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  • 00:59

    Steven Laviolette of Tuuluuwak Sled Dogs: Mushing through the generations

    in Entertainment

    For those of you that follow the show, you know I have mushers give props to their mentors. Well it's time for me to do the same with one of our own, Steven Laviolette of Tuuluuwak Sled Dogs. Steven is, in my definition, a true musher. He is the 4th generation, and raising the 5th in this wonderful lifestyle we love. His dogs are Siberian, and as I've seen with my own eyes, cared for as if they were his own flesh and blood children. You see, these dogs have, for going on 5 generations of people, been necessary to their lives for more than just the love of the mush. They are relied upon for feeding the family as they go out to hunt and trap, in the Traditional ways. 


    One of the things we are going to discuss is living a Traditional life where hunting and trapping in a part of survival, not sport. Done with prayer and reverence, the Gifts of Nature are just that: GIFTS. We will talk about Indigenous Beliefs and the thanks given for these Gifts versus sport hunting in a traditional musher's life, and how these dogs make survival possible, and are rewarded for their work on our behalf. 


    We are going to talk about raising children in the mushing lifestyle, and how this builds responsibility, character and compassion for ALL Living Beings. Steven will also talk about his kennel of Siberians, life on the trail in Quebec, races and tours, as well as the Spiritual aspects of a life he loves though these sled dogs. And of course, stories from the trail and times these dogs have saved his life. 


    He is mentor to many, although he will not claim to be, as he too seeks guidance from those he respects. We are going to talk about the importance of mentors in mushing, and the community we are so lucky to be a part of. Steven has been an invaluable friend and mentor to me, and my beloved Siberians for years now, and I invite you all to listen in, call in, and enjoy! 

  • 00:59

    Tommy Bird on Life Through Sled Dogs, Back in the Day

    in Entertainment

    I apologize to everyone this morning, as I was having serious technical difficulties getting the show going. So, once I managed to fix things, I started a new broadcast, and what an hour it was.


    Tommy Bird is one of the finest story tellers I've had the pleasure to speak with, and he has promised to return again to tell us more. He shares his life from a wee boy through today working with these sled dogs we so love, stories from the trap line, his races and a few tips on how he manages his team, and why they are so very exceptional. 

  • 00:53

    Cindy Abbott on her "Banner on the Moon" Everest to Sled Dogs and Back Again

    in Entertainment

    For me, just the mention of Cindy Abbott, turns me into a bit of a giddy fan. Understand that it isn't entirely that she is one in 40 women in the USA to have ever summitted Mount Everest, or that she finished the Iditarod on her third try, taking the Red Lantern.  It isn't even really that she is the only woman to do both of these things. You see, she has a rare disease called Wegener's granulomatosis, and it was during training for her Everest climb that she was finally diagnosed after 14 years of fighting an enemy with no name. 


    So, what do you do when you are told you've got a rare and incurable disease? Well, according to Cindy, whether you ascend 29,029 feet on Everest, or you take a team of dogs and do 1049 miles to Nome, you just DO IT. Cindy made the decision to FIGHT. And fight she did. She decided to advocate and educate for NORD, or the National Organization for Rare Disorders, run the "Greatest Race on Earth," climb that rather big hill and continue to be a professor at California State at Fullerton. 


    There is a film about her that is finally finished after four long years in production that will be appearing in festivals this year, called Banner on the Moon. That banner of course is her NORD banner which she takes with her everywhere, and quite frankly, the moon would have to be the next stop for this lady. 


    On a personal note, and why I am so very passionate about speaking with her, is that I too battle a disease. Cindy has been a personal hero to me. So having this opportunity to talk sled dogs and how they've been a positive influence on her, as they have me, will be a highlight of my life. And I do hope that no matter who you are and what you do with dogs, that you too will find this amazing woman to be a source of inspiration unbound, and an example of the strength we all have hidden inside us, waiting for our dogs to show us where to find it. 

  • 01:00

    Von Martin: Author & Anthropologist, Musician & Musher on Life Through Sled Dogs

    in Entertainment

    There is no way to explain the connection one feels with a kindred musher's Spirit. A true Musher living a "dogs first" life, rescuing from shelters and taking in retiring sled dogs so they can continue to do what they have been born to do: mush.  I have more respect for Von Martin than I can describe in this small introduction to the show. 


    Von Martin is an Anthropoligist, public speaker, author of "A Long Way to Nome: The Serum Run '25 Expedition," that he told me was a "love story to his Huskies."  A musician for 30 years and counting, we have been laughing about singing to our dogs, and that I personally cannot deafen them with my off tune singing as they are tone deaf.  And for me, one of his greatest accomplishments, was the 2013 award from the Northwest Sled Dog Association for "Best Cared for Team," making him the only 5 time recipient of this annual award. And that tells me personally, everything I need to know about him to ask him to come speak with us for an hour. 


    Among the amazing dogs Von has had the pleasure of being responsible for, he will tell us Chewbacca's story, an incredible dog and dear friend that was able to participate in the 2011 Serum Run on the Iditarod Trail at age 13. Chewy is just one example of the care and love his dogs recieve to be able to keep on running into their senior years. 


    I encourage you to call in with questions for this true musher man, about his adventures and experiences with the dogs he calls family. 

  • 01:00

    Jamie Van De Walle & Parenting Through Sled Dogs on the Farm: Raising Kids Right

    in Entertainment

    This is a topic that is tantamount in today's declining society of instant gratifcation and youth's entitlement attitude, where personal responsibility seems to have been thrown out the window in the younger generations. As the family farms have disappeared over the last 100 years or so, so has the fundamental building blocks of a compassionate, empathetic and responsible children in our society. 


    Enter Jamie Van De Walle. She is a Michigan State educated woman with a BS in Animal Science and emphasis on Dairy production and management, and Agribusiness, living in Peshtigo Wisconsin on a family farm with her husband Eric, and daugter Riley.  Jamie is a nutritionist at Dairyman's Advantage, a life-long musher and mother. She met her now husband Eric while working there, and she told me that her daughter's first race was when she was just 2.5 months old! 


    In a conversation with Jamie earlier, she explained, "I am a big backer of educating and exposing the youth


    On the show we are going to discuss the importance of raising kids in a more "traditional" style for lack of a better word, with not just house dogs, but sled dogs and dairy cattle as well. She is going to tell us about how they've taught responsibility, compassion, empathy, as well as set goals for young Riley to achieve. 


     

  • 01:00

    Life Through Sled dogs talks with Matthew Failor

    in Entertainment

    Matthew Failor will talk about past present and future with his 17th dog team! 

  • 00:56

    Living Life Through Sled Dogs: The Tuuluuwak Pack Talks to Mama Cruz

    in Lifestyle

    During this episode, I am going to speak with Steven Laviolette and his family about not just living with sled dogs, but living life THROUGH them.


    For those listening that already roll with this crazy life in and around sled dogs, you understand the sacrifices, the joys and the mushing lifestyle. But as this sport makes its rebound, with young folks up and coming, enthusiats and companion owners of these Northern Breeds getting interested for the first time in mushing, opening up the campfire style discussions of just what it takes to maintain a kennel of healthy, happy sled dogs, but the lessons these dogs teach us about how to live, and how to love. 


    The everyday upkeep of a mushing kennel is just where this life begins. You tell most folks out there just the basics of nutritious diets, fresh water, clean kennels, Vetting and of course daily exercise in harness, and they scratch their heads and wonder not only WHY we continue to do what we do, but do so with such passion and determination. THAT is what I would like this conversation with the Tuuluuwak mushers to cover. 

  • 00:28

    Guelph Lake Sled Dog Race: Concept of friends to the reality of a new race

    in Entertainment

    It helps to be a little crazy when you love sled dogs, and the people I'm going to be speaking with love them with their whole hearts. This group of friends via mushing and Siberians, put their heads together one day after a mush, and decided to put a dream into motion - to host a sled dog race. This group of friends that form the Guelph Lake Sled Dog Race committee are Jen Gastmeier, Ralph Shade, Sally Kirkby, Deb Langlois and Richard Meldrum, with consultant Joel Robert Jamison. 


    Those of us that mush and have been to races, see all that goes on, and we know it is hectic. For those that don't, imagine putting on a huge wedding with guests from all over North America, juggling food for a fancy sit down dinner, rooms for the guests, seating arrangements and more. Add to that the happy couple wanting a million dollar wedding for about $300 bucks, guests bringing teams of loud sled dogs, and then doing in in less than a few weeks. Although these friends have had more time than that, it is still quite an undertaking, with everything from securing a location to insurance, sponsors and more. 


    This first time race isn't just about all of us having a great time, and having the public come in to see some of the finest folks on runners with amazing dogs; this group wanted to give back too. So in conjunction with Grand River Hospital Foundation, they have Mush for Healthcare. They have 14 health care departments, and a musher choses a departmen to raise monies for that particular specialtiy area. On the day of the race, a representative from that department will be present to help that musher and team to the start chute, and totals will be tallied. All procedes go to the department of the team has raised funds for. 


    Several of these fine mushers are going to take some time and talk to us about the race from concept to reality, the trails and so much more! 

  • 00:37

    Copper Basin '16 Best Cared for Team Award: Torsten Kohnert

    in Entertainment

    Torsten Kohnert is exactly the person to we need to shine a light on in our mushing world. He is now 44, and the German born Torsten has been mushing for half his life. His recent race, the Copper Basin 300 landed him in 11th place out of 48 teams, and gained him, in my opinion the most prestigious award there is: The Vet's Choice for Best Cared for Team. 


    Torsten's history with sled dogs goes back to 1995 when he moved to Northern Sweded (Lapland) to pursue his passion. He has finished every major race he has entered, including races in Scandinavia Niclas 9 times Finnmark Race (600 mi), 2 Yukon Quests, 2 Copper Basins, and the GinGin 200. 


    Currently, Torsten is living in the beautiful AK to run and race, and his wife and one of two daughters (ages 11 and 14) will join him soon. .  Like many, he has a tour operation with the sled dogs, with 40-50 Huskies in his kennel. And, also like many mushers, living with Nature is a big part of his life, with fishing and hunting to help fill the freezers and his dog's stomachs for those long winter nights.


    We will be talking about those big races mentioned earlier, learn more about how he runs his kennel and the special care he takes of his sled dogs that earned him the Best Cared for Team at the Copper Basin. We will also talk about raising kids with sled dogs, his move to AK, the differences in racing in Lapland vs North America and so much more. 


    And again, is it the opinion of this musher, that the the most important and prestigious award IS Vet's Choice for Best Cared for Team. My knowlegde and experince pales in comparison to his, and most other mushers, but as I've said before, the care, the bond, the love we give to those we are responsible for comes back to us 1000's of time over. It is that trust and love that gets you and your team across that finish line. 


     

  • 00:59

    Matthew Failor & The 17th Dog Team: Life Through Sled Dogs, Mama Cruz Style

    in Lifestyle

    We are going to have Matthew Failor of the 17th Dog team here to talk with us for an hour about not just "Life With Sled Dogs," but "Life THROUGH Sled Dogs:" The why's of mushing in the first place, and what living through them means to Matthew himself. 


    As this show is new and most may not know me, I want to explain a bit more on what I mean by life WITH and life THROUGH sled dogs. Lfie with the sled dogs means everything from a personal bio to what the dogs are fed, and life THROUGH is going to cover the very basics of why we mush in the first place, to what these majestic creatures have taught us about living, loving and doing right. 


    The converstaion is going to be very from-the-hip in an "around the campfire" tone; As sled dog enthusiasts and mushers, we ALL have a story to tell, a new perspective to share and lessons to pass along, regardless of what size our kennels are and if our names are recognized throughout the community, or not. 


    Matthew has a background that spans tourism with the sled dogs, as well as racing, and has some fantastic perspectives to share, and stories a-plenty. I do hope you'll join us for this conversation! 

  • 00:59

    Brad Johnson: Pro Rescue and Pro Conscientious Breeding with Siberian Huskies

    in Entertainment

    Brad Johnson lives in Indianapolis IN, not too far from me. I met him through social media, and he quickly became one of my go-to people for Siberians in need. Brad has lived and worked with these Siberian "people" as  call them for 40 years, a love that spawned in his childhood from neighbor's dogs. It was 1975 when he bought his first Siberian from a respected musher/breeder. And like many of us, the addiction to these amazing dogs began, and he started showing in confirmation, adding to his pack, mushing and more. 


    Over his years loving this breed, he's seen the division of "show Siberian" and "working Siberian" for lack of better terms, as well as an increase in their popularity for all the wrong reasons. With many of the "snow dog" movies, people see them, think "Oh how cute," and go out and purchase a dog with zero knowledge on the history of the breed and their very specific needs. This has led to a huge increase in the numbers of Siberians ending up in rescues, or worse. It was this trend that inspired Brad to start his work with rescues on eduation and assistance, one of them being Northern Lights Sled Dog Rescue. 


    This show will have something for everyone, from the person thinking of rescuing or purchasing a Siberian, to the experienced handler, owner or musher interested in some of the more unfortunate politics involved in the two "types" I mentioned earleir. We will go over the A to Z of being owned by a Siberian, share stories from Brad's 4 decades of living and working with these dogs, and of course his work with Northern Lights Sled Dog Rescue. We will talk about what a "good" and ethical breeder is and is not, as well as promoting rescues. 


    So I invite you all to listen in, ask questions and enjoy time listening to someone I consider a friend to Northern Breeds everywhere. 

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