The dogs of winter, the direct lines of blood and DNA to Leonhard Seppala dogs that ran that race to save Nome, Alaska in 1925. They are not your run of the mill Siberian husky, though they share the same gene pool. These dogs, even though few in numbers still exist in this world. They are fierce in work ethic, and the love of the family they live with. They are the top-tier of what every Siberian came from. They are legend, and they are for real. To spend a few minutes with them you will know it. The love and work come out quickly to those who know dogs.
I’ve worked hard to own a few, and I will work harder to preserve them, for to let them fade into the night is not acceptable to me. They should shine on for many years to come, for to lose them is to lose a part of ourselves.
This video from Husky Norway Adventures has everything! Beautiful scenery, hard-working huskies, and a glimpse into the life of Mushers. If this doesn’t explain why they choose this lifestyle…then nothing ever will.
I haven’t posted a lot lately, and this is mainly due to my work on this book. It’s a labor of love, and about the dogs I’ve grown so close to. I’ve written a dozen poems to include in the manuscript. They were passed on to me from these magnificent dogs of the snow.
Immersed into their history, and pulled in by them into new adventures that I had no clue about. I’ve joined the pack, and forever my life has been changed. They teach me about their past with not words but action. They speak to me with some kind of old soul wisdom.
It’s been passed on from one dog to another, and shared with those of us who will open our hearts and minds to another plane of existence that is unknown to most. A history of hardship and sacrifice, of love of life, and the joy of living each day to its fullest with no regrets. Fate is something they understand and accept, but it does not stop them from getting the most out of life no matter what fate brings them.
They are happy with a meal, they are happy to work hard, and at night they sing the songs of their people. Celebrating another day of life and looking forward to the dawn of a new day as they curl up and go to sleep. They don’t worry because fate will determine if they see the dawn or not. They control what they can, and leave the rest to that great Husky God in the sky.
I believe that divine entity is family and history. They are connected to the past as they blaze new trails in the limited time they are given. They blaze trails into the future of their kind, just as they have done for thousands of years. And they are happy to teach us if we are willing to listen to their songs of life.
And if you’re lucky enough, you can ride along with them. You can become part of a world most don’t even know exists. Those of us that can throw caution to the wind gravitate to the husky. We share a common bond, and that is why these dogs run for us.
Work hard, love even harder, for that is the trail to a life you won’t regret. That is the legacy of the husky, that is a life well lived.
We are one, and maybe you can be one as well?
I look into those eyes of blue,
intelligence just shining through.
I hear the sound of 40 feet,
pulling a sled through the sleet.
That sled has gone into the night,
the runners swished, then out of sight.
All this passed into my mind,
how could I have been so blind.
Those furry beings noble and true,
the ones with eyes so blue.
Their story passed in just one glance,
they went on by and seemed to prance.
Their lives may be ruled by chance,
but proud they are, and will advance.
Once they’ve set that crazy pace,
life for them is just a race.
And as they passed… I felt the heat,
heard the drumming of their feet.
Passing me the stories of kin,
emanating from their furry skins.
They ran with everything they had,
wanting to make their ancestors glad.
I stood alone in the dark that night,
watching those hounds, go out of sight.
I knew I had to tell the stories,
of sled dogs, and their race to glory.
Togo pulled that line so tight,
15 dogs behind his might.
Seppala hooked up his dogs,
In the growing morning fog.
When he stepped upon the runners,
16 dogs and half were brothers.
They looked back howling with glee,
ready for Seppala to set them free.
Sepp looked at those fluffy butts,
16 dogs with nothing but guts.
He was proud and gave the command,
time to cross this frozen land.
Digging hard with nails of stone,
they pulled that sled for parts unknown.
Togo led that team of dogs,
into history and through that fog.
Ice was breaking all around,
it was 1925 in Norton sound.
Togo listened to his master Sepp,
“Take us home boy!” So, Togo leapt.
They crossed the ice twice that day,
Serum packed upon the sleigh.
They didn’t run for glory,
didn’t run to make a story.
They ran for love, a sacrifice,
to the man as cool as ice.
For him they would give their all,
they would answer the master’s call.
Togo would never run again,
his old bones had given in.
12 years old that fateful day,
he’d led that team and the sleigh.
Seppala told him, “My fine friend,
I thought I’d never see your end.”
With grizzled snout Togo nuzzled him,
Seppala cried when Togo cuddled in.
The greatest sled dog there has ever been,
both of them knew it was near his end.
Thousands of miles in all weather,
Togo and Sepp had traveled together.
Both of them have long since passed,
Togo and Seppala, their legends last.
Time is short:
Born blind and deaf upon the hay,
she could not feel the summer rays.
Locked inside a plywood box,
safe and sound amid moms’ locks.
Struggling for a nice warm teat,
that milk of life so sweet.
How quickly she did grow,
soon she learned of perfect snow.
The days went by much too fast,
her youth was gone it didn’t last.
She earned her place on the sled,
and for her work she was fed.
There was no time to be slack,
those who did lost the pack.
Only the strong would survive,
that is how the pack did thrive.
Working hard all day long,
followed with the evening songs.
Singing out the song of the life,
curling up on the frozen ice.
Nose tucked under a curly tail,
cold wind blowing in a gale.
Thankful for God’s furry gift,
sleeping soundly amid the drifts.
Dawn came peaking around,
dogs popping up from the ground.
A new day bloomed just ahead,
no time to worry or dread.
Life is short by any means,
the sin is not to chase your dreams.
Huskies chase those dreams each day,
Even if they have to pull a sleigh.
Dogs born unto the endless nights,
fearless beings who bring the light.
Look into those eyes so bright,
eyes that have second sight.
Souls that have seen it all before,
living large and want some more.
They know that time is short,
living life is not a sport.
Not many knew the name so well,
it was shaped like a ship’s bell.
Fire Lake you’ll never find,
living there was never kind.
Nestled in the glaciers view,
down below those icy pews.
Named for the fire of man’s desires,
dreams of riches and golden spires.
Zia was born unto that clan,
a clan made up of dogs and man.
A life of toil and trouble ahead,
but that is why she was bred.
Gold mines had come and passed,
love was lost at such a cost.
To work and struggle was her fate,
as she was lifted and saw Nate.
A pup she was… and subject too,
this human that she was destined to.
Her coat the color of Raven black,
brown eyes shining above her snout.
He said, hello my little one,
I’ll always love you until we are done.
She had no idea what he meant,
but she felt his love inside that tent.
Zia grew into her new life,
a world of danger and strife.
But through it all Nate never failed,
his love for her never paled.
For ten years she led that sled,
at night she rested in his bed.
She could sense his love at night,
snuggling under those Northern lights.
And then he fell through the ice,
he cut the line, a final sacrifice.
Hand reaching out as he sank,
A tribute to… and maybe thanks.
Heartbroken she watched him go,
and then it started to snow.
She led the team across that ice,
twelve dogs as quiet as mice.
Maybe it was never meant to be,
Nate and her running free.
For ten years she’d loved that man,
and given him everything she can.
Many adventures they had shared,
her and that man she’d been paired.
For all those years of his love,
she howled her pain to the stars above.
Nothing ventured and nothing gained,
Zia thought as she chewed those reins.
Her kin were free to make their way,
together across that frozen bay.
He’d loved her, and they would meet,
someday again at God’s feet.
But now everything was at stake,
they had to survive at Fire lake.