Elskan and Ember – January 16,2010

I always wanted a sled dog. I was just a city kid with an ugly mutt of a dog – who,though sweet, looked more like a wolfhound and a schnauzer had a bad accident than any kind of working sled dog. I just loved them. I loved the idea of having a dog who loved sledding as much as I did.

It was such a weird thing to want. Good dreams fade but they never truly leave you.

In 2009, the dream became reality. In a spur of shear insanity – which most mushers will attest to that’s how these things start – we bought two Alaskan Malamute puppies from a kennel in Oklahoma. Not a mushing kennel. No proven pullling parents. Just a crazy whim of an idea while we raised our 2 year old and – oh yeah – twin infant daughters.

9 week Elskan with 7 month old
Maddy and Maelle

Everyone said we were nuts. We were. No argument there. Who buys alaskan malamute puppies when you have 3 kids under 3? Crazy people.

Ember and Elskan were notorious malamutes. Headstrong. Determined. awkwardly big. Lovable beasts. They taught us a great deal in those early days about sensitive stomachs, puppy life, sibling rivalry, and the absolute joy of snow and the peace that only mushing can bring.

Justin trained them with a bike. With tires. With old and odd sleds. They learned and we learned how this whole mushing life existed. We have so many stories now that we think back and shudder, “what were we thinking?!” (like dude, you started your run inside a garage and prayed the automatic door would go up before they pulled you in to it?!)

Elskan was Justin’s and Ember was mine so of course if either had the other dog as their leader…they would not listen. Only glance back at you and almost snicker at your command.

Not too much longer and we added one more malamute to the mix. Mauki. Another Oklahoma native with no experience…but just as willing and dare I say, more gentle.

Mushing became our family thing. Go mush, make a camp, drink hot chocolate, play in the snow and go home.

Justin with Ember, Mauki, and Elskan
The girls and I making snow angels
Eva on the runners with Maddy. 2011.

It’s not hard to see how it continued to progress. How Eva began to dream her dreams. How the yearly following the Iditarod like people watching the Super Bowl affected our girls. Eva’s dream of running the Jr. Iditarod was entirely fueled by her love for and life with sled dogs.

As the years marched on and Eva began filling the yard with race dogs, the malamutes continued to enjoy their rec runs and hard family pulls. They aged and began to move slower. Mauki developed a very mysterious and random illness that ended his life in 2019. And as we mourned the loss of him, Elskan was diagnosed with congestive heart failure.

We knew this day would come. When the time to say goodbye to such a sweet trailblazer would be at our door. She’s 12. And for malamutes…especially the bigger gals like Elskan…that’s about the time. We have treated her CHF with medicine but ultimately knew that it was only a band aid on a slowly oozing unstoppable wound.

How do we thank her for joining us on this wild and crazy adventure? For being willing (mostly) to obey our weird commands. For helping us raise our daughters. For being that goofy “bull in a China shop” puppy that never grew up.

I think the only thank you is a life full of love.

Elskan is the Icelandic word for sweetheart. And it’s very fitting.

So as we say goodbye to our original trailblazer…and help her twin sister who has always been with her to deal with the loss…we say thank you, Elskan. “Allt er i lagi” (all is ok)

*written by Mama Katt

Race Stats🤪

Hellooo! The Iditarod has almost come to a close. We’re still waiting on our last musher to come into nome, but until then let me give y’all the stats. 👇🏼👇🏼

Thomas Waerner is the winner of the 2020 Iditarod! He finished on Wednesday with his lead dogs K2 and Bark! Mitch Seavey finished in second. Only an hour later Jessie Royer came in third! Brent Sass finished in forth. In fifth came Aaron Burmeister. Then Joar Leifseth Ulsom took home sixth. In seventh was Paige Drobny. Ryan Redington took eighth (we saw him at Apostle! I was passed by his team there! I’m such a nerd🤦🏼‍♀️😂😂). Jessie Holmes finished in ninth place, and Travis Beals closed the top ten.

So many more mushers made the top twenty (Kelly Maxiner came in seventeenth!) but I want to talk about the dogs. Every team that came to the finish had dogs jumping and barking to keep going! That’s what we love too see! The dogs love this sport so much and we wouldn’t have it any other way! 💗💗

Thomas Waerner with his lead dogs K2 and Bark!


SEE YA NEXT WEEK!!!!! 👋🏼👋🏼👋🏼

IDITAROD 2020!!!!!!🥳

Heyyyyy! ⚠️ I’m a nerd when it comes to the Iditarod! ⚠️

This is like our Super Bowl! (and yes, I even made a fantasy team 😂😂) The Race started on Sunday and we don’t know when the last musher will come in this year. There are 56 teams on the trail right now and there is no clear winner (our money is on Jessie Royer). Anything can happen out there.

My personal favorite musher, Kelly Maxiner, is running Dallas Seavey’s team this year! Dallas has won the Iditarod 4 times so Kelly has a good shot at winning this year with these dogs! What happens if you win the Iditarod?? Well, your lead dogs get a treat and to wear ‘the yellow harness’ this is a yellow rose wreath that goes over the dogs’ heads. The musher, on the other hand, get a $50,000 dollar prize and also a new Ram pick-up truck.

The Iditarod is a 1,000 mile sled dog race in Alaska. Just like with the Super Bowl there are some ‘pro’ mushers out there (the Seavey kennel for example) that could take home the prize. Do not overlook the dogs though!!!! These guys are the real athletes on the trail, this is what they have been training for all year! They love to run and pull so this is like a party for them!

That’s all I got today, I’ll keep giving y’all updates on the musher Super Bowl!!!



Last years winner, Pete Kaiser, with his lead dogs.

Name Game!!

Hey everyone!! 👋🏼👋🏼 Thanks for all your help in naming our logo dog! The names were: Qana, Nikita, Nova, Aurora, Logo, Max, Tiva, Snickers, Future, Denali, Boomer, Mauki, Storm, Chinook, Juneau, Christof, Diva, and lastly Peanut Butter!

Let me start by saying that all the names are Amazing!! I do, however, have to take away names so we can decide! Now we have: Logo, Max, Snickers, Boomer, Mauki, Juneau, Diva, and Peanut Butter! Now I’ll have to take away a few more, leaving; Logo, Max, Snickers, Mauki , and Peanut Butter.

We are now in round 3 of the Name Game! We have five names left, let’s make it three! We now have: Logo, Max, and Peanut Butter. Sadly, we must take one name away now leaving only: Logo and Peanut Butter. This is the last round… and the winner of Name Game is…. 🥁🥁🥁

🏆 Peanut Butter!!! 🏆

This is Peanut Butter, but we’re going to shorten that… and call him Peanut!!

Thanks for playing! 👋🏼👋🏼

Warm Weather

Hellooo! Welcome back! So we need your guys’ help! We need to name our logo dog and we want your suggestions!! This is him! 👇🏼👇🏼 (comment what his name should be!)

What should his name be??

Warm weather is a bummer for us and the dogs. They love the cold because that’s when we run! But why not run in the heat too? Well, first of all, our sleds need to be on snow. The sled can’t move on bare ground… Secondly, Imagine running in a gym, I’m pretty sure you would rather have the AC on, not the heater! Warm weather is pain in the neck to mushers. We know the dogs want to be out with the sled but… Let’s just say summer can take its time to get to us! 😂😂