Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Old Sled dogs never quit--they just keep pulling for you

I have heard some people say that huskies were born to pull. I don't know whether that is true for all huskies, but the ones I have known that were trained to the harness certainly bear that out.

We have some friends who skijor, and one summer we took care of their oldest dog, a gentle husky named Panda. Panda was about 12 or 13 years old--with grizzled muzzle, arthritic hips, and failing hearing and eyesight. She wobbled when she walked, looked tired most of the time and spent a lot of time just resting.

Once or twice a day we took her for a walk, and the moment we snapped the lead on to her harness her demeanor changed. A gleam would come to her tired old eyes and she started to pull. She always started a bit hesitantly, but the farther we walked the stronger she pulled. Soon those husky endorphins would kick in and Panda was loping along like a dog half her age. She was usually pooped when the walk was over, but you could tell that she was happy.

Panda is gone now but I still remember her fondly. She was a gallant old lady.

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