The dogs have been on a perfect training schedule thus far this season. The trails are exceptional with plenty of snow and the temperatures have been cooperative (only two cold snaps down to 30 below zero!) However every once in a while we have to pause the training schedule just to try and get other kennel chores accomplished. It is AMAZING how much we need to get done before the races start.
Here is just a small glimpse of some of the SP Kennel "to do's":
L-R: Moira put a new collar on Chica, Meghan looks at Ranger's feet.
All of the dogs get brand new collars annually. After a year of summer dirt and grime and winter straw and bedding the collars desperately need replacement. But every dog's collar has to have two forms of identification: the dog's name and a metal tag with SP Kennel's phone numbers and address. So, the task of changing collars is no small feat.
Next, all the dogs are weighed. We keep track of dog weight's on a spreadsheet. As many people can imagine some huskies have incredibly thick winter coats. We might look at Nacho and say "Boy, Nacho is as fat as a hog right now!" But, in reality his fur coat makes him look a little chubbier than Waylon or Viper. So, having realistic weights throughout the training season is helpful. Of course, both the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod require dog weights as part of the Pre-Race Veterinary Exams.
A dogs' feet are everything. Can you imagine trying to jog with a tiny blister or rub spot nagging you? Well, the dogs are the same. So we take time out to bring every dog inside under the bright lights and look over their feet carefully. We also take this time to cut their toe nails. The dogs actually enjoy running around the garage - although a few boys can't help but lift their legs! Argh!