Monday, December 19, 2011

Big Changes

Eddie, one of the rescues who stayed
As many Alaskans can relate, we are very much looking forward to Winter Solstice in three days. This means the return of the sun and a better sense of 'normal'.

After much thought I have to admit that this winter has been one of the toughest on me emotionally and physically. There is only one other that comes to mind that could possibly compete, that was way back in the 90's when I was stuck in a cabin that was falling apart and sick as dog most of the time cause I didn't realize I was drinking tainted water. That was after the heater went out and we were relying only on the wood stove, huddled together in a small back room to keep warm, but before break up when the sewage tank decided to give out and flood everything with the worst stink you could imagine. Ah yes, those were the days!

Living through something like that makes a 40 below winter seem like a walk in the park. But this winter Ive had MANY luxuries, constant heat, a loving husband, an amazing dog handler, a yard full of happy healthy dogs, warm clothes, a working dog truck and a wonderful Jeep that I still delight in driving so much. Its perfect for getting around town and handling the roads.

So why is the winter so bad? I really cant put my finger on it just yet but I have a few ideas. One theory is that Im getting overwhelmed... I know, you say, "Really? You? Naaa! Miriam the work-a-holic could never be overwhelmed!! Its not possible!"

Chalk it up to age, stress or life style (take your pick) I think that is what is happening. The property is a big part of this equation. My husband James, James L and I sit and talk about our plans, our ideas, what is in our future and we are all a bit overwhelmed by everything. It is really hard to admit not only to being overwhelmed but to take the time to admit that I must pull back in order to protect myself and be the best that I can be for all those around me. Ive gotten so caught up in everything that Ive lost track of just being me. It is clear now that I need to focus more on taking care of myself for a while and bolster up my surroundings so I can get back to helping others in the best way I possibly can. Over the past few years I have learned that taking care of those in need is one of my life's goals and may be a big part of my life's purpose here on this earth.

Our future is in the new property. That is our goal and our central focus. We are all clearly on the same page with that and it is wonderful to realize that our big dreams will be coming along, some slower than others. For one, the Sled Dog Sanctuary will definitely have its expansion there while Where Spirits Walk kennel will be taken out of the public eye for now while we focus on our fosters and building at the property. This does not mean that any of the dogs in the main kennel will go unloved, unwanted, sit at home doing nothing or leave us in any way (we could not bear the thought), but that you will not be hearing about them as much as we focus our public efforts into spotlighting those in foster care or those who have been adopted.

After January we will also no longer be giving dog sled rides to the general public. We will instead focus on doing only a few rides to those special donators of the Sanctuary or those we have already scheduled in for this season. This includes our Groupon certificate holders that are valid until their expiration on March 31, 2012.

Polar, one of our rescues who naturally belonged here
The Lead Dog Graphics business will still be operational and merchandise can be purchased at our usual outlets in Fairbanks or on line in our store at, this blog will still be active as well for art updates and other musings of this crazy Alaskan artist. The only change here will be that updates will not be as frequent as I shift my focus more towards gaining inspiration from the dogs on the trail through our own personal adventures. Those in our teams will always be my absolute favorite subjects. I hope to also incorporate dogs from the Sanctuary into this medium... time will tell.

So even though those changes do not seem drastic on paper this is a huge step for us. I do see us offering sled rides in the distant future but on a limited basis and out of our new location on the property (mile 90 Parks Hwy) where lodging can be utilized and a more extensive package can be offered. Our main focus right now is getting down there and doing so in a healthy relaxed manner to all involved.

There is a real possibility we will have both locations (North Pole and Mile 90) for a while so we wont be gone too quickly from Fairbanks/North Pole, this transition will take some time and you can hear more about our building and the move in the Sled Dog Sanctuary blog we will be starting up in the near future or on the Sanctuary website at

What the future holds we never really know but in order to achieve a specific goal, especially one this big, we have found that a more refined focus is needed.

As always we would like to thank you for your help, your support, your kind thoughts and all the effort that has been put forward to help with this move. We have had so many come out to help us, from all corners of the globe, and we will always be eternally grateful for your support and well wishes.

Thank you so much for your patience and remember, when updates are fewer and farther between just think of all we are doing behind the scenes to make things better than ever. In due time we will not only be back with our usual public presence but have an even better place to welcome our wonderful guests at the new property on the Parks Hwy.

We love you all and will always be eternally grateful for your continued support...