| About Zoya DeNure | About John Schandelmeier |

"In wildness is the preservation of the world.....life consists of wildness.
The most alive is the wildest.
In short, all good things are wild and free."
- Henry David Thoreau –

Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Zoya came to Alaska in 2002 with “big girl dreams” bound and determined to get her education about sled dogs and the Iditarod race.

Intrigued by sled dogs, the outdoor lifestyle and Iditarod, Zoya packed up and headed north on her mission; hoping to make her mark as a top contender in competitive racing. “Imagine walking into your office every morning and having 40 some friends there to meet and greet you with a big smile” that is what it’s like in our kennel.”



An International fashion runway model & record label representative; for 13 years, Zoya lived and traveled world-wide as a professional model; confident, compassionate and hardworking are just a few words to describe this young lady who strives to make a difference in the world around her.

Zoya’s future plans & goals?
"I’m racing to make a difference in the sport, improved dog care on the trail and in the yard, positive race training that works for every sled dog, young or old. I’d like to get more families and kids involved in our sled dog rescue efforts and interactive programs year-round. Celebrating women on the sled runners, healthy lifestyle and strong minds-- we are awesome, capable and looking forward to setting some new records!

photo by Jlona Richey

“We are blessed with a terrific Kennel of happy and healthy dogs. There’s no shortage of time and attention for each canine athlete. We are spoiled with perfect view of the Alaska Range; Paxson Lake is a little slice of heaven.

Zoya, along with her kennel partner & best friend, John Schandelmeier, have been working hard with shelter dogs in rescue and rehabilitation. Crazy Dog Kennels outfits 45 sled dogs, 25 of these dogs are rescued and running! "We’re retraining these 'discarded' dogs and running them in the main team or placing them with the appropriate musher." “We’re excited to say we’re making a difference, one dog at a time.”

"Going to the woods is going home"- John Muir

Read about our adventures featured in back issues of Mushing Magazine issue #105 July August 2005 , and issue #106 September/October 2005 . You can purchase back issues online at Mushing Magazine's web site www.mushing.com

Mushing Magazine /photos by Heath Sandall

I was born and raised on a homestead near Anchorage, Alaska. Moved to the Paxson area in 1970 and have been here since. Originally I was a full-time trapper here, now it is a sideline. I commercial fish in Bristol Bay and Prince William Sound.

I am the president of the local Fish and Game advisory committee and a member of the Second Chance League of Fairbanks. The Second Chance League is an organization devoted to evaluating and training unwanted sled dogs from the Fairbanks Animal Shelter.

My personal goal is to raise awareness, within the sport, of the ability of these cast-off dogs.

Some of John's Yukon Quest Awards

• 1996 Yukon Quest Champion - 12 days, 16 hours, 6 minutes

• 1997 Yukon Quest Sportsmanship Award - Presented to the musher exhibiting the best sportsmanship along the trail. The selection is made by fellow mushers.

• 1994 & 1996 Yukon Quest Veterinarians's Choice Award
Presented to the musher who demonstrates the most humane treatment and overall care for his or her dogs throughout the race, in the best spirit of the Quest. This aware is a legacy for aspiring mushers to emulate in the humane treatment and care of their team. Voted on by the race veterinarians.

• 1992 & 1996 Yukon Quest Golden Harness Award Presented to the winner's lead dog.

A second chance for Schandelmeier's team
This article orginally appeared in the Fairbanks Daily News Miner, Wed. February 16, 2005 - Click Here

Zoya & John


Merrill Family, Delta Junction, AK
for Ruby
Christina Hamlin, Wasilla, AK
for Fender & Chili Pepper
Korin Galarneau, Anchorage, AK
for Bobbie J
David McCarville, MN
for Mudflap
Shelagh Geller, Amsterdam
for Sparkplug
Frederick Huntsberry, Hollywood, CA
is a TEAM DOG SPONSOR for Djembe


Crazy Dog Kennel
HC-02 Box 7193 Gakona, AK 99586

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Crazy Dog Kennel - Gakona, Alaska
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