“You ready?” Mary me asked with a gleam in her eye, knowing full well that her fur children certainly were. They were yelping, jumping, howling, and pulling their ropes tight, eager for the brake to be released so they were free to run. It had to be their favorite time of the day.
I was as excited as they were, I knew I was in for a fun time. I had only been on a dog sled once before back in Canada, but never with full control of my own team. This time I was on my own.
“The colder the better.” John, the owner of Wolfsong Adventures in Mushing, had explained earlier in our training. “if it’s too hot, just think of it as your car overheating, it’s not good to run them that hard.” We laid out the food for the dogs and received careful instruction on how to handle the sled and our team.
He made sure to tell us something personal about each pup and the story of how they arrived at Wolfsong. The dogs all sat quietly, waiting patiently to be introduced and then be indulged in a barrage of attention and love. “You need to make sure they know you are confident and in control. Otherwise they won’t trust you.”
Wolfsong is a company that takes great pride in their dogs and their business. From the well manicured grounds that were kept extremely clean, to an enormous playpen where the dogs sleep at night and have lots of room to run around, you could tell the owners loved every single one of the pups.
And really, look at those faces! What’s not to love?
They’ve even adopted a theme-based naming system and some of the following names I thought were very clever:
The Egg Litter – Benny, Mickey (short for McMuffin), and Diablo (deviled)
The Dr. Seuss Litter – Cindy Lou, Horton, and Green Eggs
The Tea litter – Ice and Earl Grey
The Steak litter – T-Bone, Porter, and Minnie (short for Filet Mignon)
Diablo and Horton led my sled, followed by Benny and Mickey.
My brake was released and my dogsled adventure was off to a flying start.
We winded around corners, dipped through valleys and ran around frozen lakes. The dogs were in their element, and I was just along for the very joyful ride.
When we stopped to rest I made sure to give praise to each one of them. The dogs rolled around in the snow and continued pulling at the reigns, they just wanted to go again. Even after just a couple of hours I felt connected to my team. I jumped back on the sled and we took off, but only because this time it was the dogs telling me: “Let’s Go”.
There’s something so magical about Husky dogs. Their eyes, their beautiful coats, the strength they have to run and pull the sleds, and their pure ecstatic joy in doing so. Dalene grew up with two of them as pets, and she has many stories of them pulling her around town on a toboggan. I was a city boy, I only saw major dog sled races on the TV. This was an unforgettable afternoon.
If you have never experienced sledding with a team of Huskies, then you will really enjoy this video. It is unbelievable how excited they get to start running!
**Special thanks to Diablo, Horton, Benny, Mickey, and all the great staff of Wolfsong Adventures in Mushing in Bayfield, Wisconsin for hosting my dog sledding experience.