Sunday, December 09, 2007

Rivers News 12-09-07

HI Gang, Rivers here,

Well, as you may know, I have become very good at sneaking into the house. I am also doing very well at finding my way around the furniture also. After finding the Christmas tree and sniffing the packages underneath the tree, Mike grabbed me. “Well now that I got you Rivers, it is time for some Christmas pictures to send to your friends,” Mike said.
So here you go, pictures of Mike and your truly.

In my last e-mail to you, I failed to give you the Celtic Women web site. Http://
You may find samples of their music with video on You Tube at

There are several members this fantastic group. Lakota told me the clips were very enjoyable. Mike has said that their Christmas Concert, on DVD, will be the after dinner feature this year. Oh, I had better explain that. Each year we show a Christmas movie for our guests, so this year, they get to see and hear this fabulous Christmas concert. Hmm, I wonder if I can sneak in the house when they do that. While I cannot see the show, I can hear the excellent music and great voices.

If you have seen the Husky Productions “Pretty Sled Dogs" DVD, you probably were intrigued by the music that accompanies it. Kyf Brewer composed and performed the music that accompanied Donna Q’s DVD. Well it turns out that he has 3 very talent young daughters who have released their very own CD called “Raining Hearts” which I guess is the name of the group. The music ranges from folk to ballads to some upbeat tunes. They have a cute web site at

One interesting song is called “Pretty Sled Dogs” If you viewed Donna DVD, “ Pretty Sled Dogs” then you will note the Kyf did the vocals, but on the CD the girls do the vocals. Very interesting and enjoyable.

You can find the DVD, “Pretty Sled Dogs” at If you have dog lovers on your gift list, then this DVD maybe the gift you are looking for.

Our biggest fan in the North West sent us this link for a super rendition of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Take a gander at

Time to go

Take care,


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Rivers News 9-23-07

Hi Gang, Rivers here,

Lakota told me that the leaves are falling. He described the colors as yellow with a hint of red. Stormy told me that the snow is creeping down the mountain sides. Yes, autumn is here and winter is coming. There is a chill in the air when Mike puts us out in the morning before he goes of to work. Isn’t turkey season starting soon? Umm, I can taste Mary’s turkey as I bark this to you.

A few nights ago, Mike decided to camp out with us in the garage. Apparently his granddaughter Caitlyn was doing a sleep over with Mary and Mike decided to let them have the bed to themselves. We all get to wrestle and cuddle with Mike when he does this. When we are done and ready to go to sleep, we go back to our travel crates and wait for Mike to settle in. When we hear him snore, the girls move into their “sleep with Mike” positions. I am told that Sky will wrap herself around Mike’s head, while Storm and Tundra pin him under the blanket. Eventually, Icy will move out of her crate to cuddle also. Lakota and I will hang back in our crates, keeping a watchful “eye” over them. Frankly, there is not enough Mike for all of us to curl up to at the same time.

I guess I woke Mike up because I heard him say “Rivey, are you sleep-walking?” I guess I stopped and turned my heard in the direction of his words. Okay, what am I doing out of my travel crate, I thought? Mike told me that I was prancing around the garage jumping in circles, just like I do in the yard when Mike plays with me. But this time, Mike was not playing with me. Was I actually doing this in my sleep? Mike got up and helped me back to my travel crate, where I promptly when back to sleep. Before I did I heard the girls chuckle a bit even though I did disturb their beauty sleep!

We did receive some bad news this weekly. Our good buddy Doctor Jim Gaarder, is leaving Alaska. As many of you know, Doctor Jim is an animal eye doctor (ophthalmologist) and made me pain free. Dr. Jim told Mike that he has some commitments and obligations outside Alaska that will prevent him from staying here. Dr. Jim told Mike about checking the sea lions and seals’ eyes at the Sea Life Center in Seward, Alaska. Mike asked him how he could check their eyes out. Does Dr. Jim do it under water? Dr. Jim told Mike that the mammals are trained to hold still next to the tank enclosure so Dr. Jim can do his tests. I guess there is some difference in examining a 60 pound dog’s eye and a several hundred pound wild sea creature’s.

Interestingly, Dr. Jim’s new practice will be in Ardsley New York, only about 20 miles or so from where Mike grew up in New York City. Here is the web site of the new practice. If you click on the “Doctor’s Link” you will be taken to Dr. Jim’s bio. Icy read it to me. It is very impressive.

One of our Rivers Book 3 test readers dropped by the Howlin’ Rivers Home last week. Tatjana, with her Mom and 2 of her siblings, came by to pick up some of our books and to give us ear rubs. Mike was at work so Mary took me in the front yard and let Tatjana walk me around the front yard. It is always great to “see” our friends. Tatjana will be heading to Chicago for a few weeks soon. Among the other things she will be doing during her visit to Chicago, is a study on Chicago pizza bones. Her goal is to see if they are as good as the pizza bones we get from Mike and Mary’s favorite pizza place, Evangelo’s located close to where we live. I offered to help Tatjana in her pizza bone studies, but unfortunately it would be impossible for her to bring any Chicago pizza bones back to Alaska due to airline security.

We received a nice picture of SSG. B and his troops playing soccer in Iraq. He did not say much so we can assume he and his troops are doing fine. I am not sure when they are coming back to Alaska, but until I find out, please keep those cards and notes of gratitude, caring, and encouragement going their way.

Mike and Mary will be out and about selling our books and some other things they have added to our line of goodies. The sitting Husky and Husky change purses. Mary has added some wooden ornaments and some more Husky stuff dogs. Stormy keeps bugging Mary to take some photos so Stormy can put them on our blog for her. Sky told me that many of the Husky stuffed dogs look like here. I cannot verify that and Lakota just chuckled when I asked him.

Here is where Mike and Mary will be. In October and November so if you are in the area, please visit.

Saturday and Sunday, October 26 and 27, time 10 to 5, Raven Hall, State Fair Grounds
November 24, time 10 to 5, Colony High School, Palmer.
November 2, time 9 to 3, Anchorage’s Providence Hospital‘s Holiday Bazaar. Books only for sale at this event.

Gotta go.

Take care

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Rivers News 8-19-07

Hi Gang, Rivers here,

Wow, it sure has been a long time since I barked at you. Time flies when you are having fun, or napping in the shade, or, well just loafing. Sometimes, it is just too “hard” to get on the PC and bark out a few lines to all of you. Mike tells me he feels the same way, sometimes. After working on computers all day at the office, he does not want to “play” with them at the house.

I had a chance to ride into town with Mike and Lakota a while back. Seems that Lakota developed an eye problem and Mike asked Doctor Jim to check Lakota out. Just before their trip, Mike received an e-mail from a “Rivers’” fan. The fan's nephew from California was visiting Alaska. The fan asked if they could visit with us. Since the fan lived in Anchorage and, close to where Doctor Jim’s office was, we set up the visit by Doctor Jim's’ office. Mike signed the nephew’s book and the nephew took me for a walk so I could re-mark some of my old territory. Remember, I stayed with Mike when he lived in Anchorage while I recovered from my eye surgery.

It was good to see Doctor Jim again. He told Mike that my “eyes” looked great. It has been 7 human years since he removed my bad eyes, put the artificial ones and made me pain free. Lakota’s eye problem was a mild one and he received some medicine to help him. His eyesight is still good and he will be okay very soon. Lakota told me that Doctor Jim has a picture of Mike and me his office. Wow, I did not know that.

The latest news on Nikky, “Bugle Girl” is that she is doing great and playing “Taps” again. We understand that she is receiving some national recognition for her efforts. However, the bad news is that they are leaving Alaska due to an Army re-assignment. You bet we will miss Nikky and her family. Nikky gives some great doggy ear rubs.

We have not heard from SSG B (Iraq) in a while or Bill L who is in Afghanistan. I bet both of them are super busy. We hope they are safe and well. I know they really do appreciate your cards and notes. So please keep them flowing to them.

Another good friend of ours, Charlee in Germany is dealing with some very serious medical issues. I hope you will keep her in your thoughts. Charlee is a kindergarten teacher and uses the Iditarod and our stories in her classes.

We had a visit from Barbara and Jerry from Tennessee. Barb cuddle with us in the garage for a while. It is always nice to visit with friends.

Mary took some time off from taking care of us and headed to “fish camp.” Mike took off from work to fill in for Mary as she embarked in another one of her adventures. Mary’s son Chuck and his wife Kristine came up to visit, and fish. They have friends who own some property on the Kenai so they spent some time with us, and then headed to the river to fish. I think Mike is putting some pictures of their trip on our blog. Anyway, we now have some nice salmon and halibut in the freezer.

A few weeks ago, Mary told Mike that they needed to go up to Hatcher’s Pass to check on how the berry crop was doing and get an idea when the berries would be ready for picking. They took me with them. I really enjoyed the trip. Mike told me it was very foggy and cool at Hatcher’s Pass. I was comfortable with the coolness and since I cannot see, the fog does not bother me. We hiked on the trails for a while. We had to be careful because this is bear country. Nope, I did not smell any, but the trails were fun to explore! Unfortunately, the trip ended too soon. I really enjoy getting out of the yard every occasionally.

Well, I hope your summer has been a very enjoyable one. Our state fair starts shortly and we are already getting “fair weather”, cloudy, cool, and a bit rainy. Lakota tells me the fire weed is almost up to the top of its stalk and very tall. According to native lore, that means summer is almost over and we may get snow as high as the stalk is tall. I wonder if that means we will get a lot of snow this winter.

Tunny went to the vet to get the stitches taken out of her mouth. For those of you that did not asked for the “Home Depot Gig” from Mike’s log, Tundra had to have one of her upper fangs reattached. She was on soft food and no hard chews or toys for 8 weeks. I know she was bummed out because she could not chase any tennis balls. Tunny is as good as new and was having a great time chasing the tennis balls Mike tossed for her. This morning, Mike gave us each a pig ear. It has been a long time since we had one. Mike stopped giving them to us after Tunny’s accident. It would not be right for us to enjoy them when Tunny could not have them while her fang mended.

Did you asked about Rivers Book 3? Well, Mike has been working on it and he is almost finished with the first draft. He told me that Sandy Q did the “Forward” for the book. Mike also told me that he is doing something special for the “Cast of Critters” pages (yep pages.) He said he needs to do the “Acknowledgement Page”, my page and something new this book, a Trail notes page. Not sure what he plans to do with that. July 08 is Mike’s deadline to get it to our publisher and then to market by September 08. Mike did promise me that the readers of this newsletter would get first word of when the book becomes available. Stormy told me that Mike and Mary designed the cover and there is a picture of me on it. Book 1 and 2 were designed by the publisher.

It is a rainy Sunday and a nice day to snooze in the garage on one of the big pillows in there. Yes, this is the true meaning of “Dog days of summer”!

Take care,

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Rivers News 3-18-2007

Hi Gang, Rivers here,

It sure has been busy here. With Mike teaching a class and then make a very sudden trip to Ketchikan, I had no time to get on the PC and bark out an e-mail to you. Mike told he drafted two more chapters for Book 3. I heard him dictate them into the PC and they sounded really good. He uses his version of BRS (Bark Recognition Software) to do that. Mike is not talking to us about what the story in Book 3 is about. But, from what I heard, it is going to be a good story about us.

We received several nice e-mails from SSG B in Iraq. He told us that it take about 14 days for mail to get to his unit. He asked us to pass on his troops’ appreciation for all that you do for them. So please keep sending those cards and notes down the trail to them.

SSG B sent us a picture. He wrote that this was a camel that wandered into his camp. He gave it some water. Enjoy the picture. Mike told me that they race camels in the area where SSG B is at. He also told me that there are one or two camels at the Anchorage zoo. He joked that they could run the Iditarod. Gee, Idita-camels?? No way!!

Do you remember I barked to you that Mike was invited to Annabel’s Books for a book signing? Well I did not go because they had a silent book auction to raise money for Lois Harter. Lois lost everything she owned in a fire recently. We understand that the auction was very successful. Thanks for helping.

Mike took me to Alpenglow Elementary School the other day. He took a sled full of equipment and I was one of the guests of honor. Some of the students got to pet me and that was very cool. They were a very well behaved and nice bunch of students. Mike told me that he would include a picture on our Blog with this newsletter. That is me with Mike who is sitting on the floor with the Kinders (as Cheryl in Iceland calls her kindergarten students).

After the Kinders left the gym, the rest of the student body came in and one teacher told me we were part of an assembly. I am not sure what that is, but I guess there was some kind of show besides Mike’s presentation. They had live music and honored one of their teachers who ran the Serum Run this year. It was a super time for all. Mike read “Screaming Eagle” from our first book. However, Cyndi J, the school’s librarian converted the story to a theater script. That allow for more students to participate in the story. There were students playing the dogs, a sign walker and a young lady playing the eagle. The young lady doing the Christmas part, Yipped just like Christmas (real name icy) did when she was a puppy. The Rivers Good Time players did a great job and made Mike laugh so hard that I heard him forget his lines! Mike told me that Cyndi’s script was excellent, very professional. He was enjoying himself too much and just started to laugh due to the students’ playacting the story. The students who had parts were just fabulous!

Mike and Mary also had a book signing at Elmendorf. I stayed home and loafed. While it was kind of cold, the sun was out and it nice to lay on one of the decks and soak up the rays. Mike told me that book signing was great. He met some very nice people there and did a lot of bragging about me, his “military dependent”!

Well it is getting late and I better let Mike hit the straw and dream of retirement. He has to get up early tomorrow and go to work while we enjoy spring break with Caitlyn.

See ya


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Rivers News 3-05-2007

Hi Gang, Rivers here,

Well, it has slowed down a bit from the hectic pace that Mary and Mike have been working the last few weeks.

Our friend Sky Queen came up from Georgia and had several stuff toys for Tundra. According to my “eyes”, Stormy, they lasted all of 32 seconds. We are thinking of renting out Tunny as a toy tester. Stormy tells me it is very funny to watch Tunny go thru Mike’s coat pockets looking for tennis balls that he may throw for her to chase. Mike has to be careful because Tunny actually thumps Mike’s chest with her front paws.

Since Sky Queen was here, Mary played tour guide and the 2 of them took off doing Iditarod things.

Mike was off from work Thursday and Friday. We did have some quality time with him, but it was sure windy and cold out there in the yard. On Thursday, Mike took off to Sherrod Elementary to do a presentation and read a chapter from our first book. The chapter name was “Screaming Eagle”. He told us that there were about 100 students who attended the presentation. He also told me the school librarian invited him to do the Young Writers Workshop on 5 May. Mike told me this is one of his favorite events.

Thursday night, Sky Queen, Mary, DQ, Lead Dog and Taku’s Mom, took off to go to the Iditarod banquet, while Mike and our good buddy Keith (Jack Attack’s Dad) stayed home and enjoyed a great meal that Mike prepared. We got scraps so we know it was super scrumptious. Yep we got plenty of ear and tummy rubs that night.

While Sky Queen and Mary took off to do their Iditarod thing on Friday, Mike headed to the Millennium to do a book signing for the ITC. He told me that he was happy to see his fellow authors especially Marianne Schlegelmilch, author of “Solo Flite” and Bev Stevens, author of “This dog Team Sleep in the House”. Both are great books about dogs and I highly recommend them for your collection. Bev has won 8 out of the last 10 sprint dog races she entered and was heading to Fairbanks for a big race. Hmm, I wonder if I could be a sprint racer? Nope, I like retirement too much

Friday night was our open house and our first visitors were Brooke and her Mom from Star Base. Brooke writes to us all of the time and wants to be a veterinarian. I bet she world be a great one.

Pat and Mel from PA came to visit and brought us bandanas to wear. I think they took a picture of Pat, Mary and I. If so, we will post it to our Blog with this newsletter. Pat. gave us the “Pet angel” medals last year.

Helen, Taku’s mom came and Mike visited with Taku for a spell. He told us that Taku was a very handsome dog. Maybe next time, Taku can visit with his Momma Icy (Christmas in our books.)

Let’s see if I remember all of the people that came and gave me great ear rubs. There was Texas Betty and her sidekick Doris, GG (Sasha’s mom) and her buddy Al, DQ, Lead Dog and Keith came also. Belinda was also another welcomed guest and there were many more, but I lost track, except for Pat Ford who joined us by telephone from Illinois. Hmm, I could swear I felt her present as well as her son Bob’s.

We were very happy to see Tatjana who plays the violin very beautifully. Tatjana came with her brother Tomah, and older sisters Maria and Karina. Excuse me if I barked their names wrong.

Bugle girl (Nichelle), her brother Paul and her mom came also. Ya know what? I think we will stop calling her Bugle Girl and call her Nikky. It was great to see her and Paul again. They give great ear rubs. Nikky’s dad is due home soon, maybe by the time you read this. However, Nikky is having some health issues that resulted from her being bucked off a horse when she was a yougin’. She is facing a lot of testing and more surgery (she has had 9 already) to fix the problem. She is a real trooper with a great attitude about this, but I know she would appreciate your prayers and best wishes (you can send them to me and I will pass them on to her).

Nikky wants to be a photographer and Mike introduced her to DQ. DQ was very nice to Nikky and made some positive suggestions to her about pursuing her photo career. Not to leave Paul out, who spent a lot of time with Lakota, he wants to go to West Point! I know he will make a great cadet!

The next day being the Iditarod start saw Sky Queen and Mary take off to 4th Avenue, while Mike did some chores around the homestead and played with us.

On Sunday, Mary took Sky Queen in to Anchorage to see the sight see while Mike headed north to Willow to help Perry Solmonson launch out on the restart. Mike told us that he got a chance to talk with Karen Ramstead. He told me that they were the 2 prime mushers he is following this year. Surprise to me, I did not think Mike was too interested. He told me he was taking an off year from Iditarod stuff. Sure Mike, once that dog fever bits you, you are hooked! See what I mean? Here is a picture of Mike working on Perry's sled. Picture by DQ

Mike will be at Annabel’s books in the Meta Rose Square, Wasilla this Saturday, March 10th. Besides the book signing, Annabel’s will host a silent auction of donated author’s works to raise money for Lois Harter who lost everything she had when her home was destroyed by fire last month. Lois has been with the Iditarod almost from the races’ beginning. Mike will be delivering autographed books provided by several authors. Annabel’s’ hoisted events are fun thins to come to. While I may not be there, I know Mike would be happy to see you there.

Wow, that was a lot of barking to do. Made me tired just thinking about all of the paw steps that Sky Queen and Mary traveled last week Idita-touring.

Take care,

Monday, January 29, 2007

Rivers News 1-29-2007

Hi Gang, Rivers here

Nichelle (our young friend who plays Taps at veteran's funerals) will be honored with one of the 2007 Spirit of Youth Award. It will be presented to her on March 10th. Hopefully, her dad will be home from Iraq. Bugles Across America has awarded her this year's scholarship for bringing in the most recruits. Spirit of Youth is a media event to promote positive stories of youth to Alaskan Communities. Congratulations Nichelle!

And now for an Abby update from her human companion Angie. You remember Abby, don't ya? She is the blind husky that this was formerly known as "Abraham", the blind senior found in a shelter in the Midwest.

"Just a little Abby update, who sends her love, btw.
So far, so good! She's been doing really well - a very happy husky now there's snow on the ground! She actively plays and mouth-wrestles with Max and Iris everyday, doesn't want to come in unless I bribe her with a biscuit, and has a grand little frenzy "de-gutting" her stuffed doggie toys about every other day. Her energy is good, she's very alert, her appetite is great, and she is just as sweet natured as can be. Oh, and she is a dream with kids! We had a number of them around during the holidays and she was exceptionally gentle, sat very quietly, let them pet her and was very attentive to them."
We have pictures of her and will post them to the Blog soon.

Our good friend Bob has been gone for more than a year now. Bob was our dear friend who was a multiple organ transplant recipient. He had failing eyes, but that did not stop him from harnessing up his beloved Jet and Roshi and go mushing with them. He was a good human and a true inspiration to all of us, both canine and human. We do miss him, but take comfort in knowing that he is in a place where the snow is great, the trails are unlimited, and he is in perfect shape for dog sledding.

According to Mike, the last several months has taken a heavy toll on the Alaskan troops in the war zone. We grieve for them and their families. Please take a moment to remember their sacrifice, and while you are at it, jot a few lines on a card and mail it to them. Mail call is a great moral booster.

Iditarod time is coming soon. Rivers Books is very proud to be a supporter of the North Wapiti Siberian Husky Kennels.
Ya don't know who that is? Well check out Good luck Karen!! If you really want to know what life is like at a Yukon Quest/Iditarod level racing kennel, you just have to check out Donna Q's great DVD " Pretty Sled Dogs". Donna, a 3 time Emmy winner for her camera work, filmed the DVD on location at Karen's kennel. Not only does the DVD show the work involved in maiking a superb racing team, but also is graphic proof of the love, care and attention that Karen gives her dog. This TLC is a very important part of any successful kennel. Please visit for more information about this great DVD.

So you ask, how would I, a blind retired racing sled dog know this is a great DVD? Simple. First, I see with my heart. Second, the DVD was carefully analyze by 5 dog experts and they reported to me that this is one great DVD. You ask who my dog experts are? Well they are my kennel mates, Lakota, Icy (Christmas in our books) Sky, Tundra, and the very critical, Stormy.

Don't forget to RSVP for the open house on Friday March 2, 2007, 4 to 7 p.m.

See ya,