Adventures in Mushing: Us and Them

We recently took a drive over the mountain and found ourselves at Heart Six Ranch, one of the local dog sled tour places. We found them quite unexpectedly, as we weren’t really looking for them. We just happened to turn down their road and I immediately recognized their kennels from the local live cam I like to watch.

I have to admit, I was a bit jealous. I mean, geographically speaking, it just doesn’t get any better than this. Especially at sunset!

While they do things completely different to us, I did notice some similarities. For one, it was loud. The pups were yipping and howling and making all kinds of racket, albeit much more than our pack does since we only have twelve and they have, well, way more than twelve.

Like our pack, they have horses for neighbors. We waved as they passed.

They also seem to have the same issue we have with the wild birds waiting in the trees above to swoop down and steal dog food. Except they have giant ravens while we have little starlings, but still, it’s just as annoying to both the dogs and the humans who pay for the food, I’m sure. 😄

We watched as they hooked up the teams and prepared to take off towards the Tetons, most likely for the adventure of a lifetime for the tourists onboard. We definitely know that feeling because it’s how we feel every time we go out! We feel so blessed that we get to run our team in the same general area and experience something that can only be described as magical.

There were a few key differences between us and them, however.

For one, they do it as a business while we do it as a hobby. I’m sure it’s a fun way to make money but it would be a bit stressful to me for a few reasons. Mainly the liability issue.

Also, our sled dogs have never been chained to a barrel or dog house. They are either loose in their pens or somewhere comfy inside.

Usually not on their dog beds (of course!). 🤨

While we do understand the need to keep working sled dogs contained and safe, we could never bring ourselves to chain ours up. Not all professional mushers do, but most do, as far as I’ve seen.

It would break my heart to look out and see my pups like that. How would they cuddle with each other for their afternoon naps?!!

We don’t really need to chain ours, though, since ours are more or less family pets who like to hang out and eat cookies and watch the Iditarod with us (which is running this week – go Dallas!) and just happen to go mushing now and then for fun.

And boy, is it fun!

We’d like to keep it that way, for us and for them. 😉

10 thoughts on “Adventures in Mushing: Us and Them

  1. Completely echo your sentiments exactly! Understand that’s how the large kennels does it, but how can we get cuddles and give treats like my husband putting dip on the chip since they don’t have opposable thumbs 😜.
    And also, gunna miss tracking Aliy this year 😢

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful ranch and live cam. Those live cams can be fun to watch.

    My wife and I were up in the Yukon, in Canada, about 10 years ago, when we came across a sled-dog ride tourist trap. All the dogs were chained to small platforms apart from each other. It was a sad sight to see, but based on your post, I’m starting to think it’s an industry-wide practice even in other countries.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It seems to be standard and they do it for a few reasons. One is to keep the dogs’ muscles evenly worked because running in circles like that between runs supposedly is better for conditioning. They also do it to keep dogs from breeding/fighting and to keep them from escaping. The dogs aren’t chained 24/7 since they’re worked daily and run for hours but it’s definitely a different lifestyle than what we live with our team.

      Liked by 1 person

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