LEADING BY EXAMPLE: Christine and Richard’s expedition with Joe “Malamute Man” Henderson

In a world of very competitive fund raising by various rescue organisations, Malamute Matters own Trustee Christine Meerman-Cooper, and Volunteer Richard Horsfield have stepped up in a big way to raise awareness and money for man’s best friend.

For those new to the world of Malamute Matters……

Malamute Matters started out on their fundraising endeavour by answering the plight of a rescue Malamute called Alfie; Alfie needed costly surgery to save his eyesight. The amount that was raised was double what was needed therefore MM proceeded to donate money to help two other sled dogs also in need of eye surgery, including a blind Husky.

In addition, Malamute Matters have helped numerous other special cases since they began fundraising, not  just restricted to UK based dogs, charities and rescues, but to help the plight of dogs in need around the world. The most recent case being that of Owen and Wilson, the two 6 month old husky puppies who were rescued by Texas Sled Dog Rescue after they had been found living in landfill. 

It goes without saying that this work would not be possible without the generosity of people who donate both money and items (for auction to raise money), and purchase goods in the Malamute Matters shop, from which 100% of profits made are donated to dogs in need. In the past 12 months Malamute Matters has  raised and donated an impressive GBP £28,000 !

Given this huge achievement, and all the dogs that have been helped as a result, the thought of 2 of our members going that step further was too much to take in. 

We at Malamute Matters are very excited…

This type of commitment has not been seen by us and we are very excited and proud that two members of our team are willing to be so generous with their time to help us help the doggies.  Many Arctic Breed lovers are familiar with Joe Henderson the “Malamute Man” himself.  and his many mainly solo expeditions into the Arctic wilderness with his team of dogs. Malamute Matters carries his merchandise and has also raised funds for Joe.

Joe and his Malamutes

Joe’s dogs on expedition

For the first time ever… Malamute Matters and Joe Henderson combine via an expedition into the Brooks Range Mountains in the 19 million acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

Between 07 to 17 April 2014 Richard will join the expedition, and from 19-30 April Christine will be joining the expedition taking it on as an extreme sponsored trek to raise much needed funds for Malamute Matters. This is not for the faint hearted; it’s an expedition of incredible discipline, courage and commitment.

Christine and Richard will make their way on foot (yes on foot) on snow shoes, or cross country skiing ahead of Joe’s formidable team of 22 Alaskan Malamutes who will haul the expedition gear and equipment on sleds. The expedition will travel through the most remote, rugged region in Alaska’s Arctic Brooks Range. This area has  never in modern recorded history been traversed by a dog team  Further, the expedition will not be resupplied for the entire multi-month expedition. The supplies, including one ton of dog food, will be hauled on two large freight sleds with 22 freight dogs hitched to the sleds.

“This will be the hardest challenge of my life, both physically and mentally, but I know I can do it if I just work hard enough! “Christine Meerman-Cooper

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Training with her trusted companions Lila and Rumo

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Christine with Lila and Rumo

Christine Meerman Cooper (one of the Trustees of Malamute Matters ) will be leaving her home on the East Coast of Scotland where she lives with her 2 cats, husband and 2 Malamutes (Lila and Rumo )  for a much harsher and remote part of the world.

Christine credits her dad, and Malamutes, Lila and Rumo as her inspiration to take on the expedition.  As a trustee of Malamute Matters the expedition provides a great way to draw attention to the plight of the breed and to raise much needed funds for both Malamute Matters and Friends of OSCAR  a charity set up to support the families of children diagnosed with brain and spinal tumours )

Taking part in an expedition like this requires not only great commitment but also a huge level of physical and mental fitness; it is by no means for the faint hearted. Both Richard and Christine have undertaken many months of training in preparation, particularly increasing strength and endurance. They will face extreme cold and hurricane force winds with -100F wind-chill and deep snow, along with only each other, Joe and the dogs for company.

Christine as part of her training has been following the structure of the Alaskan Malamute Working Association’s Working Pack Dog Scheme. Both her dogs Lila and Rumo have been awarded their Copper, Bronze and Silver Working Pack Dog Titles, no easy feat in itself; they are now aiming  for Gold! So not only is Christine getting fit and ready, both her Malamutes are also getting into the spirit of the event.

Dogs Dogs Dogs…

Rescue work is hard going and expensive so literally every penny helps and we are always looking at new fund raising ideas. “ Richard Horsefield 

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Richard with Khaos on the eve of his expedition

Meet Richard Horsefield : volunteer for Malamute Matters and Saints Sled Dog Rescue (SSDR) For Richard it all began with a dog of course, his Alaskan Malamute, Khaos. Richards splits his time between a full time job and volunteering for Saints Sled Dog Rescue and Malamute Matters

Richard credits his Alaskan Malamute “Khaos“ as the reason behind him wanting to do the expedition and raise much needed funds for Malamute Matters.. Because of Khaos he got to know of Joe Henderson and as he himself was a bit of an adventurist, together the 2 interests have led Richard to fly off in April. Like Christine, Richard has had to put himself into a lot of training in preparation for the expedition. This includes hiking 3-5 times per week for 10 km each time carrying a ruck sack weighing 25 kgs.

Further he includes cardio work in his training  in the shape of “ Muay Thai” which is a demanding form of Thai kick boxing that uses a combination of  fists, elbow, knees, shins and feet. And on top of that there are the twice a day gym visits too. The extreme cold of the trek (minus 50 F ) is also what both Richard and Christine will face on this expedition  Whilst Richard has been exposed to extreme cold before while doing snow skiing, trekking and dog mushing, he has however never done all 3 of these things at the same time, in the extreme cold temperatures.

What seems to me a huge daunting task that not many people would even think about attempting, our two brave volunteers will be doing just that..

EXPEDITION 1

Added to the training that goes into such an undertaking, there are also huge financial costs involved. If you would like to sponsor Christine and Richard expedition, you can do so by making a deposit into the Malamute Matters  PayPal account : malamutematterspayments@gmail.com (please mark payments ‘Christine and Richard’)

What cannot go without saying is the role that this particular breed of dogs (Alaskan Malamute) has played a key role in bringing together Christine, Richard and Joe Henderson. Those who are owned by a Malamute will simply nod their heads in acknowledging when I say that they are a very special and magnificent breed.

Sadly due to appearing (along with Siberian Huskies) in many popular films, their popularity has grown to extremes and sadly so have the dumping rates at shelters around the world. Malamute Matters began its commitment to fundraising because of a Malamute, and in a way this expedition has brought that initial heartfelt gesture to full circle.

There is no discounting  the simple fact that dogs (of any breed) will always serve to enrich our lives and bring greater meaning to our existence. The need to make a difference and also help those less fortunate than ourselves is somehow made ‘easier’ by having man’s best friend by your side, if it wasn’t for MM and its fundraising activities a lot of dogs would not make it to becoming a ‘man’s and woman’s  best friend’

Further we would like to give a great big Mally  thank you to the following businesses for stepping up and sponsoring Christine on her expedition.

http:/ www.e-lites.co.uk

https://www.howlingdogalaska.com

http://www.buffwear.co.uk

http://www.clanh.com

If you would like more information on Friends of Oscar charity here is the link http://www.friendsofoscar.org.uk

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2 thoughts on “LEADING BY EXAMPLE: Christine and Richard’s expedition with Joe “Malamute Man” Henderson

  1. Pingback: Meet the Team 14 | Malamute Matters

  2. Pingback: Arctic Expedition 2015 | Malamute Matters

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