Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Musher's Dog Camp

Due to the short time we were docked at each port of call, we only scheduled one shore excursion each for Ketchikan and Juneau.  We did not schedule a shore excursion for Prince Rupert since we were going to be there less than 6 hours.

The shore excursion we picked for Juneau was the Musher's Dog Camp.  This is where they train dogs for the Iditarod and Yukon Quest dog races.  The dogs run around tracks pulling weights and today, we are the weights!

Above is Louie modelling the latest running gear.  Note the microfiber booties for running in the snow.

Above is Bill Cotter, who was a champion at Yukon Quest (another dog race like Iditarod) with his lead dogs.  The Alpha dogs usually take the lead and the strongest most athletic dogs go behind.

There are 16 dogs total pulling the sled.

And away we go! Wheeeee!

Above is Brian showing us what he takes to the Iditarod.  His grandfather started the Iditarod races in  1973.
Above is a typical sled that the mushers use on the Iditarod Trail.

Then we go visit some puppies.

Below is a mama dog who just gave birth.  As soon as she saw us, her mother instinct kicked in and she ran inside to protect her little baby (see blue arrow).  The dogs they use in Iditarod do not look like a husky.  Today, they are bred to be leaner and stronger and they are a hybrid of several breeds including Saluki.

Below are the puppies who we got to play with:
Above left is Buffalo and above right is Hippo.  Buffalo was very outgoing and Hippo just kept to himself (herself?).

To read more about this cruise, click here.

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