This afternoon I made it out to Skunk's Place, Aliy Zirkle and Allen Moore's kennel. Skunk was her first sled dog and the name commemorates him, Aliy is just as real, sweet and funny as I had expected, totally warm and genuine and her smile could light up a room. She is one of those rare women who are beautiful for the light that shines out from inside them. She loves her dogs and loves everything she is doing and it shows. Her husband is a great guy too and they make a real and powerful team. I even met her parents who are great folks about my age. They now winter in Florida but summer in Alaska and help support the SP Kennel efforts in many ways and their "grand dogs."
Aliy and Allen do not farm dogs out in the summer as they say the dogs can pick up bad habits and get confused by different handlers and different ways of running them even with hand picked people so they stay home. They get to vacation in the summer because they do not do well in heat and just take loose walks and such, no pulling. Then in September the actual training cycle will start again.
They breed most of their own dogs and have a plan on that but occasionally go outside and pay a stud fee to get a specific bloodline or trait strengthened and prevent too much line breeding. Just one litter this year, four boys and one girl about four weeks old. You will never guess what the little girl's name is!! Would you believe Ginger?? I got a photo of Aliy holding her. I have to tell my Ginger that she may have a namesake running in the big ones in a couple of years. So see what I mean by Celtic knots? What were the odds of this happening? Sled dogs get all sorts of names from mythology to sports and TV figures, goofy ones like the puppies Mary Shields is fostering and so on. But Ginger--you could have knocked me down with a feather!!
A week from tonight I will be getting to the Anchorage airport about now to turn in my last rental car and wait for my late night flight back to the desert. It is still my beloved home but Alaska has definitely taken a foothold in my heart, especially the wonderful dogs.
Welcome to my World
Welcome to the domain different--to paraphrase from New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe which bills itself "The City Different." Perhaps this space is not completely unique but my world shapes what I write as well as many other facets of my life. The four Ds figure prominently but there are many other things as well. Here you will learn what makes me tick, what thrills and inspires me, experiences that impact my life and many other antidotes, vignettes and journal notes that set the paradigm for Dierdre O'Dare and her alter ego Gwynn Morgan and the fiction and poetry they write. I sell nothing here--just share with friends and others who may wander in. There will be pictures, poems, observations, rants on occasion and sometimes even jokes. Welcome to our world!