Getting My Fur Fix

For Doggie Lovers Only!
I saw the brochure at the welcome center and knew I had to have this particular adventure. Even with no snow on the ground, the brochure talked about tour visits. P5301285So I was game and it took little convincing for Colin to agree. The Husky Haven is owned by a woman, Kim Darst, who ran in the Iditarod race several times. She and dog handler, Jean, run the tours, usually to school children and groups of travelers. Colin and I were lucky enough to have a private tour of 43 Alaskan huskies and learn more about the Iditarod.

There is a controversy about training and using huskies for snow travel. It seems some think this is abuse. But to many who live in snow country a good portion of the year, it’s actually more reliable than snowmobiles. The huskies all ‘fight’ to be hooked up to the sled, and cry if they are left behind. Jean also told us that the pecking order actually changes after a race, as those that were on the trail have a new confidence that is evident when they return home.

The Iditarod is a 1049-mile race, over a week long. The support teams are tremendous: multitudes of veterinarians, handlers, food/bed facilities, and supplies are located at every forced stop. The dogs cannot go back on the trail until the vet approves, so safety for the dogs is uppermost in this race. When Kim ran the Iditarod in 2009, she and a fellow racer were caught in a severe blizzard, unable to move because of the snow depth and one of her dogs became hypothermic. She set up camp, boiled water, and fed the team for more than 24 hours. A rescue team was eventually sent to find her after her beacon failed to move location. The rescue team that came to Kim’s aid stayed with the majority of the dogs to bring them back safely, while Kim and her injured pup took the snowmobile to the next vet station. Although she didn’t finish the race, her team was thrilled with the attempt and the distance she had covered.

Maybe all of these pictures are not necessary. But it made me so happy to be introduced to each of the dogs, learn about their background and race capabilities, and spend time with each one hugging, pulling fur (it was spring after all and they were all shedding), and giving and getting ‘kisses’. The longer I stayed, the dirtier I became (as you can see in the pictures), but I didn’t mind. I was in Husky Haven heaven.

Baby Sitting Koora

Koora relaxing with me

P.S. A couple of nights later: my habit at any campsite is to visit any neighboring dogs. On Thursday evening (6/2), I was introduced to sweet Koora, a rescue 4 year old blue heeler. I offered to baby sit while Koora’s human Mommy Jess and sister Serena went to dinner in town. It was such a delicious 90 minutes. Better than s’mores.

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  • Shingleton, Huskies

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    Husky Haven, Singleton, MI

  • 6 Comments on “Getting My Fur Fix

    1. Comme ils sont beaux! J’adore leur regard!
      From Cheryl: Dearest Michèle, Thank you for loving me and dogs. They are our hearts, n’est ce pas? Thank you for following us on this journey, I love having you with me.

    2. Moi aussi (what Michele said). Fabulous shots of the dogs and Cheryl loving on each other. LOVE these photos!
      From Cheryl: Dearest Marge, You really understand my constant heart ache for live fur. Thank you for having the patience to see them and me. It was a love fest!

    3. So happy for you! What a cool experience.
      From Cheryl: Thank you sweet Bill. It was so great for me!

    4. They are such handsome animals; and what intelligent faces! I can’t begin to imagine how happy Cheryl was.
      From Cheryl: Over the top in love with 43 fur babies! What a gorgeous experience!

    5. How cool for you! I can’t believe you ever left there.
      From Cheryl: OH my, it was hard to pull away. More importantly, it was extremely difficult to leave 2 of the older pups, whom Jean said might go to a good home if they found the right people. Ah, my heart was breaking. But they have a life there for as long as they live, they never give them to an animal shelter.

    6. Nancy and I really bought our van so we could take our dog with us. Definitely best friend.
      From Cheryl: I’m so jealous! Glad you will have your best friend with you. Trying to talk Colin into adopting two more from the SPCA. Hard going, he’s able to hike places that don’t allow dogs, but I’m working on him.

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