M Howling Husky Homestead
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Tutka, a female Alaska Husky, was my first sled dog. She was the runt of the litter and the last pick from an "accidental breeding." I was recovering from a debilitating injury after skiing off a glacier when my husband brought Tutka home to cheer me up.  We named her after a magnificent bay where we had kayaked the previous summer. Tutka turned out to be just the medicine I needed. My rehabilitation jumped leaps and bounds as Tutka and I tried skijoring and then graduated to helping out with a neighbor's dog team. Tutka became a gee-haw leader and she could have driven my dog team through a Wal-Mart parking lot. Tutka changed my life forever as we discovered the world of dog mushing and started a sled dog kennel.  To everyone’s surprise, she grew to be the largest dog from that litter!

Tutka retired when she was eleven and almost made her 15th birthday when she passed on.  I have had several great lead dogs since but Tutka will always have a special place in my heart.   She was my mentor and saved the day on many occasions like the time a tree had fallen across the trail during a storm and the dogs and sled went over the tree with out me. Tutka stopped the team on the other side of the deadfall long enough for me to grab the handlebar of the sled before the team took off again.   Tutka also had a sense of humor--she would check out the new dog handlers to see if they were paying attention by stopping mid-way down a big hill!  You can imagine the big tangle that ensued if the handler wasn’t quick on the brake.  Tutka’s spirit will always be with us on the trail.



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