Meet Laura &
||Laura & Neil Burton
||Calgary, Alberta / Maple Creek, Saskatchewan
||Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
||Owners/Operators Boarding/Grooming Kennel
Neil and I have been married 19 years. We reside at the kennel and our
family includes our four legged furry friends: Ben, Buck, Tucker, Reverse, Silver, Ice,
Polar, Kola, Kozy, Dakota, Reno, Dingo, Busy, Sissy, Panda, Kodiak, Kanuck, Meika, Timber,
Porriage, Tesoro, Cheena, Yukon, Columbus and Bob, the kennel cat. As my mother says
"we have gone to the dogs." Our main interest in life at this time is our sled
dogs. We are very involved in them and spend most of our time in the fall and winter
training and running. During the summer the boarding facility is very busy and takes up
most of our time. We are members of the CKC and SHCC.
What is your primary sled dog activity or area of interest?
Our main sled dog activity is mid and long distance.
How long have you been involved with sled dogs?
We have been involved with our dogs for 7 years starting with one and growing. We were
going to quit at 12 but just dont know what happened.
Dakota - Waiting to Go
|What sparked your initial interest in sled dogs?
Our first Siberian, Dakota, we acquired from a friend who was moving from the country to
the city. The first time we laid eyes on her we were hooked. She was just the most
beautiful animal we had ever seen. After meeting some sledding enthusiasts we decided this
is what we wanted to do so we traced back to where Dakota came from and off we went to get
a new puppy.
Well, we came home with two and so our family began to grow and grow and
grow. Some friends of ours were involved with a charity run in Manitoba called Mushing for
Miracles for the Canadian Cancer Society so we sent Dakota for the winter to train and be
part of this wonderful event. It was very hard not to have her around but we felt this was
the best way to have her trained by someone who knew what they were doing.
If you remember your very first time behind a team of dogs, tell
us about it.
I remember the first time we went out with Dakota, Sissy and Timber. Down the road, oops
the ditch and into an open field with snow up to our waists. Well, I guess practice makes
Who have been your mentors?
Our mentors over the years include a number of people - Bob Draward, Doris Prefontaine and
Martin Buser. Bob being a long time musher, Doris a world sprint champion, and, of course,
Martin. I met him at an ISDRA Conference in Winnipeg a few years ago. I learned so much
just listening to him speak. A truly wonderful family man whos way with his dogs is
truly amazing. Bob and Doris have always been there for us sharing their ideas and
opinions, but always free and willing to give us sound advice.
What size kennel do you operate?
At present we have 19 wonderful huskies--15 adults and 4 puppies to begin
training with this fall and winter.
Give us an overview of your feeding program.
We feed EAGLE SUPER PREMIUM PET FOOD and
supplement with a mixture of ground beef and fat when we begin training and running.
Summarize your basic kennel management style.
Our kennel management style would be lots of TLC, good nutrition, shelter, vet
|What breed(s) do you work with?
Our kennel basically consists of Siberian Huskies with a few Alaskans.
physical characteristics do you look for in your dogs?
What mental or emotional attributes do you require in your dogs?
Although physical characteristics are important, it is more important for good
temperaments and heart. The basic desire to run.
Tell us about an all time favorite dog or two.
All our dogs are very special and dear to us. I guess one of our favorites would be Franco
- our first lead dog - who we purchased - he taught us so much as well as the dogs. He
always was there and did his job when times got rough.
What criteria do you use for selecting breeding stock?
When choosing breeding stock, the important factors we look for are a clean bill
of health and temperament.
What method do you use for starting pups?
We found the easiest way to train pups is just put them in a small team and away
we go. All pups, however, are very well socialized by this time with both humans and dogs.
What is the most important thing you look for in a young pup?
Again the most important thing is a pup is the desire to run. Making it fun for
the dogs is very important.
Dakota & Baby Kanuck
What can individual mushers do to support and promote the sport?
Sled dog sports are growing rapidly. There are a lot of people out there,
however, that need to be educated on sled dogs. Mushers must take the time when promoting
to assure the outside world that this is what the dogs love to do - run, run, run - that
is what they were born and bred to do, and that these dogs are not being mistreated by
making them run.
What advice would you give a beginning musher?
Advice to a beginning musher if they are serious about the sport would be to
invest in a good leader. They will teach you and your dogs.
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