Sometimes I'm so funny it hurts. Well, yesterday I made a deal with Ken and Gwen. I'm buying a dog from them for $500. Now, I didn't really plan on buying dogs. So far I've managed to get some pretty good ones for no money, as there are so many sled dogs here that need homes. Pete and Parker were free because they were pups from an accidental breeding. I rescued Sister from an asshole who wasn't taking care of her dogs. I bought Strider and Raven for a token amount, but then Raven had her accident, was deemed unrunnable and so I got Hazel as a trade-off. Bull was free because he was injured and that particular musher didn't want an injured dog. The vets said he probably wouldn't run again, but I nursed him back to health and he's my best sled dog by far. Gus was free, again because he had some ongoing injuries, but, again, a little TLC from me and he's doing fine. Ruffles has been retired for a long time but was part of the Raven/Strider package. So, because Ruffles and Raven don't run, I have a seven-dog team of my own. BUT, Bully, who is my best leader, is a little old and slow and so I need a reliable leader for next season, especially for races. Sister and Hazel run in lead but Hazel is easily distracted and has tangled the team more than once. Sister is a great leader in races but she gets bored in training and likes to turn the team around. Very frustrating, indeed. I think Pete and Parker, Pete especially, will be great leaders but that will take time. So when I heard that Ken and Gwen were selling Capiche, a five-year-old who has finished a few Iditarods, including this year, and is a super leader, I jumped at the chance. I know the dog quite well and I think she'll fit in nicely here. She doesn't fight, is a good eater, is a great command leader (that is to say, she doesn't just follow the trail in front of her, she actually listens to the commands) and she's super cute. (You have to be cute to be a sled dog here at Spitfire Kennels.)
So, I'll try to get the price down a little but she's worth about $1000 because she's a proven distance dog, so they're already giving me a deal.
So, with the addition of Capiche I'll have a nice, little eight-dog team. It's still not enough to race the bigger events (you need 12 to run a 200-mile race) but it's a good start. Bull and Gus are getting older and, inevitably slower and more crotchety, so they might need to retire in the next couple of years. Retirement is good here, just ask Ruffles. When she's not lounging on the porch, she's peeing in the house...
So, to recap, Capiche is joining my gang, Bull and Gus are old but still adorable and Ruffles enjoys peeing wherever she pleases. The others are all good and enjoying the warm weather.
Here's Ken with Capiche at a mandatory pre-Iditarod vet check back in February. Capiche is getting an EKG (or ECG, electrocardiogram) which measures the electric activity of a heartbeat to ensure her ticker is strong enough to run 1,000 miles. She finished the race with Ken this year. He was seventh out of the 70 or so mushers that finished. More than 80 started this year's race.