A Girl and Her Dogs
by Deana Deck
Sometimes she’s racing a team of sled dogs. Most days she’s racing through an unbelievable daily schedule that includes spending hours on training runs, poop scooping, feeding and training 55 sled dogs and nurturing a four-year-old daughter, Jona. (Just getting Jona in to preschool once a week requires an 80-mile one-way trip.) Zoya and her husband — business partner and fellow musher John Schandelmeier — also operate a sled dog rehab center, host tours of their Crazy Dog Kennel, offer sled dog rides, racing clinics, summertime wilderness camping trips and manage the kennel’s sponsors, finances and donors.
“I’m running a marathon,” she laughs. “But this is what I do. Maybe a few years from now I can slow down. I daydream of slipping into a hot tub with a lot of candles around!”
The dream may have to stay on hold a while longer. This will be the Iditarod veteran’s second attempt at the UP 200 – an event her husband aced in 1995. She was registered for the 2006 race but truck problems intervened.