Abby Sunshine

Duck Toller

2-9-11 Book Recommendation

Hachiko Waits

by Leslea Newman

Illustrations by Machiyo Kodaira

After reading about a loyal dog in Brazil (post from January 17), I came across this story about another faithful canine. Based on a true story from the 1920s in Japan, Hachiko, the dog and main character, epitomizes a “good dog.”

Hachiko Waits


“What a good dog you are. What a fine dog you are. Hachi, you are the best dog in all of Japan.” Professor Ueno speaks these words to his faithful dog before boarding the train to work every morning. And every afternoon, just before three o’clock, Hachi is at the train station to greet his beloved master. One day, the train arrives at the station without the professor. Hachi waits.For ten years, Hachi waits for his master to return. Not even Yasuo, the young boy who takes care of Hachi, can persuade him to leave his post.Hachiko Waits, a novel inspired by a true story, brings to life the legendary Akita who became a national symbol for loyalty and devotion. This is a must-read for dog lovers of all ages.

Hachiko Statue

There is a a statue honoring Hachiko in Shibuya (a part of Tokyo), Japan.

As with any good story, books are written and movies are made. Here is a video clip from a 1987 Japanese film Hachikō Monogatari.

Another movie, Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, was made in 2009.

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2-6-11 Renae and Gus Skijoring Loppet 2011

The big day has arrived- Chuck and Don’s Skijoring race in Minneapolis! As a part of the City of Lakes Loppet series of events, this one captures quite a crowd. As you can see, Gus (Renae’s reliable Labrador skijor partner) and Renae are getting ready for the start of the race. Dog handlers Jordan and Todd are supporting Gus in all of the excitement.


Todd is talking to Gus and petting him calmly amid loud barking coming from all directions. Renae is beginning to feel a chill. They need to get moving to warm up!


Time to go!


Here’s a closeup of their start. They were fast out of the gate- ready to hit the trail.


Gus is still pulling strong after having gone almost 4K. I can hear Renae talking with Gus- “Come on, Gus!” Renae told me after the race that Gus seemed to know where to go. He was attentive to the trail.


Here they make their way to another bridge- passing another skijor team on their left!


One last turn, and they are nearing the finish line, much faster than last year.


Though I could not keep up, I found them at the finish area, dog handlers (Cousins Gretchen and Jordan) greeting this dynamic duo.


Who else is at the finish line? Who is standing so quietly by Auntie Anne?

Skijoring9 - Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - February 2011

Well, if it isn’t Pupper Wupper herself. Is she here in support of Renae and Gus? Or does she have something else on mind? Hmmm, I wonder what Todd is holding in his hand.

Skijoring10 - Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - February 2011

Here is the skijor pair- back at the car. Gus and Renae share a moment of endearment after finishing the race.


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2-5-11 Skijoring Loppet 2011

Today is Chuck and Don’s Skijoring Loppet in heart of Minneapolis. Many dogs will make their way around Lake of the Isles in what has been a most exciting adventure for some of the folks of the the Twin Cities. Renae and Cousin Gus (the big, black Labrador Retriever) will be doing it again.

Here are some photos from the event last year.

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2-4-11 History of the Beargrease

John Beargrease, John Beargrease son of an Anishinabe chief and the namesake of today’s popular Minnesota sled dog race, was a force in the creation of many Minnesota towns as we know them today. In the late 1800s, he and his brothers delivered mail along the North Shore of Lake Superior. They were able to bring stability to communities depending on mail being delivered on a consistent basis. Transportation along this route included dog sled during the rugged winter seasons.


In honor of  his important role of service and dedication to this region, a sled dog marathon was created. Mushers come from near and far to participate in this popular event. Here is video footage of the 1st and 2nd mushers crossing the finish line- Ryan Anderson (1st) and Nathan Schroeder only seconds apart in the finish of the 2011 race.

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2-3-11 A Skijor Adventure Done For Now

A day at the ski trails- who could ask for more? There is beautiful snow, the air is crisp, there is plenty of space. Well, Abby Sunshine might ask for more. She might ask if she could do a little more running. Even though she played her favorite game of fetch while the others were skijoring, she may not think that is enough. One thing about Abby Sunshine, she is always game for more action.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Skijor23 - January 2011

Hey, the crowd is leaving- back to the car? Our ski adventures are over??

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Skijor24 - January 2011

It looks that way for today. They must hike over the mountain of snow and into the parking lot. Gus can get his long awaited drink of water.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Skijor27 - January 2011

Renae went back to get my glove. Wasn’t that nice of her?


This was a marvelous winter day.

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2-2-11 After the skijor

Ah, yes, the helpers at base camp were waiting patiently for us. Abby Sunshine made a sprint out to me, proving her speed on the ski trails. Now as she meanders back toward the others, she sniffs the trail.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Skijor14 - January 2011

She kicks it into high gear- maybe trying to impress Renae, Todd and Gus with her speed and agility. It looks like only Gus notices her.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Skijor15 - January 2011

What kind of a deal is this? Abby gets a leash strapped on her- after demonstrating such fast running in the snow. Is that the attention she wants?

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Skijor16 - January 2011

She might wonder why everyone is standing just standing. Let’s move!

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Skijor19 - January 2011

She may be trying to rev up the crowd- Come on everybody! Let’s do something!

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Skijor20 - January 2011

The ski belt is dropping to the ground. . . time to take off the equipment.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Skijor21 - January 2011

I wonder if Abby thinks that it’s her turn to go for a run!

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2-1-11 Taking a Break

Renae and Gus are running right toward me. Look at Gus’ excited gait! His ears are perky- his tail is wagging. I hope to find out why they slowed their pace.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Skijor8 - January 2011

Oh, now I see- Gus got thirsty. He needs water! We must quench his thirst. That’s why it’s always important to have water along and handy to give the canines when they get parched. Eating snow is not going give him what he needs.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Skijor9 - January 2011

I guess it’s enough to give him energy for the last 5 minutes- back to Abby, Todd and the car.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Skijor10 - January 2011

It looks like he’ll grab one more quick bite and they’ll depart.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Skijor11 - January 2011

Gus looks around the corner- perhaps noticing they are on the last leg of today’s journey.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Skijor12 - January 2011

They are getting smaller. . .

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Skijor13 - January 2011

And smaller. . .

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