Monday, January 20, 2014

I was meant to be a dog musher...

Here is a mid-season musher's rambling… by Aliy

This SP Kennel Dog Log is often filled with videos and photos of our dogs, our mushers and their combined adventures. The training, the racing as well as all of the other antics at SP Kennel. As it appears through the eyes of this website, my entire life is consumed in one way or another with dogs. That is the truth. When I first wake up in the morning, I usually roll over and acknowledge the dog hogging my bed. The very last thing I do in the evening is let dogs out and pass out biscuits. Honestly, there are very few moments in between when I am not in some form or fashion thinking about dogs.

Every once in a while, I wonder… just how did I get here?

I wasn't born into a dog mushing family. Mushing was not my family's business. I wasn't even raised in Alaska. I never even saw a dog sled until I was an adult. But, I am a girl who has always had an absolute love and respect for dogs.

Some of my best childhood memories involve a huge furry husky/shepherd mix named Cleo. She was my pal and my sister and I loved her. I also somewhat remember a huge Rhodesian Ridgeback hound but he left the family kinda quick after eating a birthday cake. My family always had dogs.

"My" first dog was named Puppy Love. I was probably 8 or 9 years old when that stray dog showed up in my life. My parents didn't feel threatened by the little dog because we were headed on a week long vacation. There was no way a stray would stick around that long no matter how cute their daughter was. But, on the sly, I had convinced a neighbor to fed that little terrier at our house while we were gone. When she was sitting on our door step a week later, she was allowed to stay. I taught Puppy Love to do tricks and we would entertain anyone who paused near our house. She was a fun dog.

"My" second dog was Carmel. I was probably 10 years old when he just happened to show up at the door step. He wasn't a big fellah and he didn't have the knack for learning tricks. But he loved to run. That's when I started mushing. I didn't know it was mushing, but I see now that it was. I would put a leash on Carmel, sit on my skateboard or balance on my roller skates and he would GO! We raced up and down the concrete streets and I earned more than my fair share of few skinned knees and elbows. Even my best friends had similar mushing dogs. Our dogs pulled us all over the neighborhood. That was some of the best fun a kid could have.

I realize that many years and much distance lay between my first dog mushing miles and the thousands and thousands of dog mushing miles I do today. The dogs are different and the land is different, but the musher is the same. At heart, I am still that little girl who believes that there is nothing better than the awesome camaraderie and the amazing adventures I can have with a dog.

I was meant to be a dog musher.


Skokie said...

I think you have inspired me to write you a letter. I love your story. I am new to Alaska and moved here because I want to learn to mush and go to school. I have seen your videos and Pleasant Valley store. I went there this past weekend and took photos. It does all exist! =D

Linda Toth said...

And thank goodness for that.

Nessmuk said...

I'm always amazed reading the bio's of does one "end up" in Alaska mushing dogs anyhow I think as I scroll down to read the next. Sometimes I think " there is quite the story behind that one"! If your a Seavey or Mackey, yeah, your going to race dogs....but now I see how a little girl thousands of miles away from Alaska can be touched by "dog power" and drawn to the sport....for you it truly is and always has been about the's your passion....your motivation and drive to achieve your dream is awe inspiring! You must look around every day and say "yeah, this is it.....this feels so right". A little Puppy Love goes a long way! Enjoy what you was meant to be....that little girl from years ago must be very happy! Thanks for sharing a further glimpse into your Bio!

Dawn E said...

awww...nicely said Aliy. Thanks for sharing your love with all of us...the dogs, the joy and of

Anonymous said...

Woof, woof, wooof!!!

Thanks for sharing!!!

marilyn cozzens said...

Aliy, what an inspiring story. You were born to be a musher. The bond you have with all of your dogs is very evident. All the best in the upcoming races. May SP Kennel be victorious.

Lourdes, VT said...

And a great musher you are Aliy! Thank you so much for sharing your dreams and your life vocation with us!!!

Lisa B said...

Great story Aliy, thanks for sharing - love this insight into how those that weren't born in AK or into a mushing family find their way behind a team of dogs. Can't resist a bit of tease though and say it's not nice to call Allen the "dog hogging my bed" - ha ha!

stormy said...

Rock on,Aliy!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the insight!!!

It is 13 degrees and heavy snow in Weston, CT right now, thinking of the races to come in AK, all the best to 2 legged and 4 legged SP Kennel races and backup staff,

Most sincerely,


ViewFr4Inch said...

Thanks for telling your story. Reading your story and following your SPK adventures, I can see in another life I could have chosen the direction of mushing. In a similar way, I was born in a non-dog family, but somehow came hard wired to train and interact with dogs from an early age. I went the direction of dog agility and my Papillon, Taylor, even won a national agility championship.

He wasn't the fastest dog, but he was the smartest. He would have made a good leader if born a sled dog. His physical challenges didn't stop him and the higher the hurdles the more he stepped up. He could create energy out of thin air.

Great dogs are a work of art and nature. It's a fantastic blessing when one comes into your life.

Wish you much success. You're a great inspiration even to those of us far away and on a different plane but still running in the company of dogs.

Holly Freeman said...

Thank you for giving us a window into your evolution as a dog musher. It's a spark that was in your soul from the start; part of your very nature. Beautiful!

You and all of SP crew demonstrate a high level of respect for the dogs, your canine family.

Good luck as you prepare for the Yukon!