24 Hours of Golden Slumber

Good evening Ryno Kennel fans!  Since Ryne is on her 24 and not doing much moving about, in this evening's blog we’re going to talk about what its like being out on the trail.  Our world is very different from most people and revolves around dogs 24/7, even more so when we’re out on the race trail.  A typical day on the race trail will see about eight to twelve hours of rest for the dogs and one to four hours of rest for the musher. 

Every musher runs a different schedule, and many factors play into how each schedule is set up.  During our mid distance races, Ryne ran a competitive schedule, while I ran a puppy schedule.  That means that Ryne would run for anywhere from five to eight hours and rest three to six hours, and I would run what we can an even run/rest schedule.  For every five to eight hours I’d run, I would rest for five to eight hours. 

While the dogs get to go to sleep pretty quickly on a nice bed of straw, the musher is tasked with de-bootying, starting up a cooker to melt snow for dog food, massaging out sore dogs and re-organizing their sled.  Everyone is a little different, so I’ll just give you a quick outline of what I do when we stop.


As soon as I can, I try to get straw down for the dogs.  If its been a particularly long run, I’ll give them snacks as soon as we stop.  These snacks come in a variety of forms: poultry fat, beef, liver, BLT, (not bacon, lettuce and tomato, but beef, liver and tripe. Yum!) or salmon.  Then I’ll take booties off, and if its cold outside, I’ll put on jackets and cover the dogs with fleece blankets.  My goal is to get the dogs bedded down and sleeping comfortably as quickly as possible.  Once the dogs are settled, if there are any sore dogs I’ll massage them out and apply heat.  We do this by putting on a t-shirt specifically made for dogs that has little pockets I can put hand warmers in to keep their muscles warm while they rest.  Once that’s done I’ll get my cooker started up to so I can have hot water ready to make a delicious meal for the dogs which will be a mix of beef, kibble and supplements.  It typically takes the cooker about 30 minutes to go from snow to water.  If the dogs are really sleeping and they’ve had a good snack, I might wait another couple hours till I feed.  During that time I’ll re-organize my sled for the next run, get some food for myself and maybe snooze a bit.  Once the dogs are all fed, its time for me to get some real rest, though by this time it usually only amounts to about an hour or two. 


I’m not particularly fast, so I like to give myself a good hour or more to get ready before its go time.  In this hour I’ll walk out dogs that have shown any signs of soreness to see if they’re looking better, drop any dogs that might be too injured to continue, re-massage dogs and get everyone’s booties on for our next run.  After we’re all walked out, massaged, bootied and packed, its time to pull the hook and head on down the trail.  Rinse, lather, repeat. 


That’s all for now, folks, tune back in tomorrow morning to see how Ryne’s doing as she hits the trail again after her 24 hour layover!