Abby Sunshine

Duck Toller

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.

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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?

Skiing

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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1-31-11 More Skijor

Well, are Renae and Gus ready to work together?

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Skijor3 - January 2011

I should say so! Off they go. . .

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Skijor4 - January 2011

Heads turn as this dynamic duo charges down the ski path.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Skijor5 - January 2011

After rounding a hill, they appear on top, running furiously.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Skijor6 - January 2011

They glide down a hill with rocket speed.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Skijor7 - January 2011

It looks like they are slowing down a bit. Hmmm. . . why would they do that?

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1-30-11 John Beargrease Sled Dog Race

Today is the start of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota . Check out this short video!

Beargrease TV Ad

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1-30-11 The Season of Skijor

Winter is here! What does that mean? Skijor is here! What’s the problem with that? Well, for Abby, it means she gets to stand aside and let Cousin Gus have all of the fun.

Skijoring is a sport where one or more dogs and a cross-country skier work together. The skier provides power with skis and poles, and the dog adds energy by running and pulling. There is special equipment necessary for this sport. Aside from skis and poles, the skier wears a skijoring harness. The dog wears a sled dog harness, and the two are connected by a length of rope.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Gus and Abby - January 2011

Let’s get ready so Renae and Gus can hit the trail. We need to make sure Gus is wearing his harness properly.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Skijor25 - January 2011

Renae has adjusted the belt to fit around her waste. The skijoring belt has a wide waistband which is clipped around her waist and also clipped to the line. Special quick-release latches are often used so that the skijorer may unhook the dog’s lead rapidly. Renae has practiced using the quick-release. It’s not quite as easy as the name suggests. That is why it is very important to be a confident skier, to have a good dog, and that the skier and dog have a positive relationship.

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

Renae is all set. Gus is champing at the bit. This requires teamwork. Are they ready to work together?

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Skijor2 - January 2011

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1-17-11 A Loyal Dog, A Devastating Flood

After Brazil flooding, loyalty to the dead

dog by grave

As the death toll from devastating flooding in Brazil continues to rise, a single picture drives home the sense of loss.

Leao, a medium-sized brown mutt,  lies next to the grave of her owner, Cristina Maria Cesario Santana, who died in the catastrophic landslides caused by heavy rain.  This AFP/Getty picture was taken on Saturday, the second consecutive day that the dog refused to leave the woman’s grave at the cemetery in Teresopolis, near Rio de Janiero.

Brazilians are bracing for more rain, fearing more landslides after waves of muddy water swallowed towns in the country’s worst flood disaster on record.

At least 655 deaths were reported in a mountainous region of Rio de Janeiro state, northeast of the city of Rio.

CNN report 1-17-11

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1-10-11 Hempy in the Pre-Abby Years

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I think it’s only appropriate to share times when Hemple was “king of the hill.” No dog in the house!!

Renae and Hemple1 Renae and “kidn.” Hemple was very new here, probably around 8 weeks old. Renae would drag a string, or something, and Kitty would chase it.

Renae and Hemple2 Hemple was never too far from Renae. I think she knew that Renae was a bundle of energy, so wherever she was, kitty would be in on the fun.

Renae and Hemple3

She was also very cozy.

Renae and Hemple4

Didn’t I already mention that Hemple was never too far away?

Renae and Hemple5 “Sisters” of a difference species

Renae and Hemple Renae and Hemple were photographed by Auntie Anita. The photo was done in black and white and then hand-tinted. It is a beautiful piece. The photo for this blog was taken through glass.

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