Friday, November 5, 2010

Bored to death

As some of you know from my messages on Facebook, we were hit by a bad weather spell.
Now, what´s a bad weather for musher, you ask? Because mushers and their dogs must be used to all kinds of weather, right?!

Bad weather, in terms of dog mushing, or at least in my standards, is a weather when it´s impossible to run dogs, because it would be too dangerous to run them.

This past few days, we´ve been trapped in a circle of freeze-snow-rain-melt-freeze, resulting in nothing but pure ice on the main road that connects us to the forrest trails, which got into even worse shape.

We opted for being patient, taking it easy, and using the time for some of the dogs to gain weight, while we could prepare the garden and yard for the winter (yeah, we finally disassembled the green house and pulled away the water hose!).

Risking injuries (such as pulled muscles) is the least of worries with icey trails. The risk of not being able to stop the team or to actually leave the atv in order to walk to the dogs, if a tangle or any other problem occurs, is simply unacceptable for us. We have to drive along the main road for a while, meeting timber trucks and other trafic, so the passage has to be as safe as possible.

But now it´s time to hit the road again. Although it will still require more cautiousness, such as taking out smaller teams and having a second person acompany us on the run, we will now proceed with our training.

And here I come to the funny part, about the dogs and their behaviour.

After just a few days of rest, I think the dogs are more than ready to hit the trails again. Their behaviour is getting quite rediculous.

Comet eats her morning soup only when the cheaky magpies start picking meat out of it. Then her natural dog-jeleousy prevails, and she disgustedly chases them away from her dish, mounted to her dog house, and starts drinking slowly, throwing a dirty look all directions.

Magneto is known for his destructive behavior, whenever he´s not at least a tad tired (or we like to say "content") after a training run. So basically three days of working and a day off will prevent him from distroying his house, which already doesn´t have the entrance boards, used for preventing snow to get blown in, his name plate, which he ate (we never found anything left of it) within hours since we mounted it on, and the roof overlaps. His dog house corners are kind of roundish and the only thing that mysteriously remains is his dish and the holder it sits in. I guess he figured out that he actually might be needing that.

So imagine the behaviour of this guy now, that he had a several day break!

He already started a new project of slowly taking apart the wooden platform infront of his house. First he started with rounding up the corners, but now it starts to look more serious. I better run this guy tired today!

As I am writing, I look out the window of my office and watch an incredible symbiosis between the dogs and the birds.

HuggyBear laying down on the roof of his house, overlooking the dog yard and forrest in the position of a sphing. Beside him, on the edge of the roof sits a tiny little sparrow. HuggyBear just turns his head at the little creature slowly, then puts his nose on top of his back, watching Comet struggling to finish her soup, still giving her surroundings a dirty look.

The sparrow joins his buddies in the air as they fly to find some seeds.

HuggyBear sits up and starts to play with his own tail. First he grabs it with one front foot, then the other one. Then he takes a bite and pulls it hard with his teeth. Soon he´s in the dog-chase-tail game. Poor guy. He needs excercise badly!

Obviously, running loose in the yard is not enough for these guys at this point of training. They need to run down the trail and pull up those hills, spending two, three hours like this, daily.

There´s nothing more sad than sled dogs not being able to run and pull.

We´re hitting the trails tonight, get your furry butts ready!

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