Saturday, January 23, 2016

"You're Disgusting!"

Today I had a new and unpleasant experience running dogs.  And it had nothing to do with the actual  running of dogs.  They were excellent.  It was our long run day and we went about 10 miles with the ATV.  As always, would have preferred running the sled but the day was packed with my 5 year old's basketball game and other two-legged family necessities leaving no time to drive to the snow.  Unfortunately, our valley is in the slow snow melt process where it's icy, wet, and muddy in patches which makes for a messy run.

We have to run mostly on back rounds around our house and we are very mindful and cautious of cars. With only about 2 miles to go until home, we climbed a big hill to get back onto the canal road and I decided to let the dogs rest and roll in the snow as they like to do. Suddenly a truck came driving up the road by yelling something out the window.  In All experiences I've had, it's usually questions or friendly comments but this was far from it.

After listening a little closer I heard "You're disgusting! You should be ashamed of yourself!!!"

Rather infuriated I asked, "Why am I disgusting?!"

"Just look at your dogs.  You're horrible. You're disgusting, you should be ashamed!"

I look back at my very healthy dogs, wagging their tails, taking a break, rolling and relaxing but admittedly very muddy (heck, they're rolling around in snow-mud).

I repeat, with much more anger in my voice "Why should I be ashamed?! How am I disgusting?!?!" (Unbelievably without extra words added...)

It is followed by more of the same from the woman. I decide she's crazy and has NO clue what the situation is nor any clue about working breeds and ignore her as they continue up the road yelling at me from their truck.

I was so angry! In my 7 years of mushing, I've not had an experience like that before and I wish to not have to deal with people like that again but knowing people's lack of knowledge of and experience with sled dogs, it probably won't be the last.

My dogs are very happy, healthy Siberian huskies doing what they were bred to do.  I do not ask my dogs to do anything I wouldn't do (within reasonable bounds of each species...i.e. I don't have them pull in temperatures above 45-50degF yet understand they can handle colder temperatures than I.  I have no qualms taking them out for a run in a mud bath as I, a runner myself, would do the same!) I listen to my dogs and constantly am reassessing what they each can handle for that day in that moment.

I know I take good care of my family and they enjoy what they do.  The pictures below are a perfect example of that and this is a perfect example of why I should and shall continue educating people about the breed and the sport.

My leaders, Jig and Whip, having some fun in the snow!

Goof balls!

Flier, a usually light grey and white dog was pretty muddy but still having a good time!

Tank is a mudder.  His mother was a mudder, his father was a mudder! Buzz and Buck, in wheel.

Rolling and relaxin'

Running again! Racing some neighborhood horses!

The horses were pretty stoked about the dog team!

Love your puppas!!!

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