Well, training is in full swing, and the wet cool summer has transitioned into a wet warm fall, so nothing has changed really. The weather in Gausdal has been amazingly bad all summer. In fact, it is the wettest summer since 1906. We have had a grand total of 9 days without a drop of rain since May.
The dogs are being troopers though. They are happy and dry in their houses and have shown no signs of hesitation when faced with the prospect of yet another training run in the rain.
Our youngest puppies seem to have excepted rain as a part of their day to day, and are just as likely to be out playing in the rain as they are to be sheltered inside their house.
We have had them inside for some dryout and socializing time.
They have gotten big, and started getting some fun personalities. Wave is the surfer dude of the group. Does his own thing and only check's in to tell us how radical what he just did was. Stream is like her Mom and makes a lot of noice just in case their is something to make noice about that she is missing. Rain is a little bit more of a mellow guy. Very friendly and very active like the rest, but more inclined to stop and notice the details, unlike Stream who wouldn't notice a nuclear bomb go off.
Puddle is a sweet heart. Very tough and small, but off all the puppies she is the one most inclined to come and snuggle.
Fall training is rolling along. The team looks great.
The puppies from last year are looking awesome now in the adult team. The biggest surprise has been Moon, our little non-discript grey female. She was a very carefull puppy, who showed some signs of uncertainty last winter as a puppy. Now she is a total rockstar. She is running in lead a bit, hard driving, smooth moving. Who'd a thunk it.
Hudson, Marble and Soline have all been pulling leader duty as well. Marble is good after we have been going for a while or with a team in front of her. Hudson is a train, just chugging along up front. And Soline takes it very seriously being in front.
Soka is back training with us a bit after having her puppies. They are almost weaned now so she has started some light training. It is a relief to have her in the team again, as she is the only experienced leader we have.
We had to say goodbye to two of our dear friends. A few weeks ago we said goodbye to George and Blåmann. They had both gotten very old over the summer, and after consulting with the vet it was decided that the best for them would be to enjoy the summer, but not have to struggle through another Norwegian winter.
George was 11 and Blåmann was 14.
We miss them both tremendously.
On a happier note we will be importing a dog from Alaska in May.
I have done the flight and travel logistics for Team Sigrid Ekran's trip to Iditarod 2012, and in exchange Sigrid agreed to bring back a dog for me.
I just needed to find the dog.
After several months of searching and thinking, I contacted DeeDee Jonrowe, who some of you may remember as the musher Kaia worked for in Alaska.
DeeDee listened to what i was looking for, asked follow up questions, slept on it and offered us Ethan (see picture).
Ethan is 6 years old. He has finished Iditarod in DeeDee's A-Team 3 times as a leader, and represents DeeDee's opinion of her best lines and dogs. Ethan damaged a wrist during training, and is out of the Iditarod pool, but is a super dog and one that will be able to train with us and more importantly contribute to our kennels genetics and future. Ethan will certainly be Ropphaugen Royalty!
The plan as it stands now is that Ethan will come to Norway in April, when Sigrid returns from Iditarod. So if everything goes as planned, Ethan will be checking out his new digs before our females come into heat!
A huge shout out and thank you to DeeDee Jonrowe for working with us! We are excited and can't wait to get Ethan here!
Updates as events warrant