Run Like the Wind

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There are a few things in life that cannot be duplicated by computers or anything else. One of those is to have a relationship with one or more of the Siberian People.

Yes, they are dogs, but they are also like no other dog you have ever seen. I could type all day the words that come to mind but that would not do justice to them.

Furry and full of old world knowledge they are ambassadors of a better life for you and them. They do not speak our language, but they speak volumes of information if you learn how to see it. It is subtle and requires a trained eye. It takes time to understand what they are trying to tell you. But believe me, they have much to tell if you bother to study them.

You have to know them as you would your spouse. You have to live with them to have this intimate knowledge of how they run, and how they act in any given situation. I watch the gait and I can tell if it is normal or if pain is involved. I know my dogs so well that I can tell if they are having a bad day or if it is something physical.

They may not speak words, but they speak in body language and attitude. They give signs of their current status and health. But you cannot know this unless you study them. You have to immerse yourself into the husky. That’s when you begin to understand them, as more than a dog.

For all this trouble what do you get? You get a partnership that equals no other. You get undying trust and affection if you bother to do your part. You see they are not objects that you own, they are huskies and that encompasses many things.

They are family, workers, lovers of life, and lovers of their masters or should I say partners. They are unique in the dog world. A long history of surviving what should not have been survived. They did it because they had to, and because they loved their partners more than their own short lives.

This is the essence of a husky, this is what they are but few ever spend the time to find that out.

That beautiful exterior hides many secrets you can find.

A true team or partnership between man and dog is the run. To run with the huskies is something that cannot be put into words. It is the culmination of work, struggle, and determination. When it all comes together it is beautiful. It is the payoff for keeping the faith. It is another world that few have ever found.

It’s real, not some virtual reality. They let us into their world if we are worthy. Go find that and you will forever be changed.

TJ

 

 

 

 

Seppala Siberian Sled Dog:

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(F) Poland Springs Frost: Whelped 11/8/2012 (96.99%)

What’s that you say? I never heard of it before, are they some kind of designer breed?

No, it is in fact the original line of dogs conjured up by one of the greatest sled dog drivers known. His name was Leonhard Seppala and he and his dogs ran the Nome serum run in 1925. His kennel of dogs produced Balto, Togo, Fritz and many others.

To the average husky owner none of this means much. They love their husky and that is how it should be. But do you know that your husky laying on the couch or eating it depending on their mood is a descendant as well?

All Siberians share common genes with the original 20-30 dogs bread by Seppala. They have been bred over and over again but the DNA remains locked into the originals. Seppalas are a breed apart even though their cousins now inherit most of the world. The true line of Seppalas is one of history and different traits.

The Seppala is easier to train and they work like no other dog. The work is strong in this group if you are into a sled dog. They are more into the family, and less into fighting everything on four legs they encounter. They are faster and work harder than a normal Siberian.

For many years a few dedicated individuals strived hard and gave up much to keep the original line pure. There were some speed bumps, but for the most part they still exist in varying percentage based on pedigrees that date back to the original foundation dogs bred by Seppala.

These dogs are in fact the baseline of your very own husky and if you could trace your dog back to the first generation you would find Togo or Fritz as a sire. We all come from somewhere, and Siberians of modern-day come from Seppalas original line.

This is fact and cannot be disputed. The pedigrees tell the tale of over 100 years since they began. Many people these days want to change history because they have some problem with it. They want to tear down statues, remove plaques, and any other thing that they don’t happen to agree with.

Like a husky I prefer to live in the moment, accept history as real, and move on. Why dwell in the past when the future is now?

The Seppalas have faced many problems. Most of them caused by humans who wanted fame and glory above the fate of these animals. The individuals fought for control and how to direct them into the future. The end result is they are now almost extinct. Few remain in the high percentage of DNA but they don’t care. They are dogs first and our BS doesn’t matter to them.

There are in fact a few of us owners left who have picked up the gauntlet left on the ground. We are doing our best to keep the line going. However, depleted it is…they are the true blood that started it all. That is important and they are great working dogs. They deserve to have us try and save them because they are royalty.

The Seppalas can only be saved by us. They saved lives in 1925 and gave their all to do it. I don’t think it’s asking too much to return the favor they bestowed on us dumb humans. If you want to have another husky why not have one of royal blood? One who was born as a direct descendant of those original dogs?

We few have given a lot to obtain them and breed them. But they will not endure without people willing to own them. If you want to save something…all I ask is you consider your next husky is a Seppala. You won’t be disappointed.

Keep the dream alive.

TJ

 

 

The Siberian Husky

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Huskies came to me late in life.

Too late to really spend all the years it takes to really understand this magnificent creature. I’ve tried to make up for that by spending as much time as I could with them. Watching them like a stalker, and trying to figure out the lessons they try to teach me.

Part lover, part devil, part unknown member of this world we know. They only seem to show you things that you need to learn. They do it when you don’t have a camera in hand. The lessons they teach are subtle, and sometimes you don’t even realize them until days later.

They won’t show you anything if you don’t allow them to be what they are within your own limits. We all have limits to what we can do for them. But they don’t seem to mind…somehow, they know and accept what our limits are. They seem to understand us better than we do and that is a feat in itself. But they also teach in silent fashion.

Acceptance of their place in the world is one of the greatest lessons they teach. Whether they are on a drop line, and run every day, or stuck in an apartment that is too hot for them…they endure and they accept it. (Tolerance)

This does not mean that they won’t try to change the stars they were born under. They will try to mold your life around them. They don’t want it all, but they want the partnership to be fair. They give, and you are expected to make concessions as well.

This never ends. Just like any relationship it can grow or fade away depending on how the partners treat the relationship. I’ve found the more love I give, the more it is returned. I’ve made mistakes raising these dogs but they have realized I didn’t know what I was doing and didn’t hold it against me. (Forgiveness)

The bond with a husky takes work on our part. Just like it takes work for any lasting relationship to succeed. They have needs just like us, and they will let you know if they are not being met. You will never know the extent of what they are, by being a tyrant. You will never know what they are capable of without giving of yourself.

I encourage you to work with your dogs like they were born to do. Pulling a sled or bike, running free, new adventures around each corner is what they live for. In return you will harvest a wealth of love and companionship. It won’t be given freely like other dogs…you have to earn their respect first. That is the difference between huskies and other dogs…they don’t work for free.

The Plaque on Balto’s statue in NYC central park sums it up very well:

Endurance – Fidelity – Intelligence

 

 

The Best of Both Worlds

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Red Moon: My latest painting.

In my experience, Siberians come in three varieties. Worker, Pet, and Hybrid.

The Worker: He’s a sled dog who doesn’t know or live for anything else than pulling a sled no matter what the destination. He’s all about the journey, and he wants to see and live all of it. He lives on a chain for the most part, but don’t let that bring you down.

This is not some pampered dog born with a silver spoon in his mouth. This is a dog who was born into work. These are dogs that have never known anything else but the chance to run and pull with a team. They don’t miss what they have never known, and they don’t care for anything else than what they were born to do.

You don’t teach them how to pull. They already know how to pull because they’ve been doing it for thousands of years. You teach them directional commands, other than that you just let them go and enjoy the ride. Running and having to pull you along is a minor inconvenience to a true sled dog, for the one who gives food and takes care of you.

The Pet: This is a husky who has had most of his natural instincts bred out or suppressed. The show ring is his world and so is the apartment. No matter how much people try… the wild will come out sooner or later. Not being able to do what you were meant to do, leads to frustration and boredom. You might lose a door, wall, carpet, or even your couch. The need for new and varied mental stimulation is strong in this one.

The Hybrid: To me this is the best combination of both worlds. A dog that can pull and also be a pet. They learn to live inside and out. They are allowed to be who they are when it comes to work, and I think it’s the future of the Siberian.

As weather changes, costs increase, and free land shrinks he still gets to be who he is. His needs are not forgotten. He learns to run on dry land as well as snow. He gets to work but he can sleep inside with his family if he wants. In my opinion he gets the best of both worlds from those who make it happen.

If you want your husky to be truly happy you build your life around what they need and want. They repay this in so many ways I can’t even describe them all. It has to be experienced not told to you by another. Each journey with a husky is different, and many are life changing as it was for me.

It’s been one hell of a journey, I  only wish that I would have started sooner.

TJ

Tucker’s Ridge

 

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Tucker’s Ridge

 

I write today about attitude, and how it can affect your life. Most people are afraid of the unknown, and some are even so afraid that they won’t expand their horizons… that they accept where they are in life. This is really a matter of attitude, and a lack of self-confidence.

When we are born we are surrounded by those who would mold us. Not so much as by lessons but by association. Was your dad a drunk? Maybe that’s why you are today. I don’t know, but role models do affect us in many ways. Sometimes we don’t even know that they did.

Sometimes people want to hold you down. They tell you that you are worthless and when you mention that you want to do something to improve your life…they just laugh. They tell you that you are just where you belong, and dreaming big is a joke.

This is where you can learn from a Husky as I have. They are born and sold to who they do not know. They hope for a good life-like all sentient beings do. Sometimes they have that, and sometimes the cards fall the other way. Such is life for dogs and people.

In spite of that, they hold true to who they are. They will not be held down by anyone or anything. They follow their own agenda regardless of anyone. Life is too short to be bothered with anything else. That is what a husky is…true to themselves.

I decided to paint. I don’t care if I succeed or fail because it’s the trail I want to explore. I really don’t care if anyone likes it or not…I do, and that’s enough to make me happy. You find happiness in what you do, and how you approach this life you were given. If you want to change your stars…just do it.

No one knows who you are inside better than you do. If I take my huskies on a run in uncharted territory, they don’t fear it. They press forward, and accept whatever it is the trail offers. They live in the moment, and they don’t fear or fret about it. They press on because the journey is more important than the destination. That’s life in its simplest form…one day at a time. Each moment counts, each breath is one less you have left.

It’s not about meeting some fashion sense, or what anyone else thinks. It’s about living the best life you can. They enjoy each moment…the good and the bad.

This is a great lesson for us. You want to start a business? You want to go to college? Just do it, and all the nay-sayers be damned!

Sure, you might fail, but then again you might succeed. I tried painting, and I’m pretty happy with the way it’s going. Tucker’s Ridge is the best thing I’ve done so far. Win or lose I gave it a try, and I’m happy I did.

No Fear! That is the huskies lesson of life, and you should embrace it for you only go around once.

Go do what you’ve been thinking about, or accept what life gave you.

The choice is in all of us.

TJ

Looking back 2 years ago

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Mr. Cooper 13 months old.

Cooper Report: I’m not sure if anyone reads these or not. It really doesn’t matter because I’m blogging my Journey with an amazing animal. For those of you dog lovers interested I’m trying to share my trials and tribulations as Cooper and I learn together. Maybe someday you’ll own a Husky, or want to understand what makes a working dog tick. If so maybe this will help you understand what I’ve learned so far.

Today I had an “Epiphany” Generally the term is used to describe scientific breakthrough, religious or philosophical discoveries, but it can apply in any situation in which an enlightening realization allows a problem or situation to be understood from a new and deeper perspective.

True that’s pretty deep for a rock drummer but we have our moments. I’ve spent so much time with Cooper since he arrived last February. Walking miles with him, watching him grow into what he is now. I’ve been so frustrated at times I wished I’d never bought him. And now I can’t imagine life without him.

He drove me insane at times with his unbelievable amount of energy. We grew together, and learned about each other in small steps. Trial and error, most of the error was on my side as I didn’t understand him. I wanted to force him to be what I wanted, and that works about as well as forcing your children to be what you want them to be.

Every living being whether animal or human is unique. They have their own way and the secret is to figure out what that is and how to shape it into positive traits. Today marked a huge milestone in Cooper’s journey to be what he was bred to be.

4000 years of DNA cannot be ignored. Cooper is a Siberian Husky, genetically engineered to be part of the family. Work hard and love all those around you. That is the basic instinct of a Husky; they love people, dogs, and children.

Incredible amounts of energy emanate inside of these dogs. They were made to pull heavy loads through impossible places, and in the most inhabitable conditions you can imagine. You have to understand what drives them before you can guide them into our somewhat sedate lifestyle most of us live now.

So back to today. I hooked Cooper up to my bike for our usual evening run. Up to this point he has not been the leader and ran beside my bike instead of his occasional burst of pulling. I’ve learned to be patient; he will be what he will be. I’d prefer him to be a lead dog, but the choice is his. Lead, follow, or get out-of-the-way!

We started out and I was surprised as he pulled out in front and started to pull me. Before tonight he only did that when something was of great interest. Tonight was much different; he pulled because he wanted to. He’d connected to his roots and I could read his face as he looked back at me.

He was enjoying running hard and pulling me along with him. He led us and supplied the muscle that drove us up the road. Cooper is a natural athlete, easily pulling my 175 pounds and bike along like it’s nothing. He stretched his legs and drove us up the hills like it was nothing.

I encouraged him and I think we finally made that connection between a man and his dog. A new chapter has begun in our relationship. One of trust and mutual respect. I love him and he loves me back enough to do what I ask of him no matter what it is.

The exhilaration of having Cooper galloping down the road, pulling us along at warp speed is hard to describe.

It doesn’t get any better than this! If you ever get to experience this feeling you’ll die happy!

TJ

Have no Fear:

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My mom is a professional artist…I am not. But that’s okay because at age 60 I’m finally giving it a try. She can do things with paint and pencils I have no clue about. But then I can weld a body panel, paint a car, and a few other things she cannot.

This is the first time I’ve ever tried to actually paint something. Something I care about which is huskies. You have to really love your subject or you won’t try very hard.

One thing I’ve learned from a husky is don’t be afraid of failure. They don’t even know the word or worry about it. They do their best and that is what we all should do. Don’t be afraid to fail at something new.

Find what you love and go do it!

I’ve shared my journeys with the huskies, my band, and now my art. Like all things it’s a work in progress and you have to try to find out where you are. If you don’t try something new then you will never find out what your true potential is.

So, give it a try…what do you have to lose?

TJ

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