were beaten, battered, and broken. Not only is the change in the restart location not a surprise, it is the right call to make. With the safety of our family in mind, we find ourselves zigging when we first set out to zag. 

Snowhook's new race strategy is being drafted. Drop bags are being repacked with food and gear for dogs and musher. The details of logistics, budgets, and plans are in the process of being assessed and finalized. We zig. We zag. We adapt. We change. 

What has not changed is the time, effort and care that AJ has put into training the dogs this season. His commitment to the dogs showed when the team crossed the finish line of the Knik 200 race in fourth place---not a bad showing for a musher who left the starting line of that race with getting the dogs accustomed to other teams as he main goal. 

I am very proud of AJ and the dogs, very proud. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

VC from NC

“How’s this?” AJ asked as he dipped Rebecca under the burled arch on Front Street in Nome.  It was then that Vivian Coleman, a stranger to us, snapped the photo that was later described by a fan of the kennel as the musher’s V-day kiss. 

We did not know that the stranger who approached us in the dog lot in Nome who offered to help and wanted to take our picture would become not only a friend, but a handler extraordinaire.

For the second year in a row, Vivian has left her husband, Dave (affectionately dubbed Hey Baby at the kennel) in North Carolina, and headed north for a working winter vacation at Snowhook.  When she was not riding the runners and getting up close and personal with the trail, she helped with dog chores and drop bags, and waited and watched with Rebecca as AJ and Team Snowhook took 4th in the Knik 200. 


Thanks for your help, great attitude and care for the dogs, Vivian.  You are welcome back to Snowhook anytime.  

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Amy: Simply Irresistible

By R. Savidis

I may have been partly or wholly to blame, yet the way I see it, the moment’s lack of resolve could hardly have been avoided.


     They hatched mid-day when I was away at work.  With disappointment at my absence and eagerness of what the next moments would bring, I lifted the roof of the dog house to find mama embraced by the open mouths of eight pups.  Stroking the right side of her face, I congratulated the new mother, “Twig, beautiful girl, you did well,” in answer, her head pressed heavy against my hand.  “May I?” 
     As I reached for the first, the largest pup, black with burst of white fur and the requisite pink belly, the long, freckled nose of his mother nuzzled my hand.  Careful, watch the head, she cautioned.
     One by one, gently and with joy, I lifted, examined and held each.  Six girls and two boys, each completely and purely perfect.  White and small, she was the last subjected to my affection and adoration.  I lifted the pup, eyes closed to the world and an open mouth searching for the warm and giving undercarriage of her mother, I held her in the palm of my hand.  She held me in hers.
     The bubble gum belly exposed was more than I could resist.  Without thought, my thumb glided over her pink belly.  It would be the first of many tummies given to the small girl. 


     Time would turn the pups, once able to fit in my palm to full grown canines of varying sizes, yet throughout her puppyhood and now into adulthood, the routine remains the same.  During free run with her siblings, never straying more than a few yards she will return back and demand to be lifted and given a belly rub.  One evening, holding her in my arms, giving the obligatory---no obligation at all---stroke of her belly, I confided,  “Amy, it is going to be a long trail to Nome if the team has to stop every few miles for a belly rub.”   

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Snowhook's Mushers Mercantile Holiday Boutique is Open!

Snowhook's online holiday boutique is now open!  Thanks to Snowhook supporters who stocked the shelves with wonderful crafts, art, jewelry, and so much more!

Shop until you drop! 

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Online Holiday Auction is OPEN!

Let the bidding begin!  Snowhook’s online Holiday Auction is now open!  Thanks to all those who make this possible from being the masterminds behind the first auction, those who volunteer their time at Auction Central, those who donate items and those who bid!

***The auction is now closed.***

Friday, October 24, 2014

Five Buck Truck!

A dog truck isn’t a want for Snowhook Kennel.  It’s a must-have member of our Iditarod team.  And, up until its unexpected demise last week---complete with foul odors, black smoke, coughing, gasping, swearing, and much ado about mechanics--- prayer has been a critical component of our auto maintenance plan. 

A truck payment was not in our budget for this year.  Is it possible to raise $5000 to help with a down payment on a truck in less than two days?  That’s almost the equivalent if all of Snowhook’s fans on Facebook laid $5 down, or $5 for each mile of the Iditarod race. 

Join Team (insert possibly witty, heartfelt, long, short, boring, fun---we could got any which way, but definitely forthcoming---name here)  with a $5 or more contribution and help Snowhook haul huskies to starting lines, from finish lines, to training trails, and to and from the vet.  

and help us meet our goal of $5000 by noon (AK) Saturday, October 25th!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Harris: Snowhook’s Latest Rescue

The text message was short with the sweetness up for interpretation.  It was classic AJ. 
“We just got a new dog.”
Fair enough. 
With a few back and forth text, it was explained that the new dog was in fact a four-month old pup who was not going to have much of a future.  AJ’s decision was easy.  He knew Rebecca would not turn away a dog in need of a second chance.  There is always enough love to go around, she is quick to tell anyone.  If AJs text was classic him, this reaction to a new dog was definitive Rebecca.
Despite the low pay and a vision plan solely based on squinting, Rebecca, as Snowhook’s Chief Naming Officer named the pup in short order.  Named for a friend and sponsor of Snowhook, Harris, the pup not the person has made herself welcome at the Kennel.  As she should, as she should.  She has stolen several gloves like a proud member of the Outlaw litter, convinced Tenzing that he doesn’t need all the dog pillows for his own, and serves full-time as AJ’s shadow. 
Welcome home, Harris, welcome home.    

Friday, July 18, 2014

Bjourn’s Bad Day: It’s all Fun and Games until Someone Ends up in a Cone

“I think I broke Bjourn,” Rebecca began her phone call with AJ.  Away for work throughout the summer, their nightly phone call always began with an update about the dogs and goings on in the kennel.  Dogs first, the rest of life---if such a thing exists---second.    
“What did you do?”  The musher’s concern for the lead dog was evident in his voice. 
“I put a cone on him,” she confessed. “I’ve never seen a dog react that way to the cone of shame.”
“Yeah, he’s a pretty sensitive dog.”  Knowing their dog, concern gave way to laughter as Rebecca filled AJ in on the details of Bjourn’s bad day. 


            “Oh, Bjourn, what did you do to yourself?”  Rebecca questioned the black dog as she examined a small sore on his side while she did the evening chores.  In true canine fashion, he offered up no explanation.  “Let’s get you cleaned up.”
            Bjourn watched as his wound was cleaned and treated with care.  He included the occasional lick of Rebecca’s fingers or face to aid her efforts.  “There, good as new,” she said as she completed her work and gave him a scratch between his sizable ears. 
As soon as Rebecca’s fingers parted from Bjourn’s fur, he took to licking the sore on his side with the newly added wound-care condiments.  “Bjourn!”
He stopped licking.  What?
With shovel and bucket in hand, she moved to Bjourn’s neighbor with thoughts of cleaning the rest of the kennel. 
The licking started again. 
The licking stopped again.  What?
Determined that her work not being undone, Rebecca set off for the barn emerging moments later with a cone.  With pink hockey tape around the edges to keep the cone from cracking in cold temperatures, the cone had served Snowhook well over the years.  Garcia, of the Freight Train Eight litter had been the cone’s most recent resident.  Rebecca smiled at the memory of her dear boy wandering around in the cone.  He may not have worn it with pride, but he had accepted it as part of a new found fashion sense. 
“Bjourn, meet the cone,” she said as she approached the black lead dog.  “Cone, meet Bjourn,”   She held the cone at snout height for inspection and a standard sniff and whiff greeting. 
As Rebecca slipped the cone over Bjourn’s head and secured it to his collar, Bjourn waged a vocal campaign---equal parts howl, cry, car alarm, and Chewbacca---to verbalize his disgust.
After securing the lampshade barrier, she told herself he just needed a few minutes to adjust.  She grabbed the shovel and bucket to complete her evening scooping duties.  He will be fine, he will be fine. 
Bjourn was certain he was not fine. 
Reaching the opposite end of the kennel, the bucket heavier than before, Rebecca stood straight and looked in Bjourn’s direction.  He was silent---when did that happen? 
As if the weight of the world had filled the cone around his neck, Bjourn’s head drooped, the cone flush to the ground.  Her heart ached at the sight.  I think I broke Bjourn. 
As she approached and setting aside the tools of a dog handler’s trade, she spoke, “Bjourn?”  The cone, not lifting from the dusty ground moved in her direction.  “Bud, you okay?”  The cone shifted toward her again. 
She stood next to him and touched his side.  “Bjourn, bud.”  The cone raised from the ground and covered the toe of her boot allowing it into his new world. 
As she slipped the cone off of her canine, he jumped, arms wrapping around her waist.  Let me tell you about the day I’ve had!

            Rebecca stroked Bjourn’s ears, his black fur warm in the evening sun.  “A cone isn’t your style.  Point taken.”

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Let the Bidding Begin! --- AUCTION IS NOW CLOSED

This is no time for a nap!----Snowhook's summer online auction is officially open!

Bid early, bid often---with over 40 items, this could be our biggest auction yet. 
The auction closes on Sunday, July 6, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. (AKST). 


This is our first auction since Melanie Montague passed.  It was an honor to dedicate our 2014 Iditarod to our friend as she battled against liver cancer.  Melanie volunteered her talents to primp the photos in all our past auctions.  To honor our dear friend, the auction site was accented with purple, her favorite color.  She is missed.