Sunset Run

Slow Motion

Huskies in slow motion.

Working on the Line

From the Husky cam. Dogs eye view of working on the line.

Exercise

 

A little run and meeting some new people…a great little adventure for huskies.

I try to take my dogs for a walk or run everyday but sometimes work and life makes me miss a day. You can sure tell the difference it makes. They get wound up the next day and cause havoc with each other and us.

Huskies are like having a hot water heater building up pressure until it explodes. You have to let that pressure escape in a controlled way instead of hoping for the best. Trust me, if you wait too long, something will feel the fury of a husky with too much energy.

Usually some inanimate object will die a horrible death due to fang & claw. Do not underestimate the power of these two tools the husky possess. I’ve lost a few things, and my deck still shows the scars of fang on wood.

Knowing all this I got home late from work last night. Thanks to the time change it now gets dark by 5:30. I took the dogs on a walk about 7:00PM and it was pretty much pitch black outside. But I signed up for this so off we went…huskies got to walk!

I took my flashlight and we went the two miles. The huskies seemed to have enjoyed this night time adventure as we usually walk in the daylight. Darkness doesn’t seem to bother them in the least. I guess it wouldn’t bother me If I could see as well as them in pitch black.

The nice part was nobody else was out walking their sometimes aggressive un-socialized beast. It was quiet and actually not bad except for a couple of cars thinking they were on the Indy race track. I must say that now that I have my dogs trained for bike/sled commands it makes things much safer.

I say “Haw!” and they turn left and get on the safe side of the road. They do this almost instantly now. Same with “Gee!” for right. It makes life much simpler and safer for all of us. Even in the pitch dark.

TJ

Love Comes Walking In

A slide show of my pack from last year. Music by Van Halen.

First Seppala Training run of the season

Fort Kent, MA.

The Undiscovered Country

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I swear to you that a husky is not a normal dog. Not in the normal sense when we think of dogs. They have their own way about things. They think on a different level than most dogs and it’s hard to understand.

I never fully understood them, and maybe never will, but I did see a change from working and running them. They want to work, they want to please you, and they want to show you the joy of running down a trail by sled or bike. They will share that with you but you have to ask for it. You have to prove you are worthy or at least trying to see the world in their eyes.

You have to take a step into their world. You have to commit yourself to more than your job, just like you would to your family. Why? Because they are your family as well. They don’t see themselves as dogs, they see themselves as members of your family…the pack is everything!”

Cooper is two and a half years old. Most of that time he’s been aloof but since I’ve been running him and Nikki on my bike he has changed. What once was the aloof guy is now my closest friend and he longs to be with me as Nikki does.

They are now like glue to me. They lick me to death and are even content to be tied up as long as I am in sight. Both of them have changed into different dogs. They work for me and we share that feeling of running down the road. And now we share an even closer bond I didn’t think was possible.

As in most things in life…the more you put into something the more you get out. Maybe not always, but when it comes to your husky you will get more back than you put in. It takes time and work but the rewards are immense.

The level you want to get to with your own dogs is all up to you. They are willing and waiting on you to go to that next level or not. As the leader that is up to you how far you want to go.

All I can tell you is that there is more to your husky than you think. Don’t look at them as dogs…look at them as you would an undiscovered country. For that is what they are. It’s up to you to really discover all you can about your husky.

Look deep into their eyes, and find what you have been missing.

Explore every nook and cranny of this undiscovered country called “The Siberian Husky.”

TJ

Love

Joy
This is what pure joy looks like.

Today’s topic is about love. Not such a macho thing for most guys but I guess I’m not like most men. I took a silly test a while back that said that this is my first life as a human. In my previous lives I was always an animal.

The more I’ve thought about this the more it makes some kind of sense. I’ve never been good at being social. I have a lot of problems dealing with a room full of strangers. I’ve always wanted to live up on a mountain far from the maddening crowd.

I have feelings like everyone else…I just keep them to myself for the most part. I don’t want to be alone, but then again, I can live without people if I have my dogs. I guess I’m complicated in many ways and maybe that’s okay.

I’ve never found an animal companion that means so much to me as my Huskies. I’ve had German Shepheard’s, Labs, Pits, etc. But none of these dogs has changed my thinking like my Huskies. When I look at them all I feel is this incredible bond that can bring tears to my eyes

Nikki is a little over 2 years old now. That is 21 years in human time and it seems so unfair to me.

These dogs live in the moment. Life is too short for them to waste time. They rejoice in each and every day they are here. And that should be a lesson to us all. There is no time to waste on hate. They need very little to be happy, and we’ve lost that along our way to succeed and be better than the next person.

My huskies expect me to keep them safe. They need some shelter, love, and food. They look at me like I’m their dad, and I will do my best to make them happy during their short life with me. In return they bring  joy to my days. They teach me about love of life and how to live in the moment.

Dogs are the true spirits of all that is good. They love everyone, unless you’ve taught them to hate. If you have then you are worthless as a human being. We as a race that rule this planet, have lost that. We should learn from the animals we subjugate. They are pure and we are not. Many of us have lost that concept, we hate first, and love when there is something in it for us.

There are so many lost souls in the world. Full of pain and full of hate. They only want to kill people, animals, pretty much kill everything including themselves.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Maybe some time spent with some of these pure souls would bring some joy into their lives. Or maybe they are too far gone to see what is right there in front of them.

Not everyone can recognize a good thing when they see it. Many are too caught up in themselves to care about anyone or anything else. These dogs show us the way, if only our race would open their eyes and look.

Its not too late, but our time is running out.

TJ

Buy or Rescue?

puppy-mill-huskies

Am I an expert? Probably not, but I have hours and hours of observing my dogs like a scientist would. I want to understand what makes them tick. I also have 3 huskies I’ve raised from puppies. Now at 2, 3, and 10 years old.

Let’s talk about buying a husky puppy first. If you want to buy a puppy there are many options. Most of them should be avoided. You can use the internet to look for a breeder, but you better have your scam detector set to full power.

Avoid Craigslist and some of the lesser known “Sale” pages. They are a den of crooks and scammers.

Puppy mills and dog thief’s make a living on these places…just say no. In this case you are better off by word of mouth from a person who has actually used a breeder and has a dog from them. I found Cooper by asking my vet if he had any clients who raised huskies.

Puppy mill dogs come with many genetic problems like Epilepsy. Take your time and find a real breeder not a mill dog. Huskies are being bred on looks not health.

The vet was a good source because my vet knew the people and how well they provided health care for their dogs. I was not disappointed in my choice with him.

Some things to consider about breeders. Most people don’t even think of these things.

The first conclusion I’ve come to is how important your puppy’s environment is where he was born. Cooper grew up in a family that believed in making the pup’s part of the family. When I first saw this, I thought that was so cool.

But let me tell you that after getting Nikki, I’m not sure that is the best way to raise a pup for sale. Puppies bond to their immediate humans. Cooper was bonded to his human mom long before I came along.

She told me she thought of them as her children. I understand that, but it may not be the best way for a puppy to bond with a new owner. Cooper is still a little bit aloof, and I think that had something to do with it. That might be partly because he is a male, and partly because he bonded with his first human mom instead of me. I don’t know for sure but it’s worth thinking about.

Nikki is so much different from Coop. Is it because she is a female or how she was raised? All I can tell you is that Nikki was raised on an Amish farm in Pennsylvania. The Amish farm was the real deal.

The owner was named Jonathan Fisher. He had the funny hat and a full beard along with an accent. His wife was decked out in the full garb looking almost like a nun. Both of them were completely decent human beings! Simple folks that think of animals much differently than most people do.

His sons were the politest young men I’ve ever met. They all refused technology, but they showed me something pure. They live like our ancestors did…one with the land and the animals they rely on to make life easier. A simpler life, and maybe we all should go back to that if we could. Anyway, the point of all of this is to understand the difference in a puppies first environment.

The Amish treat animals as tools to a certain extent. They are their transportation, and have no qualms about raising them for food. With that we come to how Nikki was raised. They took care of her, and the litter, but they did not bond with these dogs by having them in the house.

Nikki grew up in the barn with her mom and siblings. The Amish did not lack in taking care of them, but they did not get so close as to bond with them. When I picked up Nikki and followed the horse and cart back to the main road she howled.

I’m a rock drummer and I can tell you that this girl had some pipes! She cried for her siblings, and the life she had known. I stopped the car and put her in my lap. She stopped crying, and put her snout inside my coat and hid her face.

She stayed in my lap for the three-hour drive back home, never making a sound. It was a bonding experience that made us one. If the Amish had kept her in the house I would have been the second human she had bonded with. As it was, I was the first human she bonded with, and it makes so much difference it’s hard for me to put into words.

Huskies are not like normal dogs. They are high energy and I can’t claim that this is true for all dogs. I can only relate my own experiences, and you must make up your own mind when you look for a puppy.

Huskies are special in lots of ways. So much so that it takes years of experience to even begin to understand them. You need to decide what you want out of your husky as well. Do you want a sled dog or a couch potato? Both kinds are available even though they are all Siberian Huskies by paper.

I’ve been told that it only takes 3 generations for the desire to pull a sled or bike begins to fade. So, if you want a less driven pet you should find a breeder who either shows dogs, or only has pets. If you want a pulling husky you want to look for a kennel that works their dogs.

They don’t have to run the Iditarod but they do work pulling sleds and/or Urban mushing. There is a huge difference in how each live. Working dogs are not so much pets. They grow up used to a chain and house. This doesn’t mean they are not loved, and they hate their lives. Quite the opposite as this is all they know and it seems quite natural for them. They are working dogs…who work.

Then there are some of us like me, who do both. My dogs are pets that spend some time in my house but they also urban mush. They can do this, but they still have the pulling instincts intact. Living in the house is easy to teach. Making a dog want to pull if they don’t is not.

So, figure out what you want this husky for? Then find the right breeding line that has a history of dogs doing that exact thing…pets or worker?

About Rescue:

At the risks of being burned at the stake I will tell you my honest opinion on this topic.

First, I think that anyone who does rescue work is truly a saint. It is a lot of work that involves lots of hours and they deal with limited resources and damaged dogs. My heart goes out to them, but huskies are a special case.

If your heart wants to rescue a dog I’m all for it. But you must know the difficulties and baggage you may have to deal with. The husky is a special kind of dog. They can be easily damaged and learn bad behaviors that might never be fixed.

That is why rescue organizations are so picky about finding a new owner for them. You have to really know what you are doing and if not, things will not go well for you or the dog. You could potentially be getting some baggage with that husky rescue you won’t know how to handle. Even if you do know, the damage might be so ingrained that it might be impossible to fix.

“Rescue don’t Buy” …is a good idea in theory for most dogs. I don’t think so when it comes to huskies.

It’s like buying a used car. You might get lucky and have no problems…but then you might not. It all depends on what that dog has gone through.

If you do rescue a husky… know what you potentially are getting into before you just run down and pick one up. You better be prepared to deal with it, or you will be giving that dog right back. And that hurts the dog even more. Nobody wants that. It is not for the novice, especially with a husky.

And if you buy a puppy, do your homework and raise them the right way. If not, they will be nothing but trouble for you. You might just end up giving one to the shelter, and that is why so many of them are in shelters now.

If you want a husky, you have a lot to consider and think about. Whether you buy or rescue.

Forget how they look, think about how they will fit into your life. Can you do what they need to be happy? Can you mold your life around them, because that is really what it takes? It takes a strong constitution, and the willingness to learn. It takes a lot more than most people can imagine. It takes some experience and a boat load of patience.

If you don’t have that, pick another breed to rescue. You and that dog will have a much better chance at success. And that is really what it’s all about. Saving a life, not creating more problems for you and that dog.

Choose wisely.

TJ

The Song of Life

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Left to right: Sammie, Cooper, and Nikki

A man or woman has to have something that they believe in, or life pretty much sucks. I happen to love my dogs and my music. You may not have thought of it, but they have similarities. My Huskies are born and grow each day. A song is not much different, it has a beginning, middle, and end.

A song starts out as an idea, then evolves into the final product.

Huskies grow, learn, become more than what they started out to be. The finished product if you will… but then it’s never finished, neither is a song you play. It’s never exactly the same each time you play it.

Live music is just that…live. It lives and it breathes, and shifts depending on those who are playing it. It’s not perfect, but then it shouldn’t be. Life isn’t perfect either, and so why should a song?

Music can reflect life, it can bring you up or down. It can change your world or mood, it makes a difference in many people’s lives.

My dogs are exactly the same as a song. Our lives together are a performance that I’m lucky enough to be part of. Each day we play it, it’s never the same. It shifts as we do, depending on what happened.

We have a beginning, middle, and end. I’m just lucky enough to take the time to be part of it. Sure, our lives together are not perfect, but sometimes… just like when you are playing a song you hit that groove.

Sometimes everything is in sync, you feel it more than anything. You don’t think about what you are playing…it just happens and it’s perfect. It’s perfect in your soul, and that is what really matters. I have that same feeling with my dogs at times.

Today was one of those days. Nikki has graduated to the point she is free to run with the rest of the pack. I’ve held her back, protected her until she was big enough to not get hurt. She can hold her own now, and is becoming a force in my pack.

I came home from a normal day of fighting “Mad Max” drivers on my commute to D.C. yeah you know who you are! I stopped at Food Lion for some butter, but I had to buy my Huskies new squeaker toys. That’s what dad’s do. Each of my Husky kids got a brand new squeaky toy they love.

Nikki runs over jumps in my lap. Nuzzling my neck and making me forget what a crappy day it was. Cooper and Sam take turns welcoming me home and I love it! I go out and throw the ball for them.

That’s my pack, my kids if you will. To me it doesn’t get much better than this.

That’s music to my ears…the song of my life with some huskies.

TJ

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