Meet Dori Hollingsworth
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I was born in Seattle, but at one month of age whisked up to Alaska where I spent the next 6 months on a fishing tender. I then bounced back and forth between Seattle and Alaska until I was 13. At that time we made a permanent move to Alaska. A move that I have never regretted. I thank God every day that I live in such a beautiful country.
I have lived in Seward for over 30 years. Seward is known for its rain and warm winters. It's really not a good place to work with sled dogs. People often ask why we stay here and the answer is my family. My parents live here as well as both my brothers and their families. My oldest niece, who is married with children, also lives here and my oldest daughter, Nita, and her family have made their home in Seward. I may not be in dogs forever, but I hope to always be around family. My youngest daughter, Linnea, is in Anchorage going to school and studying theater.
Racing sleddogs was a great thing to do with the girls while they were growing up. Although Linnea never got into racing the dogs, she did always come with us on the trips and was good with the puppies. Nita on the other hand was very into racing dogs. She won the Junior World Championship 5-dog class, as well as winning three Gold medals in the 1996 Arctic Winter Games. And all that after she had broken her arm quite badly in a race.
Although we would like to be more involved in sleddog clubs, the closest one is over 100 miles away and it's just too hard for us to get there for meetings, etc. It's rare for us to even make it to a drawing. Usually we don't find out what position we are going out or whom we are running against until we get to the race.
What is your primary sled dog activity or area of interest?
How long have you been involved with sled dogs?
What sparked your initial interest in sled dogs?
If you remember your very first time behind a team of dogs, tell us about it.
Who have been your mentors?
One time I was at a race and I wanted to run a single leader. Since I didn't know if she would do okay all the way around I put both leader lines on her instead of just using a single leader line. I looked around to see if Bill were anywhere in sight as I knew he'd tell me to just use one and I didn't see him. Well, he was somewhere out on the trail and would you believe he noticed I had two lines hooked to Mitzie. I never got away with anything, but he sure taught me a lot. Dan Grey helped me to ride the sled better and Bill Taylor has helped through the years with much sage advice.
What size kennel do you operate?
What type of tether/bowl system do you use?
We like our chains off the ground so we have a pipe about 4 feet up with a swivel coming out of the pipe. We tried just using a piece of bent rebar in the pipe, but we get so much rain that it was always freezing and was a real hassle to thaw in the winter. Also when the snow piled up the dogs could get the pipe out if they jumped. Then we would find them running around the yard dragging this piece of rebar. We now have a D ring welded onto a piece of pipe that rotates around the rebar. If it does freeze it's easy to knock loose and when the snow piles up they don't get loose as the rebar is frozen into the pipe. Having the chain off the ground is much cleaner and makes it much easier for us to clean up the yard.
What are the most important considerations in housing sled dogs?
Give us an overview of your feeding program.
Summarize your basic kennel management style.
What breed(s) do you work with?
What physical characteristics do you look for in your dogs?
What mental or emotional attributes do you require in your dogs?
Tell us about an all time favorite dog or two.
From there she just got better. As a yearling she led my 5-dog team (all yearlings) to ASDRAs points championship. As a two-year-old she started setting track records and continued to do so until she was 7 years old. She led my team to victory at the Tok Race of Champions, Su Valley Championships, Limited North American and many club races. For two years she ran in my 6-dog team and never lost a race. Then when she was five we hooked her up in the open team. She looked behind her at all those dogs and I could see her thinking, "At last, I have some help!" She not only won her first open race, but also set anew track record in the process. She is 10 now and I have never known her to have a sour day. No matter how bad the run was the day before I can count on her to be ready to go the next time out. When Mitzie is in the team I know we are going to have a good run. It was really hard for me to take her out of the main string, but she is really showing her worth by training pups now.
Although only a year old I can tell that Chip, our German shorthaired pointer, is going to be another favorite. He's a gentle soul that likes to lie at my feet in the evening while I read. But come running time it's another story. He goes ballistic. He runs through the house whining and carrying on. When I load him in the truck he immediately turns around with his teeth against the screen and begins to foam. I'm going to have to keep his rabies certificate with me at all times. He was chewing through the top of his box so we had to metal plate it. He would bark from Seward to Fairbanks (500 miles) so that we finally had to get a bark collar for him. When you get where you are going and open up his box the straw is all shoved to the back of his box while the front is bare wood. He ran up front from his third run out and is super strong. He led my 6-dog team to victory in the 2001 IFSS World Championships and Tok Race of Champions.
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