Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Reliving my Sled Dog Passion
Today I gave a mushing talk/demonstration for a group of about 100. I had been asked by a friend about 1 1/2 weeks ago to do this for a homeschooling group. Honestly, I didn't want to do it at first, just because of the "detail factor"--what to do with the boys (not to mention it was at lunch and through naptime!), how to manage a dog pulling me across glaze ice into the van, carrying in all the gear, etc. I voiced my apprehension to my friend, and she arranged for her husband (thank you, Derek!) to sit with and handle the boys the entire time so I could concentrate on the presentation. (By the way, they were SO well behaved; I really am proud of them for sitting so quietly for 2 hours!) I am so glad I agreed to do this; it was fantastic to relive my passion for these dogs and this sport! I took along an entire set-up of ganglines, tuglines, necklines, and a snowhook. I also took along some dog booties, a skijoring rig, and of course--the star of the whole show--Willow! She was so nervous and excited when I loaded her into the van this morning--she was literally shaking. By the time we reached our destination and she had a few minutes to take it in, she splayed herself out in front of my feet, front legs crossed in true lady-like husky fashion. Basically, she owned the place. The presentation went great. I shared a little about myself and how my interest in huskies began, introduced Willow and discussed the history of her breed, and then demonstrated how to hook up lines. To do this, I had children volounteer to be a "sled" and "dogs." They got a real kick out of that, and it helped to engage them in the presentation. The best thing about today, is that it brought me back into this wonderful passion that brought us to Alaska in the first place. With a family including 3 young children, it has had to take a backseat in recent years. There is a time and season for everything, and traipsing across the tundra with dogs doesn't fit in real well with the season we're presently in! But, I sure loved getting a taste of it again today. And just in time--the Iditarod starts in 1 1/2 weeks.