This is about attitude and quality of life. Inspired by my good friend “Z.”
There are many paths to take in our short lives. We live, work, and love until we are called home. Some follow and some lead. Some take to the trails that other’s fear to tread. Some folks are afraid to push their limits for fear of injury and death. That is what separates us all, what is, and what could be, and what is left behind with regrets until we die.
Some are suppressed by others, and accept that path based on fear of many things. My parents never wanted me to race motocross, they never wanted me to fly planes, they never wanted me to do anything that endangered my life. I understand that came out of love. But there is the calling in me to do more than what anyone else believed was safe or possible for me.
I was not about to be put into a box that said “This is what you can do, and what you can’t.” If you tell me I can’t do something I will do my best to prove you wrong. That is what is inside me, that is what drives me to achieve whatever goal I have set.
Negative comments only fuel the fire to prove the nay-sayers wrong. That to me is the same spirit that made those before us leave their homelands and come to America. It’s what carved out a new land and new possibilities.
This free spirit is inside me, and it’s in you as well to some degree. It’s guided me to new adventures all through my life. Regardless of the inherent risk, I heard that call and I answered it. Not foolishly, but with respect. The gauntlet was in front of me and I picked it up. I slowly increased what I was capable of by small increments of success, and along with that comes failure as well, for failures are how we learn to succeed.
Too me It’s better to die doing something you love, than to die with the regrets of never having tried or done what your heart told you.
Does this mean I want everyone to go out and kill themselves doing dangerous things? Of course not, but I want you to think about possibilities. What is your limit? I know what mine are, and it was learned from trying things everyone said I was not capable of. You learn and grow and that to me is what life is about.
If you don’t expect anything from anyone…you will never be disappointed except with yourself. You will learn to be self reliant and take your lumps when you fail, but again it’s all on you and not someone else. You control your own fate not someone else, and that is satisfying in it’s own way.
You squeeze out every bit of what you were given in this life. You dream, and you take calculated risk that make those dreams maybe come true. Nothing is guaranteed, but how do you know unless you try? Or maybe… you do nothing more because you are comfortable with the status quo.
Follow your heart and your dreams no matter what anyone else tells you. For in that you will achieve satisfaction in life. Other’s should not try to live your life for you. We each have a trail made just for us. It is ours to follow or not, that is free will.
Courage comes from following your own path in life, and with that comes happiness and heartbreak…but you did it your way. In essence that is the spirit inside each and every husky I’ve known.
They might not have everything they want out of their lives, but they certainly try… no matter what. They follow their hearts, and if you are lucky enough to find a partner that matches up with your dreams… you will both go further than you thought possible.
Nothing good comes easy, and when it does you’ll know you earned it. And your victory whatever it might be, will be that much sweeter.
If you knew the history of the Siberian people as well as I do, you would know that the battle is never won. There are the common Siberians descended from royalty and then there are some of those royalty left.
The royalty class is called the Seppala Siberians. They are the direct blood lines from 1925 when Balto, Togo, Fritz, and a host of others gave their all to save Nome Alaska.
It’s not fiction, it is history and it’s a huge part of the breed called Siberians. It’s not only a marker of what they could accomplish, its a testament to a better life. It’s a legacy of how to live in harmony between two species.
It’s a template of how two different and opposing sides can work together to achieve something wonderful. The stakes are high and it’s called life and death. Life and death scenarios are nothing new to the Siberians, they have dealt with this for thousands of years.
If I have learned anything from them its this, “Keep moving forward, push until you succeed or drop dead. That is the essence of the Siberian husky, once a goal is conceived they will achieve it or die.
That is what made them survive to this day. That is what makes some achieve greatness and others to just live out their lives in the solitude of broken dreams.
Each member of the pack is just as important…to lead or to follow as a team member makes no difference. Each does his part and the synergy of that makes them more than the sum of the individual parts.
It used to be man against nature, now its man against man. We are a combative society full of ourselves and willing to die for our beliefs. We have fallen from the basics of life. We have missed out on the true things that matter in life.
Family, love, and to lend a hand to those who need it. All of these basic lessons are in your own dog at your feet. They need you and you need them. And as much as I hate to admit it, we as humans need each other.
For without compassion, education, and the willingness to reach out to others below us we will surely die out. The Siberians will live on, they have thousands of years of experience we don’t. The storm is about human interaction and its up to us to whether the storm, with common sense, not partisan bullshit.
As a musher you have to pick the trail, you drive the ship in which you ride. You decide the fate of not only yourself but that of those in your team. Their fate depends on your choices.
Don’t be shallow, think about the big picture of life, not your little piece of it.
Tales of the Queen Part IV
It’s been a while since Queen Nikki has had a tale for me to tell you about. That changed last night around 10 PM.
So, around bedtime Nikki wants to go out. Now that in itself is a bit unusual as she had already been out and hour before. Normally around 8 or 9 she’s down for the count as she is used to my strange work schedule. Up at 4:30AM sort of means going to bed early at night.
The huskies either have super hearing or some kind of 6th sense we don’t understand. Many times, they will perk up and want out. Even with two fans running they know there is a critter on the property. I didn’t even think about that and let her out.
15 minutes later I’m hollering out the door and normally she comes running inside and we go to bed. Last night no response and I’m wondering what the problem is.
Dressed in only shorts and barefoot I grab my tactical flashlight I keep by the door and head out to find where the Queen is, and why she is ignoring me.
I have a chain link gate that divides the pool area from the front yard. I leave one side of it open most of the time. Nikki is just past the opening staring at the wood pile stacked against the outer fence. She looks apprehensive and still ignores me telling her to come in.
I walk over shinning my light and don’t see anything that has her so interested in staring at the ground behind the open chain link gate. I shine my light over there and see a nice big fat Copperhead snake!
This happens to be my worst fear in summertime. Both of my other huskies have been bitten on the snout by Copperheads in years past. They apparently dove in on those snakes without thinking and got bit.
I guess having been a musician for years is the reason I started hearing that song in my head. “You never come back from Copperhead Road.”
Now I’m barefoot and there is no weapon close by. Nikki is watching that snake and he’s coiled up in the strike pose. I call her but she will not go past the snake even though there is a bit of room between him and the other gate that is still closed.
The Queen has shown why she is the Queen. To my knowledge she has never encountered a snake before but she had the sense to know it was bad medicine. She was keeping out of reach, and never taking her eyes off it. She seemed to understand better than me how far it might strike and was not about to run through the gate if she was in range.
The second gate has a rod that you push in the ground to lock it. It’s about 4 feet long and 3/8” diameter. Needing a weapon, I pulled this rod out of the gate clamps while keeping the flash light beam on that snake. The rod is a bit small and I wished I had a shovel but there are none in sight. I consider grabbing a log of fire wood and smashing him but he’s under and behind the gate.
I consider stabbing him with the gate rod but it’s not very big around and I might miss. I keep the light on the snake and prepare a stab with the rod close to him. The wanker is pissed off at the tac-light beam in his little golden eyes and I began to wonder how fast he is if I miss? His head is tracking the end of the rod and I can tell he wants to strike out at it.
Considering I’m barefoot and only armed with a metal toothpick and flashlight I reconsider my options. I need to get the Queen out of there and find a more deliberate weapon. Keeping my eyes on the snake and Nikki I get the other gate open (Which is stuck by the way.)
Nikki has enough sense to go behind me through the opening and head for the back door. I back up on the little dirt trail hoping I don’t step on one of the snake’s buddies. Back in the house I find my shoes and keys. I head out to the garage to retrieve my pellet rifle. A distance weapon that won’t have my neighbors calling the cops after I shoot it.
Ready to give that snake a lead enema I go back with the flashlight leading the way. The bastard is gone from his hiding spot! I look around for him but he’s melted back into the foliage to terrorize me again when I least suspect it.
Once back inside I check the Queen all over for snakebite and find none. I’m relieved that she had enough sense not to get bitten. I’m also a bit in awe at how smart she is. She knew that snake was dangerous and I think she knew I’d come looking for her. Like a pointer she kept her head down aimed at where that snake was. That’s probably why I saw it in the first place.
And that concludes another adventure with the Queen. I’m going to keep my rifle handy from now on…at least until winter when the snakes are gone.
Life Lessons from the Siberian People:
My own journey for the past several years has opened my eyes. The animal world has many lessons to teach if you take the time to study it. Many of us so-called higher species spend so much time trying to climb the ladder of success that we’ve forgotten the basics of what a life well lived means.
Now I don’t propose that I know all things, but I do know some things about these dogs. They are great teachers, unspoiled by politics or popular thought. They know who, and what they are, and they lead by example if you take the time to look into their eyes and live with them as family.
Survivors of countless struggles against inhospitable lands they were born into. They adapted and made what they were given into something positive. They also remember the lessons of the fallen, those dogs who gave their all for the benefit of the pack.
Humanity has lost a connection to the animal world. Discarded as not important and that is where we’ve gone wrong. These creatures have given their all to advance us and they always will. They can do no less because its ingrained into their very beings. Used and abused since time began their mission is to show what it means to be a member of life on earth to the less educated. They have hope for us even If we don’t deserve it.
They learn to compromise disagreements of leadership. They are willing to meet in the middle of disagreements. They work hard, and they know that whatever hardships they endure is worth it because the pack will survive. They see the big picture, not the moments of indecision and emotional ruin.
There is no right or left to The Siberians. They wish to continue to live and flourish as members of this great planet called Earth. Survival is an instinct to them, not a headline on a news channel. It’s real and we tend to forget our real place in the world. As much as we think we rule all we see…we don’t.
The downfall of higher intelligence is the propensity to think we know it all. It takes only a connection to those animals who have been here much longer than us to realize that they will be here long after we are gone.
As a higher being on this planet you have a choice. You can choose to hate or you can come together to make the world a better place…you can choose to survive or you can choose to die out. The real power is in the people not those that lead us. But we must have the unity of the pack in order to survive. We must put or beliefs on hold and be willing to compromise to achieve the end goal.
When I look into those blue eyes of my dogs they have no fear, they have no conflicted interest. They know that deep down inside…that the pack must survive at all cost. They have given everything in spite of our treatment of them. They will survive and I wonder if we will.
It’s time to come together America.
Why Dogs Have Shorter Lives Than Humans: Author Unknown.
Here’s the surprising answer of a 6 year old child.
Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.
I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.
As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker‘s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.
The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that dogs’ lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, “I know why.”
Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.
He said, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?”
The six-year-old continued, “Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay for as long as we do.”
Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:
• When your loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
• Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
• Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.
• Take naps.
• Stretch before rising.
• Run, romp, and play daily.
• Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
• Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
• On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
• On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
• When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
• Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
• Be faithful.
• Never pretend to be something you’re not.
• If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
• When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.
That’s the secret of happiness that we can learn from a good dog.
Few people I know of, ever find that perfect job made just for them. A job that really isn’t a job because they love doing it so much. The Siberian People are lucky in that respect. They love what they do, because it’s more of an adventure than work.
Think about the things that most of us want. Love, adventure, travel, friends, and family to name just a few. We feel lucky if we get some of those. The Siberians have them all and much more. They live short lives compared to us, but those days they do have are well lived.
That is if they are fortunate to have humans that understand what they need. Human partners that make it possible for them to do what they were made for in these modern times. Partners that share in the same simple joys as their dogs. They share in the spirit of the Husky.
“The Last Goodbye” (Spray paint & Acrylic)
Is it a frozen lake or clouds? An imaginary piece about the Rainbow bridge.
This is the place in Maine where it all began years ago with a man named Leonhard Seppala. Every Siberian in the world today is related to those first dogs brought to the lower 48 states in a place called Poland Spring. The direct blood lines still exist thanks to a few who dedicated their lives to them.
The goal of our kennel is to preserve and propagate this historical line of dogs before they are gone.
Turn up your sound because we are “Riding the Storm Out.”
The secret to a happy life as taught by the Siberian People is easy. The four rudiments are love, work, eat, and sleep. Each one should be done to the best of your ability.
These Iditarod dogs in this picture tell that story of family, friends, struggle, and companionship. They work as a team to achieve a goal, they love each other as family even if they are not. And when the work is done, they bask in the glow of a life well lived. The companionship that only brothers in arms experience on the battlefield.
Each team member is important in whatever role they hold. From musher to wheel dog, each one is important to the team’s success or failure. The leaders lead, taking on the responsibility for the safety of all. It’s not an easy task and some dogs just can’t deal with the pressure. But with a strong leader, they work so hard, that the team gets over that last rise, or through that driven snow.
They trust in each other that they will do their part, and they do, because they don’t want to fail their team.
They journey together through thick and thin, but always the team equals more than the sum of its parts. It’s the way to survive, it’s what’s been done for thousands of years in husky history. It’s encoded into their DNA. It’s what makes a husky special above other breeds. It’s what they do, and how they prefer to live.
Can we do no less?
Poland Springs Elvira
This girl from our “E” litter will be 3 months old on June 6. She’s a Seppala and she knows it. You can see it in her eyes. She’s staying in Maine while her two sisters have moved to Alaska. All of them will carry on the heritage of Leonhard Seppala’s great dogs to the best of their ability.
Of this I have no doubts.
Patience is one of those lessons you learn when you live with huskies. The Siberians are a proud group and share similar traits with us. Each one of them is self-aware and very confident. This trait bred into them, allowed them, and those they served to survive in the harshest environments on earth.
They think, they scheme, and they want to climb the pack ladder as much as a fresh college graduate does in the corporate world. I will say they keep this to themselves and it is a husky thing not intended for us humans. Never have I observed any animosity towards me or the family. It’s a husky thing.
18 months ago, my two females had a disagreement over a treat. It seemed that way at first but it was much more than that. It was about who ruled the pack. The old girl Sammie or the young upstart Nikki?
Neither one would back down over this treat that Sammie snatched from my young one. This resulted in her receiving pierced ears as Nikki demanded respect. The deposed queen went on an 18-month hiatus from the pack.
Slowly, ever so slowly they have mended their fences. Tonight, the pack is one again. It’s a fragile peace but my young Nikki has showered the old queen with kisses even though she holds back from returning the affection. The older Sam has not forgotten her loss of power. But she longs to be included once again in the pack.
Her self-imposed banishment lasted all this time, but you see the pack is family to them. In time she has forgotten her hate and is slowly putting it aside. The young queen Nikki has tried for months to mend the fence only to be shunned. But the isolation finally got the best of Sammie and she is working on being re-integrated into the new order.
My male Cooper is a big boy. Capable of defeating either one of them if he wanted. But he is the lowest private in my husky Army. He doesn’t mind at all his station. He’s learned to let the leaders lead and he is quite content to follow. He is a pacifist first with a good heart and loves on me all the time. Us males have to stick together as the females battle it out for supremacy.
Maybe in the human world the males have always had the power. That is changing these days and I hold no grudge because maybe I’ve learned from Cooper. Leadership is a skill that can’t be learned for the most part. You either have what it takes or you don’t.
In my experience the Siberian females rule for the most part. They seem to be a cut above in the brain department. They are fierce when challenged, they bring new life to the pack, and they think on a higher level.
The males have their place. When brute strength is needed, and large size to push through deep snow. That is when the males shine. They seem to be happy with this stress free environment. Let the females battle it out!
The males seem to be quite content to let the females lead and make the decisions. It appears to be a combination that has worked for thousands of years. Who am I to argue with success?
The Siberian Husky:
I’ve expounded on the virtues of the Siberian many times. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this picture speaks volumes.
Siberians for the most part have two speeds. Wide-open and sleeping are the most noticeable for most folks. You have to pay attention to those few moments when the husky is not a blur of motion, or intensely focusing on doing husky stuff.
If you pay attention, once in a while they will give you a look. You will get a glimpse of what a husky really is when you see it for the first time. This occasional gaze from a husky will attempt to see inside your soul. To see what kind of being you really are. There is no hiding it from them, for they can sense what kind of person you really are inside.
There is no arrogance about them. They know what they are, and they don’t crave to be anything else. The husky is quite happy with what he is. Confident, Intelligent, and a world-class athlete that others only wish they could be.
They understand more about us than we do about them. Even so, they choose to be partners with us if we treat them with respect. If leaders lead by example, then we could learn a thing or two from the huskies.
Drive, Problem Solving, Unconditional Love and understanding. Love of each new day above ground and the adventures just waiting to be experienced.
To squander one minute of life’s journey is a sin. That my friends are the lessons being shown to us in the only way they can. These leaders teach us about life’s journey with their actions, we only have to open our eyes and look.