Posts Tagged ‘AJ’



March 20th, 2017 Posted 7:46 am

Here – thanks to SV – is Dr. Joe Carson, Snowhook Kennel’s designated musher, at the finish line in Nome. Congrats to Dr. Joe, Rebecca, and AJ, and all those brave members of the nation within.



Go Snowhook!


January 26th, 2017 Posted 8:22 am

Good luck to our Snowhook friends – two and four-legged – in this race!

dogs on the road

SnowBella n the Giant


Congratulations, Snowhook!


March 18th, 2016 Posted 7:33 am

Our team in the greatest sled dog race on earth. Here’s an informative – and pretty moving – final report from Rebecca, CEO of Snowhook. We thank Rebecca for taking the time to send us reports during the race. It’s great to have an insider’s perspective. Rebecca and AJ and all your terrific members of the nation  within: get some rest!

He started the race with seven lead dogs, each with his or her own strength. Yet, with each call from the drop dog coordinator, I watched the number of lead dogs still on the trail dwindle. ‘This could be cutting it close,’ I thought to myself more than once. A dog team without a front end is an unguided missile. As the race continued and I watched his speed decrease and his rest time increase I determined that two things were happening: the dogs picked up something on the trail, and he only had enough lead dogs to go around. Upon is arrival in Nome, I would find I was right on both counts. That he nursed the dogs through a stomach bug was shared the dog lot, but my theory about limited lead dogs was confirmed as I watched the team run to the burled Arch.

Running next to Amy in lead was one of our rescue dogs, Harris. If she did not have his heart before, she certainly had it now. Running out of options, he made the command decision to try Harris in lead. After a couple looks of her shoulder in the early miles out of Kaltag from her new found position, he reassured her, “You’re doing good.” This encouragement was enough for a dog who once had no future to lead the team to the arch in Nome.

Once at the finish line, he wasted no time lifting his heart over his head to award her Snowhook’s biggest honor. With his first finish in 2011, a Snowhook tradition was established—lifting a dog who showed something extra on the trail to touch paw to burled arch. Well done, little one, well done.


I am proud of AJ and the dogs. Despite dropping leaders, a busted race sled that was swapped for a tank of a sled, and stomach bug—all reasons that can lead to a scratch—Snowhoook reached the goal line with eleven happy dogs. I could not be more proud.

Lead dog Harris (with namesake):

Hobbit n Harris


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Posted in Chet The Dog

Snowhook (10): Any Moment Now Edition


March 17th, 2016 Posted 8:19 am

Overnight report from Rebecca, CEO of Snowhook:

I have recounted the story many times that when AJ told me he wanted to run Iditarod, I made him a promise. I told him that I would do everything in my power to get the team to the starting line, he has to get the team to the finish line. In Nome, we are a team even though some of our work is the same, some of it is different.

Following my arrival in Nome on Wednesday morning, the preparations to welcome the team began with the mantra repeating through my mind: make things easy for the dogs, make things easy for AJ. I do not want him to worry a weary body or mind with with locating the space for the dogs or spend additional effort assembling crates.

I learned a lot of things the hard way with his first finish, yet much of it is now more of a routine. I know the dog lot managers by sight and they know me although without our arctic gear on we admitted today we could not pick each other out of a line up. My back up plan to transporting crates from the airport to the dog lot is multiple trips in a cab with a good tip, and I know the hours of the closest market so I can secure a congratulatory Diet Pepsi to give to AJ at the finish line. And, the same advice I give to AJ, I try to give to myself—Please and thank you go a long way. All these things, I like to think I have dialed in when it comes to my role in Nome.

Shortly after landing in Nome and thanks to our host family, I was able to transport dog crates to the airport. Once at the dog lot, I looked for one of two yellow parkas—the garb worn by the couple who have served as the dog lot managers since our first finish. The wife of the dog lot managing duo promptly directed me to space designated for our team. If you can have prime real estate in a dog lot, ours is it. Joe (as in the good doctor who completed all three of his qualifiers running out of our kennel this season) helped me assemble crates and put straw in each. As I re-labled the faded marker on the top of each crate with our last name, the husband of the same duo spoke from over my shoulder, “Well, it’s one of our favorites.” As I continued my work, he told me that they always liked when our team comes into the dog lot—they like that we keep and leave it clean and appreciate the care we give to our dogs. I felt proud not only of Snowhook, but of myself in fulfilling my role in Nome. I could not help it.

Joe and I left the dog lot completely prepared for the team. All that remains to be done is for them to arrive. From the finishing chute, I will direct the team to our holdings in the dog lot. A meal will be prepared for the dogs, massages given and soft words spoken to each. And, after a couple of hours’ work in the dog lot we will welcome sleep.

After leaving its mandatory 8 hour layover in White Mountain, I expect the team to arrive between 5:00 and 7:00 on Thursday morning. Due to the earlier hour, I will not have access to the tracker so it will be up to my mental calculations that take into account a good run and a bad run. I employed the same method last year, and calculated to within 20 minutes of the team’s finish. In case basic math fails both Joe and I, we plan to gear up and begin waiting under the arch in the wee hours of the morning. A best-damn-handling-wife can never be too careful.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some Diet Pepsi and ice cream to procure…


Thanks to the Plunderers and Chet the Jet for helping me keep my promise to AJ and for making Snowhook ‘your’ team—that is the other thing of which I can not help but be proud.




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Posted in Chet The Dog

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