I don't typically do anything public with my dogs other than social mushing and racing, but this event fell into my lap on a couple of occasions over the last several years and so I decided to embrace it and I'm so glad I did, as it was a wonderful charity fund raiser. The event planners had asked me to participate in selecting a charity for the event. Through my friend Gail Casonguay, I discovered the Marshall Family and suggested them as the charitable recipients. The event planners (Lori Bowen and April Smith) embraced the Marshall Family (who are adorable) and so, the Santa run was scheduled for Saturday November 28th at 3:30pm.
Despite the freezing frigid, cold wind, there was quite a crowd. The atmosphere was excellent and the amount of support from local police officers and event people, was just excellent. There were many onlookers, people with dogs and small children as we were dressing the ATV and harnessing the dogs over at the Rec Center.
Many thanks goes to Richard who has been out with me and the dogs all season long and was so willing to dress up as an elf and wear green tights. Also many thanks to Peg and Peter Hendel who were amazing and such wonderful helpers. They were with us from start to finish. Another thank you goes to Jaye Foucher who was a familiar face in the crowd and a spontaneous helper. As we pulled in with Santa, Jaye jumped in to assist right at a critical moment when the dogs were pulling hard and I needed another body on the ATV so that I could hug Santa good-bye as I dropped him off by the gazebo. Jaye then took my camera and was able to take a bunch of photos for me and helped get the team safely to the truck. Great timing Jaye ! Peg and Richard were upfront with my leaders but I was unable to see them because of the crowds!
The dogs were coming off from two days of rest so they were really rested up. We had quite a bit of speed on the blacktop and into a left hand turn which lead to a dirt trail. Santa held on and we literally flew onto the dirt trail with a great view of Town Square, Corcoran's pond and the crowd infront of us. The cheering was so loud. The dogs were enjoying the excitement and despite the brakes being full on, we were moving fast over the sand on the beach, then over the loose stone and onto the bridge. The cheering continued and the crowd was now all around us. I was grateful at this point for the Can-am experience as the dogs have to go down a tunnel of onlookers all calling out at you as you mush by the crowd. Santa looked great, I had a full elf costume on, the ATV was decorated in Christmas ribbons and bows and the dogs all had red bandanas on.
When I finally stopped the team, I could barely see the dogs. There was a lot to pay attention to... getting Santa safely off the ATV, saying our good-byes and pleasing the crowd with photo opportunities, letting the crowd love the dogs and take photos and listen to the police officers who were wanting to move us through the crowd. They did an excellent job and everyone was simply terrific. Dogs remained focussed and calm and really, apart from it all going by so quickly.... it was a blast. We were very grateful to be part of this event and to have the opportunity to raise funds for a good cause and a wonderful family.
Thank you to everyone who helped and who supported the event and of course the biggest thanks goes to my dogs. In lead I had Yahboo and Rosie, then in point I had Daisy and Cookqiz, team dogs were Tonka, Nellie and Zsa Zsa with Tiger-Lilly and Bobby at wheel.
One last word, much to my surprise were the number of people from our past who were there to reconnect with us and to witness our love of the dogs and see the dogs in all their glory. Three sets of people who we knew from years ago, came up to us and asked if we had Sasquatch with us. It brought a smile to my face and an ache to my heart. He made an impact on all who knew him and after all this time, his spirit lives on.