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.  

Friday, March 14, 2014

In Memoriam: Melanie Montague Carpenter

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.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Hard Fought Finish Line: 10d 21h 18m 24s

"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.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Waiting in White Mountian

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.