Here I show a single image of each dog in my kennel, and provide information about how they came to be in my kennel, how they got their names, what their personalities are like, and so on. In addition, I have also included some statistics on each one, including what position they are in the team (wheel or lead).
Following the racing sled dogs, I list the other dogs in my home. These dogs do not race, so there is no "Race Position" statistic for them.
Gone but not forgotten...
Tuvo (pronounced TOO-voe) is my lead dog, and is my best, hardest working, fastest dog. Tuvo's pedigree contains Ditko, Shango,and Duska, all Seppala dogs, in addition to Igloo-Pak dogs. Tuvo is the only intact dog I have at the moment, although I have never bred him. Will I ever breed him? Unlikely. While he is an absolutely wonderful dog, and excellent leader, and a superb athlete, he has sufficient flaws in his build that I will probably never breed him into these lines. It would be irresponsible for me to do this as a good steward of the breed.
Tuvo gets his name from Tannau Tuva, which is a real place somewhere near in Mongolia. I learned of Tuva while reading the book Tuva or Bust, Richard Feynman's Last Adventure. Dr. Richard Feynman was a nobel prize winning physicist, and quite a character. In this book, his close friend Ralph Lieghton details their discovery of Tuva on a map, and how Feynman decided he wanted to go there. The book is a chronicle of their adventure to get permission to visit this land. Unfortunately, Feynman died before he could get there. I named Tuvo after Tuva, but changed the "a" to an "o" so that it would sound male, since he is a male dog.
Tuvo's personality is rather quirky. He often barks at strangers, which is unusual for this breed. However, oddly enough, once he meets you, and stops barking, he's fine. Seems to think you are fine too. But, if you walk around the dog truck back to him, he'll bark at you again as if he has never seen you before. He is a sweet, albeit goofy, dog. Not many people besides me get to see his soft and tender side. :-) He is also an absolute screamer in harness. He goes nuts whenever I get the harnesses out. I have to harness and hook him up last so that I have time to get to the sled and get it going before he chews the line in two or his harness up, or just plain wears himself out "harness-banging." He is an excellent lead dog, and is fully gee-haw trained.
If any of you have ever seen the animated Walt Disney movie, Lion King, you may remember one of the hyena's named Ed. To me, Tuvo has roughly the same personality as Ed.
I picked up Lily from a musher friend of mine in Colorado. She was leading the team at the time, and now leads my team with Tuvo. Lily is a rather peculiar dog. When I first got her, she was pretty aggressive in my kennel, but calmed down with some persuasion. She still had an edge to her personality before I got her neutered. After that, she became rather docile in the kennel. Go figure. She runs well for me.
While it is true that she runs lead with Tuvo, she is too easily distracted on the trail to run lead alone. Tuvo is the brains of the operation. :-)
I adopted Tasska (pronounced TASS-ka) from the animal shelter in Los Alamos, New Mexico, in 1992. She is a Siberian Husky. The little I know of her past is not pleasant. She would become bored in her environment and escape from her yard. The owner would, upon recovery, beat and yell at her. She spent a lot of time on the "mean streets" of Los Alamos. Animal control picked her up several times and, when the owner refused to recover her from the pound on the last pick-up (when there would have been a fine), they put her up for adoption. A friend of mine pointed her out to me, and the rest is history. On a side note, the shelter was particularly full at that time. I later learned that all of the dogs at the shelter at the time I adopted Tasska, all of them, were euthanized. Tasska would surely have perished had I not adopted her.
Once I decided Tasska would make a good sled dog (it took some time to do this -- I carefully evaluated her potential), I had to learn to train her in a different way from my other dogs. Due to her abusive background, any sudden moves or raised voice on my part caused her to cower and shiver. She was also very shy of the shovel when I would clean up after her in her kennel. It was sad. However, with patience and careful handling, she has adjusted and is now a very nice dog, and has learned that not all humans are mean. She really had an aptitude for sledding. She took right to the harness from the get-go, and currently runs in lead next to Tuvo. I always said Tasska was the best five bucks I ever spent (it cost me $5.00 to adopt her from the local shelter). Of course, the rigorous medical examinations, guarantee, and evaluation process cost way more than $5.00.
Tasska gets her name from some place I saw on a map of Russia. I altered the spelling a bit to make it more pronounceable for me. Unfortunately, it was an older map I was looking at, and I can no longer remember the actual name of the place or find it on the newer maps.
Tasska is one of the more vocal dogs in my kennel. She is also quite a hunter. Most Siberians do vocalize, and hunt, but Tasska excels in these areas. She howls and talks to me whenever she gets the chance. She also spends most of her time, when not sleeping or running, hunting for animals. She has, just on walks with me, caught and eaten chipmunks, rabbits, snakes, gophers, lizards, and an assortment of bugs. Since she spent a lot of time on the run from her old home, I suspect she learned to carefully hunt for food. When I first met her at the animal shelter, and took her for walks to get acquainted, I noticed that she stuck her nose in every single hole she saw along the path. Looking for food.