Author Archives: smelfer

The Rainbow Bridge

The month of November was a difficult one for us here at Elfin Kennel. We had two dogs cross over the Rainbow Bridge, if you aren’t familiar with this poem you can read it here, make sure you have a kleenex or two though.

Ivory aka His Royal Highnass the Mitten Stealer decided that the time had come to leave us, 3 days before I had gone for a walk with Barsky, Sam, Sarge and Ivory. It was a walk that some doubted could ever happen, 4 male dogs all off leash, coming back when called and playing with no fights or snarls and with Ivory no less, the king of ‘I’m tougher than you’ attitude, we had fun and they played well together, sniffing, snarfling, peeing on the trees and playing chase. An hour or two passed and we returned home, the dogs got settled back in their yards, had drinks and dinner. The next day Ivory seemed off his feed but nothing alarming for him, the following day not really interested in food but drank his water, he passed away in his sleep that night, he knew it was time for a new body so off he went over the bridge to meet up with his old pals Snakeriver, Flint, Amundsen, D, Pittsburgh and Bam. I miss the big lug, he was a bundle of energy right up to almost the end..he was close to 15 years old, ran in the wheel position on my team all last winter, that was his spot, he did it well and the next dog that fills that position has mighty big shoes to fill.

Ivory the Sled Dog


Six days later Blondette aka The Dragon Slayer decided without Ivory around things weren’t as fun anymore and checked out too. She was 14 years old, always shy and quiet until you hooked her up to the sled and then this tiny little dog let loose a sound that you’d swear was coming out of a 100 pound dog. Blondette’s best buddy Amundsen had passed away last summer and I know that she had been missing her friend. These two girls always ran together in the team in the swing or team position and were next to each other in the dog yard. Blondette started to finally show her age this summer, gray around the eyes and not so spry and sassy and also a bit less shy, I figured the time would come soon for her as well I just didn’t expect it this soon.

sled dog


Happy Trails,
Annie & Barsky

Fall Cleaning Time

When Mom moved everybody around the other day it looked nice and tidy, then 10 mins later Sam busted the post he was on and she had to move him again. He just doesn’t realize how strong he is I guess.



Winter will be here before we know it and then stuff will be frozen in, Mom likes to have us all facing towards the house in the winter so she can see our eyes in the dark. Why? Because she knows then if we are in our spots and not running free because we got loose. It’s also a good idea because she can look out the window during the day to see if we look like we are warm enough, if we aren’t she’ll come out and add more bedding to our houses and even bring us a warm broth to drink. Tonight we had chicken stew for dinner because it has rained for a week straight and we are waterlogged, it tasted yummy and warmed up our bellies.

Thanks Mom!

A Trip To The Doctor

Barsky Thinking

Barsky Thinking

It’s September and it’s been two months since I’ve been to the Dr’s office. I feel a bit better but not at the top of my game..sigh.

I have what is called Perianal Fistulas:

” Perianal refers to the area immediately surrounding the anus or termination of the digestive tract. A fistula is an abnormal connection that forms between two tissues, organs, or vessels that normally do not connect. In affected dogs, the condition is usually associated with an infection in the perianal region, and there are usually one or more draining tracts present”.

You can find more info here:

I’m on medicine now, everyday I have to take an antibiotic plus another one that’s really yucky and very expensive. There is no cure and Mom hopes that she can get it under control enough that steroids will help keep it in check because that is a cheaper way to go. I get a special diet now of a kibble that is made with fish and sweet potato, it’s not half bad better than having to eat just jello.

When a Visitor Gets Sick

It was a tense day here, one of our visitors ( we have company for a couple of weeks while their Dad travels ) wasn’t feeling well. Mom says she was having something called a seizure, poor Polgara it looked liked it hurt. So Mom sat with her in the rain and just kept petting her until she stopped. Polgara finally got up tonight and had something to drink and eat but she can’t stand up very well.

So Mom didn’t spend much time with us today but that’s ok, we all want Polgara to feel better and when it was dinner time Mom fed us and gave us all hugs and kisses and she told me my bedtime story. Sleep well Polgara and I hope you feel better tomorrow.



She is feeling better, no more seizures but the Vet did find some sort of lump thing on her underneath. Mom talked to her Dad to let him know and when he gets home from his trip he will decide what should be done about it.

Auntie Inara

sled dog sitting

Auntie Inara

Auntie Inara..she sits this way all the time! Such a goof! She runs as a ‘Swing Dog’ that is the position behind the leaders. She knows the commands and when Uncle Ajax or I aren’t listening she helps by pulling us in the right direction. I’ve never seen her be cross or grumpy at anyone and most of the time she has a big goofy smile on her face.

T.G.I.F It’s Cheeseburger Friday!!

sled dog in house

A Lazy Friday

Seriously though everyday is Friday for me

Had my breakfast, spit my medicine on the ground, Mom found it and made me eat it…blech!!!

It was brushing day at Elfin Kennel, Roddy and Jimmy Choo are the shedders from heck Mom says, it just never ends with those two. Everyone else got brushed too just because Mom knows we like it.

Summer..It arrived with a Vengeance..

Oh you were cold this winter? Here have some heat!

Alaska has been in the grips of one of the hottest summers ever. We went from snow on the 18th of May to 80 degrees of Summer in two short weeks. The dogs did their shed of winter coats practically overnight and have turned into nocturnal creatures, sleeping all day and ready to play at night. It has also become the time of year where the sun never really sets and it is light enough at 2 am to see well without the aide of a headlamp or flashlight, great fun for the pooches as it means they can see their neighbor and try to engage them in some playtime fun.

Don’t get me wrong I’ll embrace any and all sunlight and warmth, I need to store it up for the coming winter. When the days are short and the temps are 20 below I’ll be able to look deep inside myself and remember they day it was 96 degrees. Ahhhhh!

Spring May Come..Eventually..

Alaska seems to be in the holds of winter, it does not want to let go gracefully or easily. We had snow on the 17th and 18th of May. We still have snow left over from the winter months, about a foot or so to be exact. Mud season was here for a bit and then the ground froze again so it will be here again because what’s more fun then one mud season? Well 2 of course!

I moved to my current place mid winter, the dog yard already had snow on it so I had no idea what lay beneath it. I do now! At one time this had been a thriving kennel, home of an Iditarod racer and airplane pilot. Sixty dogs called it home and they lived and trained on this property, the owner died in a plane accident and somebody else stepped into owning the property, they also raced dogs but not on the scale of the former owner. They slowly got out of the racing hobby and the number of dogs dwindled to just a handful, those dogs were moved up to the main house and the large dog yard started to be reclaimed by nature and just junk that needed tossing some place. I’m now raking and burning brush, painting dog houses and building new ones. The dogs are getting some new posts and a fresh layer of gravel and dirt for the bare spots. The goal? To make it look as pretty as you can make a yard where 12 canines call it home.


May 15
No Snow

May 18 Yeah Snow

May 18… YAY Snow :(

Sam enjoying his newly painted house.

Sam enjoying his newly painted house.





It’s all most the end of march and….

It’s snowing and snowing and snowing……..

No crocus, no tulips, no daffodils, just snow, schnee, neve, sneachta, snö doesn’t matter how you say it it doesn’t change what it is. Why you may ask is a musher pouting because it’s snowing? This musher needs some color about now, something more than white. Pinks, yellows and oranges would be a plus, my friends in the warmer states are already posting photos of their green lawns and pretty flowerbeds and asking me how are my garden plans coming along..they aren’t and from the looks of today it may be awhile yet.

Cabin Fever, I’ve got it bad!