Welcome to the blog of a teen and her life with 9 dogs!
These ramblings are best read with a hot cuppa' coffee in your hand and warm slippers on your feet.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Midwest Sled Dog Symposium and A Trip to Nature's Kennel

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Midwest Sled Dog Symposium in Curtis, Michigan. It's an annual event put on by the people of Nature's Kennel and it is full of fun and educational seminars all about the world of dog sledding.

Below is Saturday’s schedule of events so you can of get an idea of how things went. (The ones underlined are the talks that I attended)


Favorite Lead Dogs—Ed Stielstra, Dr. Tim Hunt, Others TBA

 Hands On Beginner Workshop 101. Making necklines and proper fitting of harnesses and dog
booties—Jim Haibach and Louise Russel. Lower Level Classroom



Veterinarian Discussion Panel. Erickson Center Auditorium

Kennel Organization, Management and All the Mistakes I’ve Made. Learn things like how to manage an “urban kennel”, hook up your sled/quad safely, have good neighbor relations, and even learn to build a dog house and pooper scooper—Tim VanderMeulen  and Jessica Wallstrom.

Let skills be your lead dog, and fill your sled bag with content! Use the Iditarod to create skills that last a lifetime (problem solving and critical thinking) while connecting to science and math content—Sid Lucas.


12:00-1:30pm. LUNCH.
Q and A phone call with Iditarod musher Lance Mackey

Lunch hour discussion—Iditarod Teacher on the Trail program--Diane Johnson, Iditarod Trail Education Coordinator. 


Sharing Success in Midwest Mushing—Ryan Anderson, David Gill, Nathan Schroeder.

Virtual Mushing—Following races online. Learn how to interpret race statistics, follow mushers,and gather useful data for classroom use—Craig Adams.


Skijoring and Carting.  Gerhart and Al-Jo Thiart, and Lindsay Demers.

Hands On Beginner Workshop 102. Making tuglines and ganglines—Jim Haibach.

Great Ideas To Get your Classroom/School/Administration Involved in Sled Dog Curriculum . Shannon Wyckoff & Linda Fenton (2013 Target Teacher on the Trail).

Keynote speaker, Paul Shurke will talk about his arctic adventures and Wintergreen Kennel.
(This talk was incredible -- I really like Paul Shurke! He even got a standing O when he finished.)

A few images I captured of the day...

The beginnings of a dog platform...

Jessica and "Ham" demonstrating how the dog platforms work.

Tim showed us how to make a cheap poop scoop.

 "See, it's that easy."

All of the talks were great and taught me so much! The whole thing was so well run; I will be attending this every year I can from now on.

Visit to Nature’s Kennel
On Sunday, everyone was invited out to Ed and Tasha Stielstra’s kennel for a tour and a chance to play with over 170 dogs and puppies.
Can you imagine the dog kisses and puppy breath? So many dogs to cuddle! I was in my element all morning.

One of 3 identical rows. I love this set up!

One of the first females I greeted. I can't remember her name...

This girl could be my Salsa's twin! Her name is Alaska.

Charger, another Iditarod team contender.

This handsome guy's name is Pirate. Ironically, he has a sister who is missing one eye...maybe they should trade names! lol

 Now entering the puppy pens. Warning: The following photos may contain an overload in cuteness!

 "We're ready for our close up!"

Just hangin' out...

"Seriously, put down the camera and hold me. NOW."

Getting some puppy lovin'!

The puppies are learning how to use the wheel...

While we were there they ran one of their teams and took a few people on a ride.

I love that happy face! 

 After the tour of Nature's Kennel, we took the long way home and stopped at a few places along the way.

Dixie on the beach in Grand Marais, Michigan.

All in all, it was a blast of a weekend! I met so many nice and interesting people. It was a great way to kick off the start of another sled dog season. 

I'm way ready for snow now! lol