Reflections 2017

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As another year comes to a close its time to do a bit of looking back over the past year with my huskies. Nikki turned 2 and Cooper turned 3 a few months ago.

We had a few adventures this past year. One was the transition from walks to bikes. I built the modified recumbent bike which allowed both dogs to pull me around our asphalt jungle. We traveled over 200 miles together on my contraption in just a few months.

It was another milestone in bonding for all of us. We worked together, well they did most of the work but I was the guiding hand. I did my part keeping us as safe as possible in traffic, and all things that dogs don’t understand. They need me as much as I need them.

Nikki displayed more and more of her funny character. She’s grown into a fine funny girl who doesn’t take any crap from the other animals. She’s attaching herself to me more each day. She’s still stubborn at times like when its time to come in. But she also wants to be with me more and more. Sleeping on the bed, laying next to me and just being close.

I’ve noticed the aloof Cooper is also starting to come around. He’s always been a bit of a loner but these days he seems to crave affection more than he ever has before. Today when I took Sammie for a walk I could hear him howling from a block away. This is coming from a husky who acts like he doesn’t want to walk when I show him a leash. But as soon as I left he was upset about being left behind.

I’m not sure what drives him when he acts like he does. I think maybe he is torn between his wild spirits talking in one ear, and me in the other. He also wants to come in at night and get on the bed. Normally both of them are outside about 16 hours a day. Free to run the fenced in property and do husky stuff. But after dark they want to come in and sleep with me. I’m not complaining about that at all. Having a furry husky next to you is very soothing.

Huskies are very complex personalities. At least mine seem to be complex, compared to other dogs I’ve owned. It’s taken 3 years to get to this point with mine. They didn’t just attach themselves to me almost instantly like other dogs. They seem to have a higher intelligence than other breeds. Not in solving problems (which they also do) but in social behaviors as well. It’s almost like they weigh each new thing as we would contemplate social interactions with others of our own kind.

Socially they can differentiate between work/play, animals/people, and show so many emotions on their faces like happy and sad. But it’s not a blind distinction. It’s not a simple reaction to any stimulus. You can see that they have something higher than other dogs. Some higher intellect that allows them to have higher thought processes. Not just simple absolutes like fetching a stick. They consider and think about things at whatever level of brain power it is they have.

Surely not as high as ours, but higher than other dogs I have known. This is why they are considered hard to train. You have to do more than bait them with treats. You have to gain their trust and this takes a long time. They remember any breach you make, and it takes a long time for them to forgive and forget.

Each of my huskies has a distinct and different personality. That is why it is so hard to give advice to someone about their husky. You have to have intimate knowledge of that particular dog. Very few husky issues are fixed with one solution. You have to take into account how that dog was raised, his current environment, his personality/quirks, and what he craves to be able to begin to solve a particular problem. Couple that with their inbred husky qualities and there usually is not a simple solution. In many cases time fixes a lot of problems. Just like our own kids as they mature they get smarter and wiser.

I think what appeals to me the most about them is their unique qualities. They are not slaves to man, they actually think past instinct’s born into them. They are pure athletes, and of course they are the most majestic and beautiful dogs on the planet.

They are as unique and complex as we are, but unencumbered by too much intelligence that fouls up things with over thinking, ego, greed, and the host of other things that make up humans.

So, as I look forward to another year I feel blessed for this past one. I’ve made many friends through our mutual love of these dogs. It takes one to know one (husky lovers) for if you fall in love with this breed like I have…there is no substitute.

I often worry about my husky friends. They are being over-bred, discarded, and running out of wilderness. But in my heart, I know they will survive it all…because that is something they have done for thousands of years.

I look forward to many more years in their company if they will have me.

TJ

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