'Mark and I did a 'thing' this week. A rather big 'thing' actually ...... we bought a farm!
It's east of the city of Red Deer, near the lovely community of Pine Lake, and it is wonderful. Kind of my 'dream farm'.
I said that to a friend the other day and she said "I thought you already lived on your dream place". Well, in honesty, I do - but different dreams.
When I was a child growing up, 'NorthWapiti' was never something I could have even conceived of - but once I did realize and conceive of it, it became an all-consuming passion. For over 30 years I have eaten, slept and breathed Siberian Huskies, sled dog racing and the Iditarod. And even the last few years not running Iditarod, not racing, I have continued to run dog teams and participate in behind the scene ways in long distance sled dog races. I've have loved and do love it all but something was missing.
It took me a lot of self reflection to figure out that what was missing was some dreams.
I need dreams - I actually think we all need dreams - but me, in particular, *I* need dreams.
This LOVELY piece of land, that still feels so much a piece of soul, is STEEPED in memories. Every corner, every trail has memories. FABULOUS memories that I cherish and adore but memories. Yup, I love my life with my huskies, my border collies, my chickens, etc, etc .....but dreams were missing. Memories were smothering them.
We had 'casually' looked at places for a few years but nothing even held a candle to where we already live....and then a few weeks ago we stepped out of our truck, smack dab into a place that was perfect.
We roamed the property with our jaws hanging open. So beautiful, so tidy, and so full of dreams.
We left the house as the last thing to view and knew we were in 'trouble' the very moment we opened the back door. It is beautiful. Before getting back in our truck we had instructed our realtor to place an offer. This week the offer was accepted and on August 15th it will be ours.
So, what about the Siberians? As you all pretty much know, it has been many years since we had a litter and we have been gradually downsizing. Right now we have 12 Siberians left. Last January I made arrangements for the 5 key 'young' dogs in the kennel. They need to run and contribute to a team in a manner more than I can now offer. They are too nice dogs to simply sit in my yard and age away. The plan was for them to leave in February of '20 so I still had a bit of one more season to enjoy, but that was not to be. They will be leaving in July (and yes, that will be a very, very, very hard day). Bingo will not be asked to move. She is 13 years old, blind, has no sense of smell and is prone to bouts of dementia. I've been stalling on putting her down as it is (and twice already made appointments to have the vet come out that I cancelled at the last minute). I would like to find a home for Rocky. He would LOVE being a house dog and would be a lovely leader for a recreational team. That leaves Turtle, Tramp, See, Smartie and Irving that will be making the move and living out their lives with us. And yes, I am taking one dog sled with me (all the rest have already been sold) so I can putter a bit with them.
So after 30 years, NorthWapiti is closing its doors. I always vowed that the end would be deliberate, thought out, and with what is best for the dogs first. That has always been my commitment to them.
Am I sad? You bet! Unbelievably sad. But it was time. My heart will always belong first and foremost to Siberians - but sometimes loving something means recognizing when it is best to admire it from a distance. I am blessed by the wonderful owners and breeders around the world that own NorthWapiti dogs and will be continuing on the lines for us.
When I started down this LOVELY, challenging, winding, hilly trail - filled with deep valleys and giant peaks - so many years ago, one of my first mentors, Chris Marshall, told me that his time in the breed was over, that he had done what he thought was right for the years he was in the breed and now it was my turn. He said he only hoped that he didn't do anything to harm the breed when it was in his hands.
I hope the same.