BRAVER

Mountain

MUSHING

Blair Braverman and her husband, writer Quince Mountain, make up the human portion of BraverMountain Mushing, a long-distance dogsled team based in northern Wisconsin.

 

Blair and the dogs will be running their rookie Iditarod in March 2019. Follow the team on Twitter here and here

Blowhole was here

What kind of dogs do you have?


Our dogs are Alaskan huskies, which is a nice way of saying that they're Working Mutts of the North.




How many dogs are on the team?


It's an old musher joke that you should never ask someone how many dogs they have; you should ask them how many they're feeding. The size of our team fluctuates based on retirees, puppies, and even foster dogs, who we sometimes care for until they find their forever homes. That said, we like to keep our team size between 20 and 30, which is fairly standard for a long-distance dogsled team. Sometimes it feels more like 10,000, though.




Can I come visit?


Yes, sort of! We don't accept visitors at our home, because it's, well, our home, but we and the dogs love meeting people while we're on the road. If you're interested in dogsledding, we highly recommend coming out to a race--or better yet, volunteering for a race--and experiencing the excitement firsthand!




What if a sled dog doesn't want to run?


Have you ever seen a lab chase a tennis ball, absolutely bouncing with excitement before each throw? That's the kind of excitement that sled dogs bring to running -- which is why we love this sport. We get to work with dogs who are doing what they enjoy most. (They also enjoy ham and snoot kisses, so we make sure those are readily available, too.)

If, on occasion, a dog seems like they would prefer couch life to trail life, or has a health condition that prevents them from running, we will place that dog in an appropriate, active pet home. Here's a story about Glory, a husky who didn't want to pull sleds.




Where can I learn about individual dogs?


We're working on a website with dog intros, but in the meantime, you can read this Twitter thread. You an also check out our fan-made wiki, Wicksypedia, which is named after our yearling, Wickson.




How do sled dogs stay warm?


When the dogs are running, they generate a ton of heat, and our priority is keeping them from getting too warm. In the winter, when they're not running, they live in insulated dog houses with soft straw bedding, and will rest in coats and blankets when they're camping or racing.

Much like wolves and coyotes, sled dogs grow thick, double-layered coats in the winter. It's very important that they not spend too much time in heated buildings during that time, because the artificial heat can cause them to shed their own natural insulation. They need that fur!




When do your dogs retire?


Alaskan huskies typically retire from racing between 8 and 10 years old, and tend to stay healthy and fit as they age. There's no specific retirement age, because huskies are opinionated and each one is unique, so they're very good at announcing their intentions. When they retire, they either stay with the team and supervise the puppies and yearlings (which is sort of like sending the kids to grandma's house), join a recreational team for that half-pet / half-sled-dog life, or retire to be a pet completely. It really depends on each dog's personality and where we think he or she will thrive best.




Why is transparency so important to you?


We want to represent ethical, joyful mushing, and we believe that any sport or activity involving animals should strive for transparency and accountability.




Who are the Ugly Dogs? I don't think your dogs are ugly.


We agree completely! The Ugly Dogs are human fans of the team, who named themselves that after an internet troll told Blair to "Go back to your ugly dogs, Karen."




Ok, for real though, who's Blowhole?


Blowhole is a very nice dog who we borrowed from a good friend for a race, and during the short time we knew him, he ate our truck's brake lines. Since then, whenever anything goes wrong with equipment, we wonder if he's been around...




Who's Blowhole?


A force of nature. Chaos on the wind. The hairs that lift on your neck when you hear a voice but no one's there. An angel with sharp teeth.




Can I sponsor the team?


Yes! We use Patreon, through which sponsors give a recurring amount every month, starting at $1. The recurring payment system helps us to budget and plan for each season as we determine which races and/or expeditions we want to emark on with the dogs. If you're interested in a one-time sponsorship, please contact us at BraverMountainMushing@gmail.com.





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