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