In 1994 Rob and I decided to buy a dog. But what type of dog? Rob suggested a Siberian Husky. I didn't know what they were, but when he showed me what they looked like, I had to have one. (Worst mistake of Rob's life??) Rob and I married in October 1994 and the following January we got our first Husky, Zippa. Some would say Zippa was a surrogate child, we'd probably say she was the beginning of the end of (normal) life as we knew it. Zippa taught us a lot. She taught us the need for adequate fencing and how to yell at her when she ran the other way. Zippa needed to use her energy constructively so, 12 months later she had a go at sledding. Needless to say she loved it and it was all downhill (oops ... I mean, good times) from then on. In suburban Sydney you're limited to two dogs per household - several years after Zippa and two more dogs later we'd passed our limit. If we had any more dogs, we would not be able to manage them properly. A decision had to be made: we either stayed with three dogs and lived in suburbia or we buy a property and continue collecting dogs. We chose the country option and now have eight dogs.

We now enjoy a semi-rural lifestyle, it certainly makes management easier, although all we do is work, sleep and care for our dogs (and our sheep and alpacas). We love it and the animals love it, too. We've got a pretty good routine now and share the dog's chores equally, although Rob would disagree. The dogs have huge kennels and a house (shed) of their own, complete with lounges and TV. What more could they want? When we do venture away from our house on a weekend (which is rare) it's generally just to pop out to fencing supply shops, hardware stores and produce stores to get one thing or another for the farm and/or the dogs. Summer is full of maintaining our house and the property. While winter is spent doing little else but training and racing the dogs (not much different from most other sled dog owners).

Rob and I are always saying, "Now this must be the last thing we will need to buy for sledding". But funnily enough, we keep saying it!! Is there ever an end? I think I am coming to terms with this sport/hobby/obsession being a constant sapping of money and energy. But we would not have it any other way (or would we?).Would I recommend it? Only if people were prepared to live a life of Polar Fleece, with a nil bank balance, loads of anxiety, wet noses and unconditional love. Yes. I think I would.