"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers
The following organizations promote dog sledding in the state of Michigan; I am a member of both.
MiDD Michigan Dog Drivers Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing aspiring mid-distance mushers with organized middle distance events. Their Web Site is: www.michigandogdrivers.org
Paige Paige is a female who's name was originally Puppy. When I purchased Puppy from Ed Stielstra in March 2006 she was so shy that she would drop to the ground whenever you attempted to pet her; this was not anyone's fault; it was just the way she was. Thanks to my wife who changed her name to Paige (she is my wife's favorite dog) and spent hours with her petting her and talking to her; Paige is now a fearless female and one of my team leaders. She ran with Nat when he was my leader; when Nat became ill, I purchased Tornado from Ed; however since Tornado was new to the pack and I needed to run two dogs up front, I decided to run Paige and Tornado together. Ironically, Paige responded and was the leader of the team for our entire first race season. She is an unbelievable athlete, never tires, loves to run in lead and loves to be in charge.
Tornado Tornado arrived in December 2006; I purchased him from Ed Stielstra after my lead dog Nat became ill. I ran Tornado in swing for a while to let him get use to the team and then switched him to lead with Paige. He is a neutered male. He is a good dog, very affectionate, loves to eat though he is not as strong or as fast as Paige.
Bill I got Bill from Ed Stielstra in August of 2006. He is a very energetic dog though he is very large for a sled dog and as a result he gets hotter than the smaller dogs and tires quicker. He is very mouthy, eats harnesses and necklines and chews everything. That being said I love him just a much as the rest of the dogs.
Oz Oz is Nat's son, I purchased him from Ed & Tasha Stielstra in January 2007; I hope that he will become my new lead dog in the years ahead. He acts just like his father Nat and looks like him to. He is full of energy, runs well and is very friendly.
Elastigirl I purchased Elastigirl from Ed & Tasha in January 2007. She runs well though she crabs (runs sideways in harness). She is a really nice dog, she loves to be petted and really loves to have her belly rubbed (for hours). She is a very honest sled dog and though she is the smallest dog I have she pulls harder than several of the larger dogs.
Zip I got Zip from Ed & Tasha in August of 2006, he is a very nice looking sled dog, is very affectionate and runs well in swing, he really does not like to run in lead though he will for short periods of time. I switch him and Tornado in and out of lead since neither one of them really like to run lead.
Monte Monte is one of the "Brothers" or the "Boys" as my wife and I call them. They are brothers, they have never been apart and they run in wheel. Wheel dogs run just in front of the sled and pull 60% of the weight. Monte and his brother, Munster are unbelievably powerful dogs, they never stop pulling, they love to pull. During hook up they are the most vocal dogs I have, they bark and cry until the sled begins to move down the trail.
Munster Munster is really something, he has a very distinctive cry during hook up and pulls like a freight train though his brother, Monte is the better athlete in my opinion. I have never seen two dogs who love to pull as much as Monte and Munster, except maybe Elastigirl and Paige.
Tops Tops arrived in the Spring of 2007. He is a wonderful dog; he ran on Ed Stielstra's 2004 and 2005 Iditarod teams and was supposed to run on Ed's 2006 team until Arlo (Nat's brother) bit him on the face on the way to Alaska. Tops led Jake's (Ed's 2008 Iditarod "B" team driver) team for much of last season; running with Happy; I am hopping that he will run as well with Paige. He is the oldest dog on my team; he is 8 years old; he is the old leader my team needs to help it mature.
Barb Barb is sweet, there is no other way to describe her. She loves to ride in the Jeep and loves to be rubbed. Barb is Bill's sister; I now have two large white dogs. Barb is much quieter than Bill; she does not bark much and she does not jump around all of the time; two things that Bill does all of the time. Hopefully she will rub off on Bill; actually, I like Bill just the way he is; if he changed, he would not be Bill.
J.P. I purchased J.P. from Lance Mackey in June of last year; he is very playful and friendly. This will be his first real race season; he was too young to really excel last season.
Pie Pie Pie is a large 6 year old female; I acquired her from Ed Stielstra last summer; she is very intelligent and loving. She loves to "High Five" and really loves to sit with me and be petted.
Aggie Aget arrived last October from from Lincoln, Montana. She is a young dog from Jason Barron's kennel. She is shy though she is coming around just like Paige did. This should be her first real race season; she was too young to really excel last season.
Scout Scout is a 4 year old female from Jason Barron's kennel. She was on Jason's main team; she is a mature female and is my team "cheerleader".
Deagel Deagel is a 4 year old male I purchased from Jason Barron after the UP 200 this year; he is a leader who I hope will help my team next year.
Cleo Cleo is a 2 year old female I purchased from Jason Barron after the UP 200 this year; she is Scout's daughter; she has Scout's eyes and her attitude; she is full of energy all of the time.
Handsome Handsome is my token Malamute; the lone big dog among many smaller faster Alaskan Huskies. He is 9 years old though he does not show his age; he is very handsome; no I did not name him; it was his name when I rescued him. He is a classic Malamute. He loves to run and jump and play with his old white ball. Someday I will hook him up to the sled to see if he knows what to do.