Monday, December 26, 2005

Rivers News 12-26-2005

Hi Gang, Rivers here,

We sincerely hope that all of you had a nice Christmas. Ours was pretty much uneventful. Icy, her girls and I spend the better part of the day in the kennel loafing, while Lakota rested in the garage. The picture you see to the right was taken last year. The temperature was near 30 from what Stormy told me the thermometer in the kennel read. We had no snow.

Several of our friends stopped over for the Christmas gathering. Caitlyn and her mom, Karen, came Christmas Eve. Caitlyn was full of Christmas cheer or youthful energy by the way she bursting into the garage to give us all her “Christmas Kisses”.

June P, lead dog of the Idita-support group and our buddy Keith came by as well as Margie and her son Dan. Margie broke her ankle last week. Margie has her own dog lot and I am sure it will be a challenge for her to care for her dogs with a cast on her ankle.

Everyone left kind of early since Monday was a work day for many of our friends who visited us. Once the last car pulled out of the driveway, Mike came to the kennel and turned us free to run to the garage. Yes, I run to the garage also, then double back to get Mike. He lags behind cleaning up or walking with Lakota if he is out with Mike. Mike tells me he is just amazed how well I can find my way in the back yard.

The house was filled with the good smells of great chow and I will freely admit that I was drooling. We all checked on Lakota who told us he is feeling better and he did eat some food. Icy told me he is looking good and he came out to the kennel several times during the day to go to the bathroom. Since he has no fur on his tummy, he can only stay out for a few minutes. Icy told me that he is moving well.

Before we could settle down in the garage, Mary came out with our bowls full of good food. All I heard was the jiggling of our dog tags on the metal bowls as we shined the bowls clean. After a few tummy and ear rubs, we head back to the kennel for our after meal break. Lakota joined us for a few minutes but then headed back to the garage with Mike.

When we came back into garage, Mary gave us the presents that several of you send to us. Yummy!! Thank you. Mike was working on a few projects in the garage so we kept him company, getting in his way, and pestering him for ear and tummy rubs. Guess he does not mind since he stops what he is doing to give us the TLC we ask for.

To kind of shift runners here, our good friend Stan S, Iditarod 93 and 94 passed on this web site for the Alaska Blood Bank. They are holding a screening for Susan Butcher. There is a lot of good info on the site for you. It also provides links to Susan’s website and other sites related to bone marrow donation.

Oh, before I forget, Thank you for your nice words about our Christmas Stories. We are very happy that you enjoyed them.

Mike is ready to take me for our walk so I must go.

Take care


Monday, November 21, 2005

Rivers News 11-21-2005

Hi Gang, Rivers here

Yes, we got some snow, not a lot, but enough for Caitlyn and Mary to make a snow person. We all watched them built it, well Stormy gave me the details. But the funny thing is that when we came out from eating chow, Sky would not stop barking at it. She thought it was a stranger in the yard. We all got a good chuckle out of that.

Mike told us that he had to go to a potluck at his office today. He said he had to bring something to eat for the office staff. Of course, we offered some biscuits and left over chews we had, but he decide to play a joke on them and bring something in called a Kennel Cake. He laughed a lot when he told us that no one would touch it until he had the first piece.

It has become a tradition at the Howlin' Rivers Home to give our friends a Christmas story. The 2000 story appeared in our first book, "Rivers, the Diary of a Blind Alaska Racing Sled Dog.” Before publishing the story, we sent the story to our friends.

The 2001 and 2002 Christmas Stories were sent to our friends before they were published in our second book, "Rivers, Through the Eyes of a Blind Dog”.

Unfortunately, once the books are published, Mike does not freely release the stories via e-mail.

The 2003 Christmas Story was sent out after Book 2 was published. The 2004 Christmas Story is a bit different. And the 2005 Christmas Story is ready for anyone who e-mails us for it. The stories are placed or embedded into the text of the e-mail so you do not need any special programs to open them. Sorry, we can not mail them to you. So if you would like the new 2005 Christmas Story or the 2003 or 2004, just e-mail us.

If you are in Anchorage this Friday, Saturday, or Sunday (Nov 25, 26 and 27), consider visiting the Anchorage Museum for their annual Read Alaska affair. There will be many authors and crafts tables there for to browse. Yep, Mike will be there.

He will also be at Fireside Books in Palmer on Saturday Dec 3 for 11:30 to 1:30. I am not sure if I am going with him.

We hope you all have a great Thanksgiving. We are all thankful that we have friends like you. Our prayers and best wishes go out to the families who are not together during this holiday season. And of course, we keep the men and women in the military in our thoughts.

Take care


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Rivers News 11-02-05

Hi Gang, Rivers here,

Well we got a new dog truck. A custom 12 hole model! It is a Fetrow and I have included a picture of it at the end of this e-mail.

Yesterday morning, Mary had some visitors just after day break. We heard them come up from the lower lot. Lakota told me it was a mama moose and her 2 babies. This mama moose has been here before. Sky told me that she noticed that the last of the cabbage that was not harvested and some carrots were missing from the veggie patch. Lakota told me that he saw some very big hove prints in the dirt when Mike and Lakota went walking over there last weekend. Icy told me that when Mike walked her in the lower lot, she saw a press down area where the moose may have rested.

I guess our barking alerted Mary who had time to get these great pictures of the mama moose and her babies. How do know they are great pictures, since I am blind? Well Tunny and Stormy told me so.

Since we know this mama moose, we stopped barking. She is like family and she most likely will stay in the area since she knows it is safe here on our lot. I notice the rabbits have not been around lately. I wonder if Mike made a deal with the Moose to scare them off!.

Fool you!! This is our new dog truck. Yep it is a toy truck and was made by our good buddy Les Fetrow. Les does the craft shows that Mike and Mary do. So he made Mike this dog truck last year. Les told Mike that these dog trucks really sell very well. Mary gave Les a small toy dog sled to mount to one of the trucks.

Notice the sign on the side doors of the truck? It says Rivers Books. Well Natalie’s Grandmother, Lynette, hand painted the sign on the truck. Lynette also made some beautiful wooded stocking tree ornaments with our names on them for our Christmas tree. She does these nifty craft things and I think sells them at the craft shows.

Nope I cannot go to the craft shows because they have hot dogs and you know how I am with hot dogs

You ask who Natalie is. Well she is the young lady who waited 2years to receive a copy of our books and she finally received them last Saturday!

It sure has become cold here lately. Mike told me that the weather forecaster on the TV said that we are getting January temps in November. Hmm, kind of cold to snow also and the nights have been very clear. At this rate, I wonder if we will get March’s temperatures in Janurary and then May’s temperatures in March!

Time for this puppy to take a nap.

Take care,


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Rivers News 10-18-2005

Hi Gang, Rivers here,

According to my “eyes” Stormy and Lakota the snow has come pretty far down the mountain sides. We had frost on our doghouses over the weekend and a thin layer of ice was in our water bowls. The wind has been howling, (but not as pretty as Lakota howls), for the past few days.

Sunday Mike got us up early and herded us to the garage. I was wondering why but then heard a big truck pull up into the drive way and a buzzing sound started right after that. A few hours later, Mike let us out of the garage and told us to go to the kennel.

When we got there, Sky told me that the huge dead trees that were threaten to come down in our kennel were gone! She was telling me that the view down to the lower lot is really nice now that those monster trees were gone.

Since Sunday was a very nice day, Mike and Mary worked in the yard. Mike was cutting up the trees into smaller pieces to be used in a friend’s wood burning stove. The friend uses wood to heat her home. Mary was fussing with our doghouses putting more fresh straw into them.

Mike received an e-mail from our friend Tony F and his troops from Alaska that are in Iraq. This is what he had to say. Mike wanted to share it with you.

"Thanks for all of the support from you guys and from the letter writers. Everyone that has sent something to my troops and me WILL receive a thank you letter from me and from the other soldiers as well, I will write them myself! Thank you so much for what you and they are doing, it really makes a soldier's day to see someone that cares about them in such a great way! Thanks!”

But Tony also told Mike that 3 of his troops receive no mail at all. Here are their names and address. I know you will take a bit out of this problem and send a card or two.

SGT Evan Morrow
SFC Christopher Gomez
1LT Anthony Towne

The address to use is
172 SBCT
APO AE 09319

My good friend Julia P mentioned that the post office has a special rate for mailing packages to the troops. I have not checked that out yet. Mike suggests that before you send anything to our military personnel overseas ask them what they really need. While the following web address go to the US War Dog Association, who also send s “care packages” to the war dogs and their handlers, they have a great list of items that the troops have requested.

Mike’s long time buddy Frankie (I think they served together in the USAF.) has a nephew going to Iraq later this year. While Frankie does not have a firm address for his nephew, Frank did send Mike this web address as another source to write to the troops overseas.

To change the subject a bit, the following Web address comes from Microsoft and contains some good info on taking a bite out of spam and using the BCC address line.

Mark you calendars! There will be a huge holiday bazaar at Raven Hall on the State Fairgrounds in Palmer on 29 and 30 October from 10 to 5. While there is a $1 admission charge, they have some great door prizes. Come visit Mike and Mary there and see the “Husky Pillows”. Also, Mike and Mary will be at the Elmendorf Main Exchange from Noon to 2Pm on Saturday November 12 and again on Saturday December 17, 2005.

BTW, today October 18, 2005 is Alaska Day!!

Well time for me to get some chores done. Gee, even in retirement there are chores to be done.

Take care


Sunday, August 28, 2005

Rivers News 08-28-05

Hi gang, Rivers here,

Well Mike has been home for the last few days and he has been very busy. He built 3 new doghouses for Sky, Tundra, and Stormy. Mike has to finish some trim work on them and Mary will stain or paint them later this week. Here is a picture of the one Mike built me last year. The girls got to sleep in their new houses last night after Mike put straw in them. They told me that they are much bigger than their old homes and super comfortable.

Mike also changed around the sleeping arrangements. For those that have visited the Howlin’ Rivers Home, you knew that we have 3 small kennels inside the bigger main kennel. These were the original kennels before Mike enclosed the back yard to make a bigger kennel for us.

Lakota normally has the smallest of the 3 kennels to himself. However, Stormy, Sky, and Tundra started picking on each other, with Stormy, the smallest of the 3, but probably the instigator, receiving the short end of the stick from her sisters. So, Mike put Stormy into Lakota’s kennel. Lakota really did not mind even though the kennel was too small for two good size dogs.

The new arrangement puts Stormy in with me and moves Icy (Christmas in our books) in with Tundra and Sky. Sky is very close to her Momma Icy and Tundra is a real laid back dog unless she sees a tennis ball. Stormy acts as my “eyes”. And Lakota is happy since he gets to prowl the big kennel at night (shrew alert!), and does not have to worry about Stormy following him.

Apparently Mike has some other projects going on while he is on vacation. He has kept us out of the garage most of the day. Usually we go in there sometime before chow time to check out the tennis balls that are in there.

When he did let us in, Lakota told me that part of the garage was painted and a lot of things were moved around. Lakota told met that the garage was so bright with only part of it painted that I would need sun glasses!! You have to wonder about Lakota’s sense of humor sometimes. Icy told me that it looks a lot better, that was after she got use to where Mike had moved things.
Today, Mike let us in again and he had the garage rearranged differently than yesterday. It seems that he has to paint the garage in sections since there is so much stuff in there (most of it is ours, naw, only kidding!). What a way to spend you time off.

There is a bit of chill in the air as the fireweed turns white, a true sign of a change of season. Icy told me that there is no “Termination Dust” yet in the mountains. But it is only a matter of time till snow season, which means the holidays!

Speaking of the holidays, we have a special friend who probably will not be home for the holidays this year. Stan Smith is a great friend of Mike and me for that matter. Stan’s son Paul is deployed to Iraq. He just returned from Afghanistan last year and I think he recently spend some time in Korea. Stan asked me to post Paul’s address in Iraq. Stan asked me to post Paul’s address in Iraq.
Paul Smith
UNIT # 931003/TFTA
APO AE 09391

While Paul has a great family support unit, many of his buddies do not. If you would like to write to one of our heroes who may not make it home for the holidays, drop a note to Paul and he will pass it on.

Mike told me that several of our friends are being deployed to the war zone and once Mike gets their addresses, we will pass them on to you.

I have been very bad at writing this summer and missed telling you that our good friend Wiggy’s, opened a store in Anchorage, Alaska. Wiggy’s makes some of the best outdoor gear in the world. Their dog beds are super also! Mike replaced the inserts of his Pac boots with Wiggy’s Sun Walkers and said his toes were never so toasty no matter how cold it got. Mike likes Wiggy’s products because the gear is designed and tested by the people who use it, in the conditions it was designed for.

The store is located at 8225 old Seward HWY, suite A. Marc Taylor, a renowned author on hunting is the on site Wiggy’s representative. I believe his number is 677-1365. Tell him that Rivers sent you. Who knows, I may get invited to do a guest appearance!

Now for you that do not live in the Anchorage area, you can check out Wiggy’s using the link from my web site or

It is getting close to chow time, which has become an adventure since Mike is preparing our supper.

Take care


Monday, August 08, 2005

Rivers Updates 8-8-05

Well if you are going to mess up, then mess up good I say, and I did just that this weekend. I guess the success of the Blog went to my head and I got a bit careless.
First I sent you an E-mail for the Military tribute and forgot the dot before the com. Okay, that was not too bad. Then in my wild canine enthusiasm, I got my Rosemary's really mixed up. The tribute came from Rosemary D. who lives in Anchorage and has two beautiful show dogs that she showed at the big dog show at Raven Hall . I seldom get mail from her, she normally routes her stuff to Mary. I gave the credit to Rosemary P. who lives in NYC and is a real live teacher. Rosemary P. emails me often. So Mea Culpa on that mess up. (Sure dogs speak Latin). Bark is the foundation of Latin which is the foundation of most Western languages!! That is why dogs can communicate with each other no matter where they live. Bark has no boundaries!
The biggie came when I answered Edna's E-mail and instead of cc: Rivers Mom, I cc: Rivers Newsletter. Guess the BRS (Bark Recognition Software got a bit confused. And from the feedback, so did a lot of you. Probably added some adventure to your Monday morning!
I know, I owe you a big long newsletter about the new driveway and all of the visitors we had since the Iditarod picnic. Hopefully this weekend. OOOPs maybe not. Mike and Mary along with Caitlyn are doing the Summer Market at Raven Hall, located on the State Fair grounds. Gee, I guess they must need a lot of help since they asked Caitlyn to help out. She helped out at the Young Writers' Workshop and did a very good job. Not bad for a 6 year old.
Me, I am going to loaf. Remember I am retired and have learned to exchange ear rubs and tummy rubs for good chow, a nice doghouse and plenty of TLC.
See ya

Friday, August 05, 2005

Rivers News 8-5-05 Blogging

Hi Gang, Rivers here,

Many of you have asked for a picture of us, so I figured that I would try out this Blog thingy and see if it will work to put our newsletters out. Apparently, you click on the web site from the e-mail I send you and then your Internet Browser opens up the Blog with the picture.

So here is a picture of Mike, Mary, Icy (Christmas in our books) and yours truly taken at Iditarod 2005 time by June P and Donna Q.

You may get this twice since I am sending it out by G-Mail. It seems that a while back, our internet provider was accused of spamming and some of the e-mail addresses on our list blocked us. I don't blame them, but if someone does not want the newsletter and they let us know, Mike removes them immediately from the list.

So let us know what you think of Rivers' first Blog!!

A big thanks to BEA for the technical assist.

See ya