A van with a California licence plate is not a common sight in Yellowknife.

But one showed up in town in March and it was because Jesika Reimer, who was born in the NWT capital, and Theresa O’ Gorman, her American friend, travelled to Yellowknife to compete in the Under Dog 100 sled dog race on the North Arm.

Jesika Reimer was born and raised in Yellowknife, but she now makes her home in northern California. Kaicheng Xin/NNSL photo

Reimer said they brought 12 dogs all the way to Yellowknife in the customized Sprinter van.

“We’ve been racing all winter, started from mid-January,” Reimer said, adding that O’Gorman helps with the dogs, such as bringing gear at every check point, cleaning up and completing numerous other behind-the-scenes tasks.

O’Gorman and Reimer became friends through a online ad Reimer placed looking for a dog handler, and O’Gorman loves working with dogs.

Asked if she was a veterinarian, O’Gorman joked that she is a professional dog walker and poop scooper, adding that she’s just fond of the animals.

The van was built specifically for carrying dogs while travelling across North America. Kaicheng Xin/ NNSL photo

Reimer said the van was built specifically for carrying dogs, but it also has a bed and table, so the pair can better enjoy the van life on the road.

The idea started four years ago in Alaska with six dogs, but with the difficulties of transporting dogs by plane, they decided to customize a van and a tow a trailer behind it to store other supplies.

Kaicheng Xin

Kaicheng Xin is a Multimedia Journalist with NNSL Media. You can reach him at kaicheng.xin@nnsl.com

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