Sunday, October 12, 2008

Rivers News 10-12-08

Hi Gang, Rivers here

Wow, where did the summer go? Did I nap through it? There is frost on the decks when Mike puts us outside in the morning and the lawns are full of wet leaves. We had a touch of snow the other day, but it is gone now. I know the winter is coming because Mike and Mary started watching their favorite show, Northern Exposure, in the garage with us . As soon as we hear the music, we know tummy rubs are coming our way and maybe even some popcorn! Icy stretches out next to Mary along with Sky and the rest of us hunker down around Mike because he normally has the bigger bowl of popcorn!

Now we all know that one of our favorite humans who lives in the Midwest always sends us popcorn from her special place. Yummy, her Carmel popcorn is just out of sight. When Mike fills his bowl, we all gather around. Poor guy gets one piece for every 5 he passes out to us.

Our good buddy Erin will receiver her service dog next August.
The fund raisers were very successful. I know Erin’s folks’ were very happy for this pup to become a part of Erin's life. On their behalf, let me thank all of you for your prayers and the best wishes you sent Erin's way.

Stormy, who acts as my eyes, told me that Mike shaved off part of his beard. His fur is gone?? No, she told me, he just trimmed it down a bit. She giggled that when she nuzzles with Mike, his bead does not tickle her nose now.

Mike took Tunny down the driveway with him the other night. Tunny became very interested in some kids across the street who were playing with a soccer ball. I don't think Tunny ever saw a ball that big and she was figuring how she could play ball with those kids.

I overhead Mike and Mary talking and it sounded like they have some sort of event scheduled almost every weekend until Christmas. Here is the schedule.
Elmendorf AFB, Saturday 18 October, 11-3
Raven Hall at the State Fair Grounds, Saturday & Sunday October 25 & 26, 10-5 (Huge craft show with over 120 vendors)
Annabel's Books in Wasilla Saturday November 1, 11-3
Pandemonium Books and Cafe Saturday November 8 and again December 20, 11-4
Willow Craft Show at the Community Center, Saturday November 15 10 to 4
Read Alaska at the Anchorage Museum on 7th and C, 11-4 Friday November 28 and again Sunday November 30
Colony High School Saturday November 29 10-5 (The students put this show on and the money raised pays for their traveling expenses for school activities!)
Ravenswood Elementary in Eagle River, Saturday December 6, 10 to 5. (This event is put on by the schools PTA)

Wow, it makes me tried just barking about that schedule. Sky who checks out the computer room often for stashed treats told me that she saw more event dates on the calendar but they were marked tentative.

I know I have been a bit tardy with the newsletter. Well things have been busy around here at the Howlin' Rivers Home. Mike is still working full time in Anchorage and I heard him say that his two bosses are no longer working in his department. I guess where Mike works is like in a dog team. So when two the dogs stop pulling, the rest of the dogs have to pick up the slack. I gather from listening to Mike and Mary that Mike is in a 4 human team. Two of which are no longer working and the 3rd is out due to some personal reasons. Does that really mean that Mike is pulling the “sled” by himself. If so, no wonder he is so tired when he gets home.

Well I better get back to work. We have a load of book orders that I have to autograph. I really enjoy that!

See ya

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Rivers News 7-24-2008

Hi Gang, Rivers here,

The weather here has been nothing but wet and cool. I just started to shed my winter coat, but it feels as if I may still need it. I heard Mary tell Mike that she saw “termination dust”on Pioneer Peek! Termination dust is an early dusting of snow on the mountain peaks and is a warning to tourist that winter is coming! Sky told me that the fire weed is well up its stalk. According to native lore, once the fire weed flowers reach the top of the stalk, winter will soon be here. Where has the warmth of summer gone to?

We have a new addition to our family. Her name is Iris, she has brown hair and brown eyes. Iris is 2 years old. Tundra told me Iris does not look like your normal Husky. Tunny told me she is a lot bigger. Well that is nice, I thought, so when are we going to meet Iris? It appears we are not. Iris stays at the farm since she is a Musk ox!! I guess this what they call a “gotcha!” Mike and Mary, actually our company, Rivers Books adopted Iris. We have a picture of her on our Blog.

Moving on, according to her dad, Lt. Amber and her team are now home. Welcome back and thanks for fighting the bad guys over there so we do not have to fight them here.
Sandy Q from Texas asks that we keep her Mom in our thoughts and prayers. Sandy's Mom is experiencing some health issues.

Book 3 is at the printer. I have included a picture of the cover of Book 3 on our Blog. We are taking advance orders for delivery in late August or early September. There is an order form at:

Did you know that my good buddy Wiggy's has been working with a children's outerwear manufacturer who is making Lamilite insulated outerwear? The company is Molehill Mountain Equipment Inc. the phone number is 208-263-8422; proprietor is Doug Faude. The web site is According to Wiggy, Doug Faude;s products come with the same guarantee of quality that Wiggy's offers!

Another good friend, Ms. Tails brought this to our attention about a chance to send free care package items to our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq in honor of the marines depicted in the HBO miniseries “Generation Kill.” Here is the web site. then select the TROOP DRIVE tab.

Well, it is time for a good tummy rub, so where is my Mike??

So what are you doing for the summer? Anything interesting?

Got to go.

See ya

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Rivers News 6-29-08

Hi Gang Rivers here,

This year is sure going fast. I cannot believe it is the end of June already. I was wondering why I felt a bit older and then realize that I turned 13 in June. Wow, that makes me a senior citizen, 91 in human years . I wonder if I can get a senior’s discount at the dog food store!

We have a dog for adoption. Nope, not one of my kennel mates living at the
“Howling’ Rivers Home”. One of Mike’s long time co-workers and dear friends must give up her dog and she asked us to help her find a home for Serena. Yep, that is the young girl’s name. Serena is 8 years old, very sweet, loves to chase a ball, and is great with kids. Serena is house broken and use to city life in Anchorage. Serena would be a great companion dog for a single person or an empty nest couple. Of course, since Serena is great with kids, a nice family will work also. Serena is not a big dog, more of a lap dog. If you are interested or know someone who could give this pup a great home, please e-mail me privately. We only have to August to get Serena adopted. Thanks.

Our good friend Donna Q of Husky Productions just returned from someplace called Maryland. She did some camera work for an upcoming PBS show about veterans. The show is scheduled to start airing on Veteran's Day and is called America's Veterans, A Musical Celebration”.
The show was taped at the Music Center at Strathmore, produced by the United States Air Force and Maryland Public TV. Guests are Clint Black, Patti LaBelle, Jake Shimabukuro, along with the US Air Force Symphony Orchestra and The Singing Sergeants. Cliff Robertson is the host. Mark you calendars and check you local television listings for the time in your neck of woods. Here is a picture of the concert

A fellow "near famous author" like Mike, Dr. Ken Jones, will be releasing his book about veterans on July 4, 2008. Ken’s book is called
“When Our Troops Come Home”. The book and the web site for supporting our troops and their families are up now, Please visit Ken’s web site att

My good buddy Wiggy knows a thing or two about keeping warm. That is why he manufactures the best sleeping bags and cold weather gear. Now, Wiggy has turned his attention to helping you save money when you heat your house. As you know, no matter how well your windows are sealed, they will loss heat. Wiggy has devised an insulation material that can be cut to the size of your windows. Just like the insulation Wiggy’s uses in his gear that keeps your body heat from escaping, the same idea works for his material preventing heat from escaping from your home. Wiggy told me he will have the product information on his web site next week, here is the web site of Wiggy site. You may have to look for the stuff, but take some time and browse. Check out Wiggy's newsletters. Great products from a “Made in America” company!

Our publisher send us a .pdf file of the new cover for “Rivers Book 3, Unknown Trails”. Fantastic!! It is a 2 MB file so I am hesitant to send it to you . It might choke up your e-mail. The publisher is supposed to send me a .jpg copy so I can post to the web. I will let you know when both the picture and book become available. We are taking advance orders.

Got to go. Wait, what is is the sound I hear? Why, it is the girls barking “Happy Birthday” too me. How sweet of them. What is that I smell, Cake also! One of Mary’s cakes. Yumm. They can sure make me blush!

See ya

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pretty Sled Dogs Video - A review

Pretty Sled Dogs
A video By Donna Quante, Husky Productions

Reviewed by Mike Dillingham, Author/Owner Rivers Books

If you think this video is a “chick flick”, forget that idea. And it surely is no parody of “Pretty Woman” either. It is a video about dogs and their hard working owners who love them dearly. That love comes across very clearly in the video as Karen Ramstead talks about her dogs; their training, showing and racing.

Donna captured all of the power and beauty of these “Pretty Sled Dogs”. You will walk through the kennel area with Donna as Karen cares for the dogs. You will ride with Donna as she piggybacks on a 4-wheeler as Karen runs a dogs team during a training run. You cannot help but being awed by the sheer beauty of these pure bred Siberian Huskies. Donna’s video takes you so close to the dogs that you will think that you could reach out and give these beauties ear rubs!

Donna’s video gives you a great inside view of a real working, championship racing kennel. You will see the amount of work and dedication it takes to get these magnificent dogs from puppyhood to the finish line or to the show floor.

This video is a must have for anyone who wants to be a musher, own a dog team or breed working dogs. If you ever wanted to visit a world class sled dog racing kennel, but resources prevented you, adding this video to your collection is the way to go.

Donna has won 3 Emmys for her TV camera work. Her mastery of video comes through in "Pretty Sled Dogs". Please visit Donna's web site at

This video earned our highest rating, 4 paws and a tail wag!


Mike Dillingham and Rivers

Monday, March 31, 2008

Rivers News 3-31-08

Hi Gang, Rivers here,

My good buddy, Bob N. spends much of his time helping veterans. His nephew, Kurt is in the war zone and I bet Kurt would appreciate hearing some hometown news. When you are away from home, anybody’s home town news is welcomed. So here is Bob’s nephews’ address:

SPC Kurt Sprengel
169th MP CO
Unit 73301
APO-AE 09371-3301

When you write, tell Kurt you got his address from his Uncle Bob’s buddy, Rivers, a blind Alaskan retired racing sled dog. I bet that will get Kurt wondering abut what is happening back in Alaska!

The Iditarod is over and Lance Mackey did the impossible by wining back to back Iditarods and Yukon Quests 2 years in a row. Unfortunately, Zorro, a member of Lance’s canine family was hit by a snow machine outside of Nome during the All Alaska Sweepstakes.
Zorro was resting in the sled basket and a snow machine rear-ended the sled at high speed. Lance is okay, but the sled is probably totaled. Zorro was severely injured and had to be med-evaced to Seattle with possible spinal cord damages, internal injuries and 3 broken ribs.

Here is a link to Lance’s web site that will provide you with more information.

Lance is a cancer survivor and literally the “Comeback Kid”. His story is very motivational and inspires others to do their best. Please keep Lance, his family, his dogs and, especially Zorro, in your prayers. I know they would appreciate them, as well as any cards or notes you wish to send to them.

Well, that is about all I have for you right now. Kind of slow. We are all waiting for the grass to grow tall for munching and the sun to warm up things so we can sunbathe. Mike and Mary have been cleaning up the yards and getting ready for our ‘warm season”

Take care,

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Rivers News 3-16-08

Hi Gang, Rivers here,

Okay, I know it has been a long time since our last newsletter, but believe me; it has been very hectic around the Howlin’ Rivers Home. First we had many of our friends from “Outside” visit us. Besides Mike’s day job routine, he had several book signings to attend. Mary was busy with her friends, visiting musher’s kennels, attending the Vet check at the ITC headquarters, helping Donna at Husky Productions gather Iditarod media tidbits, attending banquets, and trying to catch up on some quality time with us during these busy Iditarod times.

Congratulations to Lance Mackey for winning the 2008 Iditarod. What an interesting race this one was! Besides the suspense of the cat and mouse chase between Lance and Jeff King, there were many other interesting things happening. We are also very happy that our good friend Karen Ramstead made it too Nome safely. Karen is one of our favorite mushers and all around good people. Way to go mushers!!

Speaking of Lance Mackey, our good friends at Northern Light Media, in cahoots (wow, I like that word. It sounds like something good to eat!!) with Husky Productions, produced a great video of a conversation with Lance called “Appetite and Attitude, a conversation with Lance Mackey”.

We had the privilege of watching it with Mike; well, I listened to it since I cannot see. Mike wrote a review on the video, which I hope you enjoy reading. Since it is a bit long, I have posted it to our blog at I hope the video inspires you to add it to your collection. If so, please contact Northern Light Media at

I want you to know that if you could not make our open house, you were missed. I posted a picture of the cake on our blog. Mike told me that the picture on the cake will be the cover our Book 3.

At this time, we do not have any new military folks in the war zones to write to outside of Lt. Amber’s team. So if you know of any military folks in the war zones who would like to receive some mail, please privately send their addresses to me and I will make sure they get posted to the Rivers Group.

Caitlyn came by the house yesterday with a great move that she watched with us. It was called “Firehouse Dog” and it was great. We all gave it a 4 paw rating!

Mike was a guest speaker for the Alaska Society of Professional Engineers last night. He gave his presentation “Life with a Blind Dog” at the banquet. I know he was rehearsing this and I had to remind him that this presentation was originally written to motivate teachers and young people. He told me when he came home last night that he had modified it for the Engineers. He told me that he received two standing ovations from the group when he was done. He told me that he made it very clear to the group that he was only the messenger of the story; I was the star of the show. Holy Moly Mike, you are making me blush!

Spring is almost here, Yippee.

Take care


Appetite and Attitude, a Conversation with Lance Mackey

Appetite and Attitude, a Conversation with Lance Mackey
A video by Northern Light Media

Reviewed by Mike Dillingham, Author/Owner Rivers Books.

I met Lance Mackey at a public function soon after Lance won the 2007 Quest and Iditarod. I had Rivers, my blind retired racing sled dog, with me and we had the chance to talk to Lance. Now Lance, being a celebrity, a super hero of the mushing world, winning both races back to back, I figured he would be a pompous arrogant individual who really had no time to discuss anything with someone who he does not know. However, I was very wrong. I found Lance to be friendly, down to earth, humorous, and honest. He is not disillusioned about himself. Believe me; his outstanding achievements have not given him a fat head.

So, when I this video showed up at my house, I was very interested in enjoying it. Frankly, I was not disappointed. The same Lance I met in 2007 was the man talking on the video. He was open, honest, and talks to you, not at you. While the questions he was asked were probably scripted, Lance remarks were not. They were extremely candid, at times emotional, and sincere. Lance does not talk to the camera. Lance talks to the interviewer and focuses his energies on the conversation.

This is an extremely professional video. The camera work captures a relaxed, but at times excited Lance Mackey.

If you buy this video to learn Lance’s secrets of being a dog team driver, you are wasting your time. However, if you want to listen and in some cases feel a part of a one-on-one dialogue with a true champion, this video is a must have.


Mike Dillingham

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Rivers News 2-3-08

Hi Gang, Rivers here,

We are in the mists of a very long cold snap that does not look like it will break up any time soon. Temperatures are averaging 20 degrees or better below than normal. Last night it was -20 degrees in the kennel. Now, that is lukewarm compared to other places in Alaska, but it is cold for February in Palmer.

Icy told me that Mike fell three times walking her down the driveway in the morning to get the paper before he headed off to work last week. The driveway, as well as most side streets and intersections, are slick and icy due to the melting caused by a "Pineapple Express" weekend we had about two weeks ago. The recent prolonged cold snap froze the melted snow causing the icy conditions.

Well you asked for it, and now you have it. Mike posted the 2003 and 2007 Christmas stories on our blog at Enjoy!!

The Christmas stories have been a tradition of the Howlin' Rivers Home since 2000. We freely e-mailed them to anyone who requested them. However, once the stories appeared in, or are scheduled to appear in our books, they are no longer free for the asking. As of right now, the 2003 and 2007 stories are not scheduled to appear in our next book, "Rivers Book 3, Unknown Trails". The 2004, 2005, and 2006 Christmas stories will be in Book 3.

Forever Home Wanted! We received an e-mail from our good friend Cissy, who works with a harness trained 8-year-old husky/female who is a very sweet dog. Jenna is he dogs name. According to Cissy, Jenna is a sweetheart and very playful. Jenna is living at Alaska TLC kennels. Here is the website to see her picture. Please visit and pass on the info so Jenna can find her forever home.

Our publisher, Publication Consultants sent us this by e-mail. "As many of you know, and participated in, we sent our troops books for Christmas. The books for Christmas was the idea of Mike Dillingham, author of the two Rivers books. Yesterday we received a nice letter and certificate from Troop Commander, Jeffery J. Jablonski. Although the letter was addressed to us, it's people like you who made it possible for us to send the books. We thank you for supporting our troops and helping us send them books for Christmas." Thank all of you who sent books to our troops.

We received e-mail from a fellow canine named Monte. Monte told us he was rescued from a shelter by a group called N.E.A.D.S., (National Education Assistant Dogs Service) and is now a service/companion dog for a lady named Janet who is hearing challenged. What a super story! But wait; here is the main thing that makes this story so cool. According to Monte, "Janet is no longer afraid to be alone in the house. I am there to help hear for her. She has gained a lot of confidence and freedom because of me.” What someone discarded at the shelter became another human’s lifeline! Just for you info, N.E.A.D.S. was the first group to initiate the Prison Pups Program and the Dogs for the Disabled American Veterans Program. Please visiting their web site at

Mike and Mary met with Katie and her Mom at the Elmendorf Air Force Base Exchange the other day. They told Mike and Mary that Elizabeth (Liz) is hanging in there. She has her good days and then her bad days. So please keep your prayers and good wish flowing to Liz.

Well, the Iditarod starts on Saturday, March 1, 2008 and that means it is time for the annual Rivers' Howlin' Kennel open house. So mark your calendars for Friday February 29, 2008, 4 to 8 p.m. Please RSVP as soon as you can, but no later than Friday February 2008 so the lady dogs can make enough of their infamous "kennel cookies". Sky and Tundra are the social directors for this year’s open house even so they will e-mail you instructions for getting to our homestead upon receipt of your RSVP.

Hope your team wins the Super Bowl.
See ya,


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Rivers News 1/26/2008

Hi Gang, Rivers Here,

Want to know where Mike will be for a book signing, just click on Type in Rivers and change the box that reads Authors to Books and then click search. Pretty slick. How did you like the picture on Mike's bio? Well that is one that Donna Q. at Husky Productions in Willow took. You can see more of Donna's fine pictures at

We received an e-mail from Elizabeth. She asked me to thank all of you for the prayers an good wishes you sent to her. her exact words were "I'm not able to respond to all of them, but thought maybe you could let everyone know how much it means to me and to my family to know how many people are praying and sending their well wishes our way." She told us that she works with a dog named Jeta in the 4H. Jeta is a 6 year old German Shepherd.

Barking of dogs. Check this site out did not have a lot of time to visit the site, but from what Mike was telling me, the program provides guide dogs and service dogs to disabled veterans. I bet those guide and service dogs are happy to help those veterans! Let me ask you a question. If a blind human has a guide dog, does a blind dog have a guide human? If so, is Mike my guide human??

In our last newsletter, I barked to you about our friend Katie who made and gave me something called "scare-a-bear beads". Here is a pcitre of me wearing them. Teh picture was taken by Donna Q of Husky Productions

Last weekend is was very warm, then it turned very cold, then we received over a foot of snow and now the wind blew all the snow away. This has been one weird weather year. I heard some of the bears got up from their winter sleep because they though it was spring time because of the warm weather. Wow, I bet they got upset when the cold wind came. I know I am when I got to get up from my warm and cozy doghouse to answer natures calling when it is very cold and windy.
We heard form our buddy Bugle Girl (Nikky) she is in Texas now and had another medical challenge to deal with. But according to her mom, Nikky is doing OK.

Mike finished his last edit on Book 3 and it will go to the proof readers later this week. We are making progress!

Mike is considering putting our 2007 Christmas Story on our Blog. What do you think?
Well I have to go.

See ya!