Bootie Call for Winterdance’s Yukon Quest

Get your tickets now for the gala
Nov 20 at Sir Sam’s Ski Lodge
Calendars on sale now!

By Terrance Gavan

Booties for dogs?
   Surely you must be joking.
   No we are most certainly not … and don’t call me Shirley!
   Okay, so you may be forgiven for associating dogs in booties with Hollywood starlets, who drag Mexican miniature canines around in Gucci handbags.
   Put a block on your TMZ. Please!
   Booties have long been the mainstay of the working dog. Crazy as Elvis celebrities like Paris Hilton and her bejeweled and beslippered darlings are only copping an old time-honored paradigm; surfaced long, long ago when dogs were a staple and stable form of travel.
   My mum, a second generation Faroe Islander, grew up on a ranch in the Manitoba Interlake, and used to place booties on dog teams just before my Afi (Icelandic for granddad) Harry and several of my Icelandic uncles (Gusti, Pete, Bert and Henry) headed out to Lake Manitoba on winter-long, ice-fishing expeditions.
   Dogs you see used to be an intrinsic part of our life here in Canada.
   Dogs, specifically the Siberian husky, are still a very vital part of the day-to-day operations of Winterdance Dog Sled Tours.
   Hank DeBruin and Tanya McCready-Debruin, might not know the difference between a Birkenstock and a Bluntstone, but just you ask ‘em what boot works best over a chopped-ice river bed trail in the Yukon, or Alaska, and prepare to be inundated with clever bon mots, historical references, and full resume of the very best canine kicks for the job.
   Tanya and Hank became very familiar with the renaissance Lassie loafer while preparing for the Iditarod, that most iconic of sled dog races. Hank and his team of Siberians ran his Sibes in the Iditarod last year.
   So booties, prefaced by a well-known expletive may be the way Hank describes the classical application of soles to soulful dog team; at full howl; on a nippy -42 degree morning on the Anchorage trail.
   Hank remains the guy most intimately involved in the day-to-day drudge of fitting boots onto a working sled of 15 to 18 wide-eyed Sibes.
   That’s four paws apiece peeps.
   No job for a Hollywood starlet with a yappy Chihuahua.
    This year, in addition to their comprehensive schedule of guided tours with their 150 dog operation, Hank and Tanya will be embarking on the Yukon Quest, the second most famous sled dog race extant.
   On Saturday, Nov 20 Hank and Tanya are asking all of their many friends here in the Highlands to come out and support the team.
   Welcome to the Bootie Call Gala Dinner & Evening.
   “Join us at Sir Sam’s Ski Hill Lodge for an evening of fun,” says Tanya. “It’s our main fundraiser for the race team’s journey to the Yukon Quest 2011.”
   It should be a doozey of a dinner. The repast is by Rhubarb’s (Eagle Lake) Chef Christoff.