Ginger, the sled dog, loves winter. This is due to her genetic nose disorder–called Snow Nose–which gives her the false illusion that she’s an Alaskan Husky training for the Iditarod.
Even though Ginger dreams of running with the world’s elite snow doggies in this grueling race, if you’ve read past posts, you will know that if Ginger ever entered the Iditarod, she would lose! LAST PLACE! LAME-O! LOSER! Sorry, girl…but you know deep inside its true. (I’m talking to Ginger now)
You just don’t have the stamina to do a 1,049 mile race. Nor do you have the willpower to resist eating all that Alaskan snow between Anchorage and Nome. When you tired after about 100 feet and laid down to start eating the fluffy white stuff, the other dogs on your team would hate you…and maybe gang up on you and throw you to the side to be eaten by a polar bear (which I’ve heard isn’t a fun experience).
So, because I don’t want my dog to race in the far north and maybe end up getting eaten by a polar bear, I let her outside whenever it snows and give her free reign to pretend she’s in the Alaskan wilderness competing for the rights to doggy bragdom! We have a park across the street and it is Alaska, in Ginger’s mind (which is small and easily manipulated).
Once I let Ginger off her leash, she zooms forward in the snow, zigzagging and making the first tracks (which is an exhilarating experience for anyone…even if you’re not a dog). Inevitably, she will zoom over to the pond and zero in on those weird critters that waddle on the ice and make repetitive WAK WAK sounds.
She stares…and stares…and I can tell her simple mind is short circuited on one thought… “I want to say Hi to those funny critters!”
It’s hard being an Alaskan Husky in a Golden Retriever’s body. If she was Balto, the real sled dog, she could leap over the fence in a single bound and play chase on the ice with her new waddle wakk-ing friends.
But, alas, she’s not Balto (even though her genetic nose disorder makes her THINK she’s his close cousin). She can’t leap fences in a single bound (sometimes it’s hard just to get in the car). ‘That’s one small step for man…but a darn giant one for dogkind!’
So Ginger stands at the fence and stares at the ducks, her poor short-circuited mind replaying the same thought over and over, “I want to say Hi! I want to say Hi”…
…Until I rescue her from her psychosis by calling her back. Then it’s like the thought never entered her mind. The ducks are forgotten as she leaps back through the snow to get to me, zigzagging once more to make artistic snow trails through the pristine Alaskan wilderness. She stops and makes a dog angel by rolling all over on her back, then gets up and shakes it off…then gives me a goofy grin.
Then she sits down and eats more snow…and dreams of winning the Iditarod…because she knows she can! She’s a sled dog, after all. Look at that noble face and those athletic shoulders! She was born to run. Mush! Mush!
- Dog Sled Races & Winter Carnival (hummingbirdand10th.com)