Snyek Dal'nii Pevek, an absolutely outstanding lead dog, either when racing or just out for a day in the hills.
In the first photo after a rig training run, probably aged about 6, (so right in his prime) and in the other pic at 16 years old, not long before he died.
Always sober and serious and probably not quite as naturally perfect an athlete as he could have been ( I know the feeling
) and small (about 20kgs) he took his lead dog duties very seriously, especially under the pressure of competition. Although he usually only worked with four other dogs I have run him in front of a string of 12 and he was as impeccably reliable then as ever.
I credit him with allowing me what is certainly the proudest moment in any sport I have taken part in, which was winning the 1989 Llyn Brenig Trek. Here was I, coming from some little Island where no-one else even owned any sled dogs, let alone raced them, taking on experienced competitors from the UK in my first long distance event. He was only three years old and wasn't used to dealing with so many other dogs and people.
We were started at 4 minute intervals (so you couldn't be sure of your position until everyone had finished) and after four hours in the Clocaenog Forest with (map reading and navigation needed) I won by about one and a half minutes. I came home with the trophy for the Overall win, one for the best team of four dogs or less (I had 4) and an award given for the team that were the best controlled at checkpoints and feeding stations, seemed the happiest and went about their business the most efficiently. Pulling out of checkpoints some drivers will make a lot of noise to encourage their dogs - all I ever did was let go the brake and say " Let's go Pevek"...
Sort of the overall impression they made I guess...mostly all due to a consciencious lead dog who, solely through his strength of character, made it clear to the others that this was serious work and no time for tomfoolery.
I miss him to this day and I never forget that occasion when so much depended on him and that he was able to turn it all on under so much pressure.
I told him at the finish that if that was the only thing he ever did right in his life then it was enough for me. It wasn't the only thing however