Athletes of the cold

Ozaukee Press staff
Patrice Herzfeld of Grafton was looking for more than a slobbering, tail-wagging family pet.
The Milwaukee native grew up with a multitude of big, active dogs and after her six children were grown wanted another canine for more than just a companion.
“I wanted something big, active and happy,” Herzfeld said.
She found it in Alaskan malamutes.
Activities and competitions with her malamutes Mira and Calvin have taken Herzfeld on hiking trips and to competitions in Kansas, Florida and other places across the country.
Mira is 56 pounds and has won three national weight pull competitions.
Mira and Calvin have reached American Kennel Club Grand Champion status multiple times over in showmanship and obedience.
The furry creatures recently returned from 125 miles of hiking with backpacks. Eighty-pound Calvin — he looks bigger but it’s mostly fur, Herzfeld said — carried 25 pounds of gear while Mira carried 18 pounds.
The dogs traveled 12 to 15 miles per day.
“It took me six months to condition them,” Herzfeld said. “We treat them like athletes.”
The two dogs also pull a sled with Herzfeld on the back.
To practice when they were puppies, Mira and Calvin would pull a tire down the sidewalk after it snowed, drawing reactions from some neighbors.
“Can you go around again, Patrice?” they asked in hopes of avoiding having to shovel.

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