If you asked me to pick a dog that embodies the spirit of our kennel, I would without a doubt choose Zema. Zema is one of the smallest dogs in our kennel but though she is small she is mighty. She is the little engine that could. And does. And does again.
She is one of those rare dogs that has always been a leader. “When I went to harness break Zema’s litter, she was the last dog I was supposed to hook up,” Travis says smiling at the memory. “I miscounted and the only open spot for Zema was in lead. She was really eager to go so I hooked her up front next to her mom, Hope. I was a little nervous – I’d never heard of anyone harness breaking pups in lead, but she took right too it. She’s been a lead dog every day of her life!”
Zema is the lead dog that lead Travis the first 900 miles of the 2013 Iditarod and helped him set some of the fastest checkpoint to checkpoint times.
“I only moved her out of lead because the winds were so strong she was getting blown over,” Travis said. “I finished with Boston in single lead in the 2013 Iditarod so everyone mistakenly makes him the hero. He was a key part of the team, that’s for sure — but Zema was the lead dog who was leading us at lightening paces.”
I can remember when I first met Zema. She was a small 7 month old who was a little shy. When I went to pet her for the first time she peed herself with nervous excitement. A year later, I would be taking Zema on her first race, The 2012 Tustumena 200. She was the heart and soul of my team. I will never forget stopping about 5 miles from the finish to savor the moment. Zema was leaping 3 feet in the air, happy and excited. She would have willingly gone another 200 miles!
In the spring of 2012 we had her spayed. She was small and had trouble maintaining good body weight. Ever since, she has had an obsession with puppies. Whenever we have pups in the kennel, If Zema is let loose her first instinct is to go play and nurture them.
Zema is one of the most dependable dogs in our kennel. She takes tremendous satisfaction in doing her job and doing it well. We’ve had to learn to give our commands at just the right time with Zema otherwise, in her eagerness to please, she will bound off the trail.
Zema has many relations in our kennel. Her direct siblings are Weiser and Madori. She also has 3 half-siblings through her mom: Hank, Dolly, and Varden. She also has several nieces and nephews: Marlow, Bruce, Aldawin, Flo, Pippa, and Bonnie.