Thursday, May 20, 2010

Gone to the Dogs

by Zinta Aistars

on Southwest Michigan's Second Wave (story and video)

Dog mushing: It's not just a winter pastime

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Hike!" With a sharp command, Mary Vowell streaks by with dogs panting. At a bend in the trail she and the dogs are gone deep into woods. Depending upon the season, a spray of snow or pebbles, kicks up behind them.

By day, Vowell tweaks web pages, designs newsletters, takes orders by phone, and consults with gardeners as she maintains a network of mail-order customer service at Oikos Tree Crops, just outside of Kalamazoo.

Oikos is the Greek word for "home." Ken Asmus founded the arboretum bearing that name in 1985 to preserve wild selections of plants from all over the world. Vowell's boss develops and grows strains of plants, edible food crops and trees that enhance wildlife habitat and are resilient to environmental changes.

"It is rather like home to me," Vowell says of her day job. "I enjoy the type of people drawn to natural and organic ways of life. I enjoy anything that gives me the chance to bond with nature."

Vowell is nowhere more at home, however, than when she is behind her dogs on a sled or a wheeled rig. By night and by weekend, at every spare moment, she leaves the office to transform into a dog musher.

Mary caught mush fever in .... READ THE FULL ARTICLE and view the video and photos by Erik Holladay.

Gone to the Dogs

BY: Jordan Hochstetler of Joho Productions

Photo: Mary Vowell mushing with her girls: Willow, Nabu, Hannah, Moose Tracks.

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