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Dogs Of Snow

By dakini in Culture
Thu Nov 16, 2006 at 12:00:00 PM EST
Tags: dogs, pets, running (all tags)

While growing up, most kids want ponies, I wanted a St. Bernard. My little friend had a St. Bernard and her dad had trained the dog to pull a little wagon. In the summertime we spent hours riding in the wagon as her dad led the big dog around the neighbourhood. Wintertime he would hook the dog up to a sled for our rides. The dog loved his job and was a great companion to us all. He had even made a tiny saddle for the dog and small children would have rides. The dog didn't seem to mind one bit.

Little Dogs

Of course I never did get a St. Bernard. Instead I was given a cocker spaniel that couldn't pull anything except his food dish, but he was friendly and very lovable. My love for dogs grew at this time.

That cocker spaniel stayed with us for about three years then one day he disappeared off the face of the earth. To this day, we figure someone stole him and took him out of town as he was never seen again.

We had another little dog, a terrier type mutt that we had for about thirteen years. I had moved out of home for a few years before the dog succumbed to old age. Mom never wanted another dog again as this one was her best friend and she said he could not be replaced. She ended up getting a parakeet for company.

Kings of the Snow

A couple of my friends raised Siberian Huskies. They were beautiful dogs and very playful and friendly. They had two teams of their own that they ran in competitions around the province. Their dogs became well known as they won quite a few of these races. Mushers were always on the lookout for good dogs and were always calling to see when they would have pups ready to buy. It was a lucrative business.

At one time they had hoped to enter the Iditarod. This is a race in Alaska of around 1200 miles in which mushers come from all over the world to race their dogs. The terrain is wild and frozen. This was not meant to be however, as they had family obligations and they could not be away from home long enough to get involved with it.

Although they didn't run in the Iditarod, they knew some of their dogs did. They were often sent pictures of their dogs out on the trail. It was nice to see. They did enter shorter trail races in our home province and won many a race.

One such race they entered was in our north country. They didn't win, but they caught a glimpse of the beautful night sky. This sky boasts a dazzling display of twinkling stars against an inky black sky. Clear moonless nights, are decorated by the cosmos and many constellations, each with its own lore. It's not until the aurora borealis makes an appearance does the show really begin. The entire night sky dances and shimmers in reds, greens and whites, seemingly dancing just for you. It is a sight to behold.

My friends used to go away on the long weekends and I would go and look after the dogs for them. There were usually about twelve to fifteen adults and eight to ten pups. It was fun trying to feed the adults. Taking in a bucket of feed at a time for each dog was quite a feat. Each dog had their own food dish and would not eat out of just anyones dish. Try as I may, I usually gave the wrong dish to someone and I would get looked at as if I committed a crime.

These dogs all had their own names and were named these names for a reason. One I particularly remember was a pure white dog with piercing blue eyes. His name was Eagle. He was named this as he could be sitting completely still then make a bounding leap over the top of the eight foot fence. He was quite the dog. When he got out, he would run and run returning only when he was ready to come back.

Siberian Huskies were runners. They were working dogs who enjoyed their work. Training of the pups started when the pups were about seven weeks old. I was also lucky to be involved with this and learned a lot about sledding.

My first set of puppies that I had to hook up had me so twisted up in the tethers, harnesses and such, I thought I would have to call Houdini to untie me. I was so tied up that the puppies were having a ball jumping all over me and licking my face. My friend finally unwound me from it all after laughing for about a half hour. He then showed me the easy way to get the harness on.

Each dog had a harness, puppies had smaller ones of course. They would be hooked up to a small 2x4 in a gangline hitch. They would be lead around the yard until they got used to this equipment. Even at this young age these dogs wanted to run. It was natural for them as this is what they were bred for.

Other equipment that is important and needed are of course the sled, sled bags, snow hooks and booties. Training in the summer a small cart is used to run on the grass and ground. This is good even for trained dogs to keep up the exercise and running.

Various commands are used for sled dogs. Whoa = stop; easy = slow down; gee = right turn; haw = left turn; hike = get moving (mush is not often used); on by = pass another team or other distraction; kissing sound = faster, speed up. These terms are burned into the dogs memories.

Puppies are Smart

As I was taking the pups for their first run, the weather had turned on me. I had told my friends that I could do it and decided to take them to my house and run them home. It was a distance of about five miles.

The wind started to howl and the snow started to blow. It seemed a blizzard was imminent. "Damn," I thought to myself, "I wish this weather would have held off for another half hour." My gloved hands already felt like ice while holding onto the cold steel of the sled and I was sure my face was already frozen. I knew I should have been better prepared for this run. I really hadn't planned on being going out this far. It was the pup's inaugural run and they were doing so well that time was not closely monitored. Right now all I wanted was to be in the warmth of my house.

I thought if I could get them to stop, I could crawl in the sled bag and at least keep out of the wind. That was not to be. The dogs kept running and running, paying no attention to my commands. I was freezing and getting colder. My breath seemed to stop in mid air and fall to the ground like an icicle.

I decided to let them run. Maybe they would just run home. And run home is just what they did. My friends came running out the door when they saw us. They took the dogs to the kennels and me into the house. It was toasty and warm at last.

Once I warmed up I told them how the dogs performed on their run. They did real well and obeyed all the commands up until the last one where I wanted them to stop. We talked about that and decided the dogs knew we shouldn't stop as I would have surely frozen to death. I was very glad that the pups made that decision.

Following this experience, I did take more dogs out on runs but kept close watch on the weather, time and how far I was from home. I did not want this to happen again.

My Best Friend

About fourteen years ago, there was a litter born. It was to be the last litter my friends would be having as they were getting out of the business and selling all the dogs. It broke my heart to see all my "dog friends" slowly being sold off. I decided I would get a puppy of my own and picked the runt. He had a skin disease when born and was shaved completely bald. I was willing to pay as that is what they did, sell the pups. I was told I could just have him as they were unsure if he would live very long at all.

This dog had one brown eye and the other eye was half brown and half blue. His fur was coming in now and he was a piebald, being white with black markings. He was the clown of the litter and liked to play. I took him home when he was six weeks old.

I also inherited a small sled with harness and booties. Now I could train my dog to run on his own. I started him off pulling the 2x4 and he loved it. Oh and I called him Bob. I didn't know what to call him and at the time the movie "What About BoB" was on television and I just knew it would fit him.

Bob continued his running each winter. I would take him out to the fields and away we would go. These dogs heated up in the heat of the day, so it was better for them if it was cold out.

Bob frequently got loose from his fenced in yard and went on his own runs. I found him once racing a truck down the highway. He was in his glory. Another time he was chasing deer in the hills.

The last couple of years of his life he had slowed down a lot. No longer running to be free. He had developed arthritis and his running days were now over. He was still the same clown he always was. He seemed to smile though out his pain and he always made sure everything was okay with me. He was my best friend and is now free to run the big back yard of the universe.


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Dogs Of Snow | 60 comments (39 topical, 21 editorial, 0 hidden)
Question about running free (3.00 / 2) (#1)
by rlazur on Thu Nov 16, 2006 at 03:22:26 PM EST

Several years ago I was told by some husky breeder and trainers to never let a husky run off a harness/leash as it would develop an independence streak ruining it for sled work.  Your story makes this seem like a myth and I'm curious if this is true.

yes, this is true..altho my own dog ran free as (3.00 / 2) (#3)
by dakini on Thu Nov 16, 2006 at 03:27:13 PM EST

he was not going to be a part of any major sled team..the other dogs of my friends were never left on their own to run..they always had a tether on when we took them out for exercise..

" May your vision be clear, your heart strong, and may you always follow your dreams."
[ Parent ]
We have two beagles (3.00 / 2) (#2)
by MichaelCrawford on Thu Nov 16, 2006 at 03:23:02 PM EST

Jacob, a boy, and Twiggy, a girl. They are both heartachingly cute.

We adopted them from shelters when they each were about one year old. They had no training whatsoever and didn't know anything.

Beagles are bred to hunt, so we can't ever let them off the leash: if they catch a scent, they'll be gone chasing it. Jacob especially likes to run as fast as his little legs will take him, and doesn't seem to know to come back.


Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy

yeah beagles are hunters for sure..they (none / 1) (#6)
by dakini on Thu Nov 16, 2006 at 03:28:17 PM EST

also are nice dogs..:)

" May your vision be clear, your heart strong, and may you always follow your dreams."
[ Parent ]
+1, but section? (3.00 / 2) (#4)
by CodeWright on Thu Nov 16, 2006 at 03:27:56 PM EST

good story, sad to hear about your lost friend, but it sounds as though he was a good companion.

A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

yes, he was my best friend..:o) (none / 0) (#12)
by dakini on Thu Nov 16, 2006 at 03:38:15 PM EST

" May your vision be clear, your heart strong, and may you always follow your dreams."
[ Parent ]
argh. (none / 0) (#14)
by CodeWright on Thu Nov 16, 2006 at 05:23:58 PM EST

i just read it again and it brought a tear to my eye.

"on by Bob!"

A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

[ Parent ]
This is written like shit (1.12 / 8) (#19)
by debacle on Thu Nov 16, 2006 at 09:41:10 PM EST

Goddamn, women shouldn't be allowed to use the internet.

It tastes sweet.
I enjoyed this (none / 1) (#20)
by jangledjitters on Thu Nov 16, 2006 at 09:55:14 PM EST

and they are my favorite breed. Unbelievable dogs....

yes, they sure are...and thanks..:) (none / 0) (#21)
by dakini on Thu Nov 16, 2006 at 09:59:25 PM EST

" May your vision be clear, your heart strong, and may you always follow your dreams."
[ Parent ]
I can honestly say that I've never wanted (none / 0) (#23)
by Western Lands on Fri Nov 17, 2006 at 09:32:33 AM EST

a pony cause they are totally gay and like my daughter LOVES those things, so I would never admit to that.


I decided to post here when I read "This place is for people that like to think" - DjRedo

good article +1 FP /nt (none / 1) (#24)
by mybostinks on Fri Nov 17, 2006 at 09:56:56 AM EST

thanks! (none / 0) (#25)
by dakini on Fri Nov 17, 2006 at 10:24:11 AM EST

" May your vision be clear, your heart strong, and may you always follow your dreams."
[ Parent ]
lol cocker /nt (3.00 / 2) (#26)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Fri Nov 17, 2006 at 01:08:26 PM EST

motormouthmachinery has a CRITICAL MASS OF SHIT for brains
- army of phred

hehehee yeah, cocker..:) (none / 0) (#30)
by dakini on Fri Nov 17, 2006 at 05:06:25 PM EST

" May your vision be clear, your heart strong, and may you always follow your dreams."
[ Parent ]
Girl tied up in the snow... (3.00 / 4) (#27)
by LilDebbie on Fri Nov 17, 2006 at 03:24:28 PM EST

...by puppies? My penis doesn't know what to make of that.

Anyway, excellent material, +1FP.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

LoL..too damn funny..and Thanks..:) (none / 0) (#28)
by dakini on Fri Nov 17, 2006 at 03:29:03 PM EST

" May your vision be clear, your heart strong, and may you always follow your dreams."
[ Parent ]
I can't vote on this one yet...I have to see (2.00 / 2) (#29)
by jangledjitters on Fri Nov 17, 2006 at 03:59:22 PM EST

how the ALMIGHTY GOD kitten votes first.

Any predictions? Placing bets anyone??


Cats Rule! (none / 0) (#52)
by BobCat on Mon Nov 20, 2006 at 04:44:02 AM EST

Dogs drool!

Top 10 Ways to Amuse a Geek

[ Parent ]
Dogs (3.00 / 3) (#31)
by ljazbec on Fri Nov 17, 2006 at 06:13:37 PM EST

I was never very fond of dogs until recently. When I was a kid, about three, and later, about six, a German Shepherd jumped at me and knocked me to the floor. It was in a playful manner, and s/he proceeded to lick my face, but it was still a shock and I've been rather wary around dogs afterwards. This was only with larger dogs as I always felt they posed some sort of a threat (the smaller dogs, I figured, I could simply kick away if they did anything hostile). Yeah, silly, I know.

Since nobody in my family had a dog, I therefore never really had a chance to be around them much. A bit less than a year ago, two of my neighbours who are also good friends of mine both got dogs. Since they were puppies they were hardly scary and so I got more used to them. It may have also helped that one of the dogs was a Pug that my friend had named Mao.

I'm still wary around larger dogs belonging to strangers, but less so; I used to be very afraid around them, now it is no longer so. I'm actually thinking of getting a dog myself, to tell the truth.

Though one thing I never liked about dogs, and still don't, is the drooling and the licking. It's okay with small dogs since they drool little but when it gets more than that... I can't stand it. Do huskies drool a lot?

Your article was enjoyable read. There should be more articles like this coming more frequently...

actually no, huskies dont hardly drool (none / 1) (#32)
by dakini on Fri Nov 17, 2006 at 06:20:09 PM EST

at all..they might after a run when they are hot, but as a rule they are not droolers..good luck with getting a dog, they can be a lifelong companion and your best friend..:)

" May your vision be clear, your heart strong, and may you always follow your dreams."
[ Parent ]
we had a newfoundland growing up (3.00 / 3) (#33)
by circletimessquare on Fri Nov 17, 2006 at 06:51:23 PM EST

and we went to newfoundland with it

no joke

ever been stuck in the back of a van somewhere in nova scotia with an animal that drools and then shakes its head sending flying nunchucks of saliva everywhere?

yeah, i know

i have no pets, and never will

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

they are beautiful dogs tho..but they do have (none / 1) (#34)
by dakini on Fri Nov 17, 2006 at 07:08:48 PM EST

a lot of drool and know how to pass it around..lol..:)

" May your vision be clear, your heart strong, and may you always follow your dreams."
[ Parent ]
i ate dog in the philippines (none / 1) (#35)
by circletimessquare on Fri Nov 17, 2006 at 07:25:49 PM EST

not bad, you should try it some time

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
ummm no, but i do know that dog is a fav (none / 1) (#36)
by dakini on Fri Nov 17, 2006 at 07:28:01 PM EST

meat in some parts of the world..i dont think i will visit any of those places tho..i remember when horse meat was popular years ago, and i didnt want to have anything to do with eating roy rogers horse trigger..lol..

" May your vision be clear, your heart strong, and may you always follow your dreams."
[ Parent ]
try whale when you're in japan too nt (none / 1) (#37)
by circletimessquare on Fri Nov 17, 2006 at 07:39:10 PM EST

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
i have heard thats not bad..lol..but..i think i (none / 1) (#38)
by dakini on Fri Nov 17, 2006 at 07:42:34 PM EST

will stick with meat i know..lol..

" May your vision be clear, your heart strong, and may you always follow your dreams."
[ Parent ]
lol whale meat tastes kind of irony lol [nt] (none / 0) (#56)
by BJH on Thu Nov 23, 2006 at 08:22:13 AM EST

Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
-- Oscar Levant

[ Parent ]
Who let the dogs out?! (2.50 / 2) (#40)
by weedaddict on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 04:17:08 AM EST

What? The Baha men aren't cool?

Reality has a certain cynical bias - Cattle Rustler
The single biggest thing... (3.00 / 3) (#48)
by skyknight on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 09:51:13 AM EST

that I dislike about living in an apartment in the city is that I can't have a dog. I've been around dogs my whole life and feel painfully incomplete without one. I am frequently reminded of this gaping hole in my existence when I drive to my parents' house and frolic with their four dogs.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
yes, i can imagine..i have always been lucky (none / 0) (#49)
by dakini on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 12:11:59 PM EST

as i have always lived in a place i could have pets..i cant remember ever being without a dog..most  that i have had, i spent many years with..they get to be your family especially when you are on your own..

" May your vision be clear, your heart strong, and may you always follow your dreams."
[ Parent ]
I want a dog too. (none / 1) (#51)
by Psychopath on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 06:11:16 PM EST

Not a husky though, but more something like a flat coated retriever.
Though I'd be more than satisfied with a donkey or a llama as well. But living in a town owning a llama or a donkey is even harder than owning a dog. What a pity!
The only antidote to mental suffering is physical pain. -- Karl Marx
FACT: Creating dogs (3.00 / 4) (#53)
by A Bore on Mon Nov 20, 2006 at 06:33:11 AM EST

is the only good thing the human race has done for 100,000 years.

dakini, your dog talk is all flapdoodle girly (1.00 / 3) (#54)
by k24anson on Mon Nov 20, 2006 at 07:19:23 PM EST

cackle. Stay down at a third grade level of words when you write or speak. You do not have an understanding for the word racist to then be using the word properly in conversation or otherwise.

For a learning experience, for your own edifying work in progress experience, if you would be so kind as to attempt a definition of the word racist for me ..., in your own weak words.

Your writing is mediocre. Your use of words is pedantic, mechanical, contrived. Someone could read your writing and then forget everything said an hour later. Think spice, zest. Did the dog have an odor when you wanted to pet it's dumb head? Try writing your words down in the manner of a conversation, as if you're actually talking to the person. Try writing as if storytelling, for awhile, for practice, see if you like it. It might be too difficult for you though, frustration may set in you know? You can always go back to the old mediocre way though, if worse comes to worse. I mean, no worse for wear and tear for trying anyway, right?

Stay focused. Go slow. Keep it simple.

at least my story got to section, yours went to (none / 0) (#55)
by dakini on Mon Nov 20, 2006 at 09:44:50 PM EST


" May your vision be clear, your heart strong, and may you always follow your dreams."
[ Parent ]
One week later and ... (1.20 / 5) (#57)
by k24anson on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 09:51:30 AM EST

I reread dakini's Dogs Of Snow. My conscience has been bothering me for the fact I proffered ( splashed ...!) still more of my caustic, sardonic wit to another, rather than words of wisdom and edification. Maybe with the following thoughts I can tip the seesaw so my feet are on the ground and dakini is way up there, in the air, unable to come down even if she wants to.

Reading your tome again and I remain feeling as if I were a member of an audience to a speech. Everyone is sitting there listening to you speaking a speech, ... and that is all I or anyone in the audience does is simply sit there and listen to you tell them things.

dakini, imagine instead if you were to set up the stage of your discourse where you are to be talking to some young people, relatives of yours perhaps, around the fireplace for an hour or two, and of course you want to impress their gullible, influential and easily impressionable little minds. You want to bring your story thoughts to have them laugh at times, perhaps to have them wonder in anticipation, and Aunt dakini is always known for injecting some moral of the story into her campfire type stories to the little tykes, the young adults around you.

When you write imagine you're in two-way, reciprocating conversation with an intimate friend, not to some impersonal members of a large audience inside an auditorium. Set the flow of your words to this stage of characters in mind and your conversation can imagine more to embellish any particular paragraph of digression you happen to be on.

I imagine you sitting in front of the computer screen as you type, and your mind does not have a vivid picture of the better type of audience which would enable you to employ the full force or your literary skills. Mary Shelley set up an unique, a quite interesting stage tone to present her ideas, her words of thought in her tome Frankenstein, and impressing the likes of that great man of words President Lincoln to invite her to the White House. dakini also must set up some kind of a stage tone to project her thoughts and words into.

... and the pedestrian walked up to the couple strolling along on Fifth Avenue in New York City and asked, "Excuse me, could you people possibly tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?"

"Practice, practice, practice," came the response.

Like the practicing doctor always learning new life-saving techniques, like the practicing lawyer/politician always conniving/dreaming to stuff their pockets with wads of more money without going to jail in the process, dakini must write and write and write to become better. Your own unique style is polished, and only becomes recognized in time by practice, practice practice. Some days good tomes, some days bad (horrible!!) tomes, but overall, in time, discovering and then developing the better literary techniques to express whatever happens to be on your mind at the time, if this is what you want.

Wow, was that the bell already? ending forty minutes of class time? My, how time flies ...

Stay focused. Go slow. Keep it simple.
[ Parent ]

Third paragraph, first sentence should have ended (1.20 / 5) (#58)
by k24anson on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 11:39:28 AM EST

worded with ..., and of course you want to to impress their gullible, influential and easily manipulated, fragile egg-shell minds.

On second thought ...? too much embellishment only obfuscates; too many big words is distracting from the intended thoughts being conveyed so, dakini, forget the manipulated, fragile egg-shell mind inclusion.

Stay focused. Go slow. Keep it simple.
[ Parent ]

good advice, thanks :) (none / 0) (#59)
by dakini on Thu Nov 30, 2006 at 12:31:49 PM EST

" May your vision be clear, your heart strong, and may you always follow your dreams."
[ Parent ]
OH MY GOD I LOVE DOGS (none / 0) (#60)
by Water on Sun Dec 03, 2006 at 01:58:34 PM EST


Dogs Of Snow | 60 comments (39 topical, 21 editorial, 0 hidden)
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