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!
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.
text message was short with the sweetness up for interpretation.It was classic AJ.
“We just got a new dog.”
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.
“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
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
“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
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.”
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).
THE AUCTION IS NOW CLOSED
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.
Two journeys have come to an end. The first when the team passed under the burled arch yesterday, and the second occurred last night. Melanie, dear friend of the kennel, passed away after a fierce battle with liver cancer.
It was Snowhook's honor to dedicate our 2014 Iditarod to Melanie, and an even greater honor to call her our friend.
"The dogs did exactly as I trained them to run," AJ said shortly before he fell asleep after 10 days, 21 hours, 18 minutes and 24 seconds on the trail, and a 33rd place finish.
Yes, the dogs did quite well. They led him through terrain, the likes of which he hopes never to see again. They darted through ferocious winds to deliver him to the next checkpoint. And, in the final seventy-seven mile stretch, caught in a blow hole, AJ trusted the dogs he could no longer see in the whiteout conditions. Out of a band of amazing canine athletes and partners who did he choose to lift above his head to touch paw to burled arch?---The whimsical Louisa Mae. Having led sporadically throughout the season she did not rank among his main leaders going into the race. Yet, this sweet girl led the team for the final 200 miles of the race and across the finish line in a race that will go down in Iditarod history.
Stories are slowly being shared about the difficulty of the race---the details may not come at all---yet each tale is punctuated by the black bruises that span the length of AJ's body. It was a hard fought finish line.
And now, we rest.
It was an honor to dedicate our 2014 Iditarod to Melanie.
There is no place like Nome especially around the race. The burled arch is erected on Front Street waiting for each team to welcome the finish of a hard fought race. Constant chatter and slinging of stories from the trail are white noise in the Mini-Convention center that serves as the Nome-based headquarters.
A lot can happen between the seventy-seven mile run between White-Mountain, the checkpoint where teams take a mandatory eight hour layover and the finish line, yet I expect to see the team running up Front Street midday on Thursday. What a race! The team may not have crossed under the burled arch yet, but this race with low snow, a trail that waged war on the mushers, high winds and a high scratch rate is one for the record books.
Is it possible to express my pride in AJ and the dogs that have partnered together in this journey? Hardly. It is the kind of pride that takes my words and fills my heart with burning and my eyes with tears.
Our finish line nears as does Melanie’s. Both are surrounded with love.
Creator – we thank you for this day, and for the safe travels of all who are
far from home. We thank you for the rest they will have, a deep and peaceful
rest to sustain them through the rest of their journey. Tonight AJ is closer
to the finish line. His courage and his honor have held him up during this
difficult race. The strong hearts of his dogs have sustained them through the
terrible trails. The partnership this team has will bring them across the line
together, and their love will be obvious to all. Tonight, Melanie is closer
to the end of her journey on this earth. Let her heart be at peace, knowing how
much she is loved; knowing how many lives she has touched, knowing that she has
lived an honorable life. Creator – we ask you to lead the team to Nome, bring
them through the ice and winds; bring them through the night and the fog. Let
the finish line burn bright in their eyes that they may see their goal so close
at hand. We ask that the team sleep well this night at White Mountain. Let
them sleep a deep and restoring sleep as a tribute to all they have
done. Creator – tomorrow the team will rejoin Rebecca, and all will be a
family again. Let us celebrate the joy of a job well done, of reuniting of loved
ones, of testing themselves against all odds and finding the courage and the
strength to do the impossible. We are grateful to be a part of this family and
this adventure. We ask you to wrap AJ and Rebecca and the team in the comfort of
our love. Creator – we thank you for this day, and for the safe travels of
all who are far from home. We thank you for the rest they will have, a deep and
peaceful rest to sustain them through the rest of their journey. For then
they will be home.