I’ll say this: We didn’t start out with the intention to own 14 dogs.
Of course I was warned… it’s called “kennel creep” in some circles. “Just one more…” is a common theme until one day you find yourself with a full sled dog yard!
In our case, I truly believe each dog arrived serendipitously, and each dog has played a role in making us the dog mushing family we are today.
But why? — is one of the most common question I’m asked by friends, family and strangers alike. And while you might assume it’s because I love dogs and I find puppies irresistible… that’s not even the short of it. In truth: The answer is multi-faceted and worthy of a few newsletters!
Growing up in Central Wisconsin, I always loved visiting my Aunt Susan’s farm. She had horses, Bernese Mountain dogs, cats, a wild fox she’d rehabilitated, rabbits, chinchillas, and aviary… there were animals everywhere, and given that I never grew up with pets (other than a cat who died when I was young), Aunt Susan’s house felt magical.
For one of my birthday parties in early elementary school, I brought my two best friends to Aunt Susan’s house to see the animals and ride horses. Not much of that day sticks in my mind, because the experience was eclipsed by the moment I fell off a horse. The wind was knocked out of me, and I remember feeling mortified that I was the one who fell off.
That is the moment in my life I’ve pinpointed as the day my stubborn self decided “I didn’t like animals.” From my vantage point today, it seemed like I made an overnight decision but I’m sure it was gradual, over time. I remember avoiding dogs at my friends’ houses because “I’m just not an animal person.”
I had a few experiences after college in the late 2000s that started to open my heart. All my closest friends had dogs, and most memorably, I would house-sit for a family with two Dachshunds named Stella and Lulu. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the pair were accustomed to sleeping underneath the covers, plastered to either side of me at night!
In February of 2010, I met Sean through a series of serendipitous events, and I made my first visit west in April of that year — and until I arrived, I had nearly forgotten Sean came as a package deal. I would need to share his affection with two rescues: Foxy (a feisty fox-red lab) and Daisy (a mischievous Weimerainer) and — just as quickly as I remember hating animals, all my walls melted away as soon as I met those girls.
I never turned back.
That same year Sean and I met, Foxy died suddenly from liver failure - and we knew Daisy needed a companion. We came across a Weimerariner rescue in California who had a sweet male Weim up for adoption named Dexter. From the moment he hopped in our car for the first time, Daisy and Dexter were inseparable… until my dad convinced me to leave Dexter in Wisconsin with him in 2012. Let’s be honest: It wasn’t really “convincing” me, so much as telling me Dexter was his dog after a three-month stay!
It made my heart swell to see how enriched my parents’ lives were with the presence of a dog. As the years went on, Dexter brought a light to their lives during Dad’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, and I know things would have been much more difficult without Dexter’s goofy presence.
After six months of flying solo with Daisy, we were inspired to bring another dog into our lives.
So begins the story of Glacier…
(Photo credit below: DJ Pierce)
Which (as you’ve likely guessed) will be the story for the next newsletter! Have a great holiday weekend!
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