Kennel life is full of dog chores, training dogs, running puppies and racing in competitions. But there is another side to our kennel life that is just as critical to the future of Dog Mushing. That is publicly supporting and promoting Sled Dog Sports! Aliy and Allen discuss puppy training techniques with an International Symposium participant.
Dog Mushing is ambiguously understood by animal enthusiasts worldwide. There are Sled Dog Sports on most continents and Mushing has a history dating back hundreds of years. Many people have heard a story about a Sled Dog team clambering across the frozen tundra, but few people have ever seen a Sled Dog and even fewer have ever been Mushing.
If Dog Mushers, and those concerned with the future of Sled Dog Sports, expect to be understood by a continually evolving world, then we have a responsibility to educate the public the very best that we can. By doing this, we create future mushing enthusiasts and hopefully… racing fans!
Aliy and Allen spoke to well over 10,000 Princess Cruise tourists this past summer in Denali National Park. We were ‘Ambassadors’ with a job to educate people with the truth about Dog Mushing in Alaska. We were able to connect to folks on a very personal level, speaking about nothing other then our favorite topic….the Alaskan Husky, the elite dog of long distance racing.
The summer tourist rush is certainly over now! Denali National Park and every Princess Hotel or Lodge in the area stands vacant until the snow melts and the leaves return.
But, the job of Ambassador continues.
Every high school student in Alaska must take an Alaska Studies course prior to graduation. Since Dog Mushing is an important part of Alaska history, and our official state sport, SP Kennel is committed to bring our Mushing message to area schools. This past school year, Aliy spoke about her passion at several local high schools. She is prepared to do so again this year in both the Fairbanks and Anchorage areas.
In the same vein, not every Alaskan youth attends high school. In tandem with our major sponsor, Horizon Lines of Alaska, we visited Covenant House Alaska (Anchorage) in late October. Covenant House provides a safe haven and positive role models for homeless and run away kids. Here Aliy was able to talk to the kids about the path her life has taken and the joys and tribulations of living her dream. Girlfriend, the Super Talented Sled Dog with very humble beginnings, was really the star of the show – proving that a lot of determination and hard work can provide a road to personal success.
October was a busy month. The Alaska Dog Mushers Association sponsored its annual International Symposium in Fairbanks. Hundreds of Dog Mushers and fans from throughout the U.S. and Canada gathered together to share stories and hear from the experts. Aliy spoke on breeding and puppy raising techniques. Her philosophy of limited, selective breeding and intensive, hands-on training was a favorite of the attendees.
Many people came from the Lower 48 for the symposium. SP Kennel is located in Two Rivers, a 25 mile drive from downtown Fairbanks and arguably the ‘heart of dog mushing’ in Interior Alaska. Symposium attendees from Idaho, North Dakota and Maine drove out to visit our kennel, meet with our canine athletes and experience a training run.
The bottom line is: We love our job as Ambassadors! We will continue to share our passion for Dog Mushing locally, within the U.S. and world wide. We encourage you, our fans, friends and future dog mushers, to visit SP Kennel when ever you come to the Fairbanks area.