Meet our two and four-legged family
When I was a kid in France I would spend my time exploring the surroundings with Whisky the family dog, living in some fantasy world in which my pet dog would become a team of raging huskies, the woods behind the house were the infinite boreal forest and all the little ponds became endless frozen lakes.
Once back home I would devour any book I could find about polar explorers, trappers and gold seekers living in the middle of nowhere in the Far North, and the loyal companions of those adventurers : the incredible sled dogs who fascinated me more than anything else.
Sometimes children’s dreams come true. A cabin in Yukon, 30 + huskies howling in my yard, the boreal forest at my door, bears and wolves wandering around…The winters spent on the runners of my sled, the races, the camping trips, the night runs under the northern lights… What a long way since my childhood daydreams! Sometimes I almost have to pinch myself to ensure everything is real. Every time I’m having a bad day I try to remember how lucky I am to live here.
Before settling here in Whitehorse I’ve been travelling and working with sled dogs in many different places, from France and Quebec to Sweden and Norway, giving me lots of experience in both touring and racing kennels. I arrived in Yukon in 2008 and decided to call it home.
People sometimes ask what I enjoy most about dog sledding. My dogs are my second family. I enjoy being with them for hours on the trail. I enjoy the silence, the quietness, the loneliness. I enjoy watching them, being one with them, sharing moments of complicity. I enjoy exploring new trails and sleeping under the starry sky. I enjoy travelling through incredible sceneries. I enjoy racing and competing, pushing ourselves and getting better. I enjoy making training plans, follow them and see the results. I enjoy breeding and raising pups, harness breaking them and see their evolution. I enjoy the fact that every day with them is different, that they’re always happy and eager to go. And I enjoy sharing my passion and initiate people to dog sledding.
Nola, also known as “little toad”, is a free spirited, free range little wildling. Born in Yukon from an Alsatian trapper and a musher from Normandy, she speaks French, English and Dog.
She enjoys riding her goat, talking to the ravens and magpies, playing with her pups, having a nap in a dog house with her best friends, running after the chickens, digging holes with the goofers, climbing everything possible including the roof and fishing imaginary or real fish.
But as a true 21st century kid she also loves watching stupid cartoons with ugly sharks and stealing her dad smartphone whenever she can.
She started dog sledding when she was 8 months old pulled in a baby sled by Speed and as a three years old she’s now driving her own real sled like a pro.
But she’s not a beginner, as she was already racing with me in my belly 2 months before her birth, and during her first year she came with me in most of my training runs, warmly wrapped in my back. In her second year she was sitting in the sled and going in family camping trips.
When Speed’s eyes met mines, behind his shelter bars where he had stayed for more than a year, did he have any idea of what he was getting into?
Running one hundred kilometers ultra trail races, hiking for days carrying a back pack, following my mountain bike for hundreds of kilometers, travelling everywhere in France, Norway, Sweden, Canada, Alaska…Sailing across the Mediterranean Sea, paddling the Yukon River from Whitehorse to the Dalton Highway, running in a sled dog team in Yukon, hitchhiking in Alaska…Having an unfortunate encounter with a porcupine, and having his jaw broken by a wolf… Falling in love with Oumiack, and then being cheated by some stupid sled dogs!
Speed is now almost 15. He’s a border collie greyhound cross I adopted in France 12 years ago, and he’s been everywhere with me. He’s been my confident, my best friend, my loyal companion. He’s witnessed all the changes in my life. He’s the big boss and the sled dogs do not argue with him. Some have tried, and now they have pieces of ear missing ! He’s a very special dog.
Speed shares his hikes with Dagoo, who did not replace Oumiack in his heart but entertains him with her happy-go-lucky attitude. Dagoo was found as a pup by a friend and we adopted her 5 years ago. She is a pure Yukon mutt with unknown origins, but we suspect her mum might have been led astray by a grizzly bear. Dagoo is the nicest dog you can find.
Moumoune is a 7 years old female cat, whose originality is to have lost one leg in a car accident before we adopted her. She is the most beautiful cat, and also the nicest and most patient cat I have ever met. And she is the greatest three legs mouser. She was the first Into the Wild recruit, but she has not shown any interest in pulling a sled so far. That’s why we decided to abandon the idea of creating a sled cat team and transitioned to a more traditional sled dog team.
Taro and Jiro are one year old Great Pyrénées brothers. They came from Alberta to become goat guard dogs, but they have shown more interest in being pet dogs. They are named after the two Japanese sled dog brothers who miraculously survived a year in Antarctica after being left tied up at the base with their team mates after a storm forced the researchers to leave them behind.