When we purchesed Kelim´s Rapid of Carmacks "Rapid" (out of two wonderful dogs: NorthWapiti´s Skor and NorthWapiti´s Kluane), we knew this girl has naturally a lot of potential to be a good sled dog.
Rapid took a while to really feel right connected and trusting us completely. Last year we ran her often closer to the leaders and once in a while had her run beside an experienced lead dog. We were amazed about her stride, her speed and drive. We realized she was an inteligent girl, but decided she needed a bit more time. I often smile with the memory of her jumping off the side of the gravel road, into every puddle and mud spot in the ditch. I wasn´t really sure then about her confidence and ability of what she showed us to be this year.
Rapid was in lead yesterday with her experienced friend Magpie and she was simply awsome!
All business, mature, smart, taking commands, lining up nicely and perfectly obeying commands such as gee over and on by.
I was amazed. I was a proud musher then.
But that was yesterday.
This morning Jachym asked me if I was sure about Nitro (as in Kelim´s Nitro at North Wapiti, out of Kelim´s Super Dodge and NorthWapiti´s See Spot Run) and Skittles (NorthWapiti´s Skittles, out of CH.NorthWapiti´s Crunchie and Alaskan´s Olena of Anadyr) written as today´s leaders. "Skittles never ever ran closer to lead than in the first team pair", he said. "And you are putting Nitro, who ran in lead just couple of times and bside stars like Galena?". "Do you realize your lineup board shows girls in heat right behind Nitro?".
"Yes, yes and yes", I said.
Nitro (left) and Skittles during water break this morning
I do not know why, but I had this gut feeling (which I decided to follow without questioning) which said that Skittles will be the main leader today.
So I hooked her up in front of the 14dog section and told her to line up. She stood their like a rock, with her wonderful confidence and wagged tail, following every step I made with her intelligent eyes.
Nitro was bigger challenge, because he kept sniffing the girls behind him.
And off we went. Nitro decided to check every possibility of turn off the road. Skittles confidently pulled him and the twelve other dogs on the "on by" command. She marched so amazingly responsibly and was so proud of this, I had to stop a few times to just go tell her how wonderful dog she was. She shone with every praize and became even more confident. Her eyes were like two little black stars, shining bright and her smile was just incredible. She wagged her whole body, literarly swollowing every word, command and instruction I gave her. She just wanted to learn as much as she could and she wanted to do it all well. Wow, I´ve not seen such attitude since.... perhaps Tazlina.
She turned the team around with a bit of explaining but again, proudly. She didn´t get distracted by anything. She dictated the pace and her dynamic stride just filled me with energy. Watching this little dog work just recharged me completely!!
I could just go on and on and there wouldn´t be enough good words. So let´s just say that I was incredibly amazed.
And I was amazed about Nitro´s focus despite the temptation, and his willingness to learn and follow and cooperate with this totally green, but totally cool new leading star.
I imagined how he will perform when all those distractions are put aside and I smiled so proudly.
We have three absolutely wonderful leading talents on the team! And I will get to work with these dogs the whole season! I feel very fortunate.
And here I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart to our friends Mark and Karen Ramstead from North Wapiti Kennels, Kim and Kelly Berg of Kelim Siberans and Kathy Carmichael for giving us the oportunity to share our lives with absolutely wonderful dogs, which Rapid, Skittles and Nitro just proved to be!