Gaby and I have had Siberian Huskies for almost 10 years now – time flies when you are having fun :-) While I was always fascinated by the breed (some distant neighbours back in Germany had 2 Huskies and they were awe- and fearsome to watch as a little 5 year old boy) due to moving around the world and mostly living in small apartment blocks the opportunity never came to take one on. That is, until I married Gaby and we moved into a rented house whose owners happened to have three (!) Sibes. Life was good – we could play with them and not have any of the responsibilities that come with owning Huskies ;-) Then I had to go on overseas travel back to Europe for two weeks and when I came back, jet lagged and tired, Gaby picked me up from the airport and the first thing she asked was “You always wanted to have your own Husky – didn’t you Darling?” For those among you that are married you will understand the immediate raise of a very large and very red flag in my mind. Fearing that Gaby had seen a Husky she would like to adopt, I cautiously replied “Sure, once we own a house with a big garden”, leaving me plenty of escape routes open. Sadly, Gaby had foreseen this and all she said was “Have a look in the car”. What can I say? In the car I met Sasha – a beautiful black and white Husky boy, in pretty bad shape from being abandoned and living rough for who knows how long, but with those blue and brown eyes. Is there love at first sight? You bet. So this is how we got our first Sibe. North Carolina is a great place to live – warm, sunny, with great beaches, but not the best one for Sled Dog Racing. It wasn’t until some years later that we moved to New Zealand and were rather surprised by the invigorating environment (we mistakenly identified the cabbage trees as Palm trees and assumed Palmerston North was nice and warm). Having bought a house, we decided to get Sasha a girlfriend so he wouldn’t be alone during the day when Gaby and I had to go to work. This is how Kaya came to us, the first true Kiwi in our family. Sadly Sasha died three years later and we were devastated, having to put down our first dog. We buried him in the front yard and I am still talking to him today. Kaya was also rather disturbed at Sasha’s absence and we wanted her to have a mate again. Enter Nanuk. A wonderful Husky boy with floppy ears and with what I can only describe as a surfer-dude attitude. With Nanuk we finally heard of dry land mushing and sledding in New Zealand and came to some races to watch (getting up at 4 am on a Saturday/Sunday was something to get used to). We tentatively entered Kaya in some single dog events and I got horribly lost on my first ever race – while the flags where clearly visible, I came up with my own system of what the placing left and right of the trail meant and with the rig tyre marks going a way, I ended up doing the rig course instead of the scooter one. It was also either a very early morning or a night race – as it was rather dark at some point and I was wondering why I didn’t see anyone else on the track. Eventually a car pulls up behind me and I was informed that everyone was concerned and wondering where I was. “I am running on the trail – there are the flags, see?” Well, the flags for the wrong course. After returning back to a finish line and being disqualified for running the wrong course, I decided I learned a valuable lesson and it can only get better from there. Over the course of these race seasons we got to know some great people: Anthea, Colin, Laurie, Linda, Rebecca, Lin, Melissa, Mark, Joan, to name just a few and on each race we got to know more and more people. Kirsten, Andrew, Jamie, Mel, Chris, Lori, Rory, Bob, Marylin, Ray, Jim, Lyn, Tony, and so many many more from clubs all around New Zealand. With all the encouragement we had from everyone, we became more and more involved in the racing and as it goes, we started shaping our lives around the racing season. Do we need a new paintjob for the house or a dog trailer? New Husky proof front fence and gate, crates, another scooter, the list goes on and one. So a typical fate of a newbie getting hooked. One thing led to another and we found ourselves with a group of very dedicated fellow mushers interested in doing more than just the race weekend or the odd lonely training session. This was the birth of the social racing and cooking group “Just Fur Fun” – with three cooks that insist of not competing against each other, the after run breakfasts, lunchs, dinners have become a staple for our regular training sessions and it is absolutely fantastic to be able to combine mushing with food and lots of like minded good friends. Who would have thought? A couple of months ago we heard about a Husky girl looking for a new home and we fell for the trap – after seeing Mya for the first time we knew we could not walk away from her. So there we are now with three Huskies and a dedicated group of mushers who want to give to our sport. Life is good – and to top it off, we went to Wanaka this year, together with Colin, Jamie, Laurie and Joan. We were so thrilled to get into the snow the very first time. Wanaka is fantastic – everyone is friendly and helpful and goes out of their way to make things work for everyone. Colin, Jamie and Laurie smoked up there – Jamie got first places (he was so fast, the timekeepers had to run to the finish line to get his time on time), Colin had the fastest Husky team and Laurie grabbed the trophy for best rookie. Our own team took a slightly different approach. Kaya, Nanuk and Mya were so taken by the beautiful landscape, and the snow, that they decided to have a holiday as well. While I was pushing the sled for 7km each racing day, the three little Huskies were entertaining themselves with going over the edge of the trail, looking for ages down at the little stream, digging out some frozen rabbits from earlier years, in short they were having a blast. All I got for running the course each day was the Red Lantern ;-) Will we be back? You bet. Each sport needs a challenge and we have found ours. Gotta go, I hear the dogs scratching at the doors to go out for a run...see you on the trail soon. And yes, we are already gearing up for a fourth Husky in our family...
Secretary: Gaby Altermann
Eric and I started with Siberians when we lived in the US. Sasha our first one was a rescue mission. He moved with us to New Zealand but past away 3 years ago. We extended our family with Kaya and later Nanuk .This year we adopted Mya.
We have learned a lot from our dogs and from nice people surrounding this sport.
we are the Viner Family.
James 47, Debbie 36, Alyssa 8, Brianna 7.
I am the youngest committee member.
I found interest in sled dog racing 2 years ago, but really last year was my first year of sled dog racing. Reno is our Malamute and we learned a lot the last year and also met some very interesting people.
I am accompanied most of the time by my wife Melissa. She is there to do all the little chores of a dog handler and she makes sure nobody goes home hungry. We both come from China and we share the same interest of dogs and food
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