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Saturday, 11 February 2012
Today was one of those perfect February days we love here in the 'near north' part of Ontario!

Bitterly cold~ the kind of cold that makes men with mustaches sport their own icicles~ and brilliantly sunny.
The sun is growing warmer every day, but the cold clings to winter a while longer.
And Canadians put on their snow pants (young and old) and a wide array of fantastical and practical toques and hats and hit the great outdoors.

This weekend was dog sled racing weekend in a neighboring community, and as we have often in our 6 years here, we set out to enjoy it!

Being a long time fancier (and sometimes 'dog snob'), I love any canine sporting event, and my daughter is very much her mother's child.  There is something magical about watching these animals do what they were born to do.
And run.
(Have you ever tried walking a husky on a leash? Pull. And run.)

You have to admire the grace and drive of these lean machines.
And their trainers who can handle teams of dogs flying as fast as 20 mph!

These dogs have been bred and cross-bred for speed, responsiveness, endurance and strength.

Unlike many other canine sports where you will see a purity of breed, sled dog racing creates an amazing array of dogs.

There were purists with all-husky teams.
We also saw an all-Border Collie team, a team of rangy feral looking Canadian Eskimo Dogs, lots of Lab and Pointer mixes, and heavily coated team of Chow crosses.
It was fascinating to see dogs of distinctly non-husky shape and colours turn and pierce you with husky blue eyes, telling a little of their heritage!

We even met a few 'Greysters' (above)~ a cross between German Shorthairs and Greyhounds.
Look at the power int hose boys!
They were competing in the two-dog skijoring... I thought skijoring looked like fun until I saw them blast off~ at which point I was pretty sure I'd rather be on a sled, than attached at the waist to all that power in motion!

"Muska"  (above) was more my speed.

We were able to catch the beginning and end of the one dog and two dog skijoring and the start of the 4-dog/ 4 mile sled races before the cold did us in.

The races were exciting, no question, but I think our favourite part of the day was visiting with a team of dogs who knew a good thing when they met it... a kid with an insatiable love of dogs willing to make sure that every one of eight got loved on equally!
While many sled dogs are not socialized as pets, these guys were more than happy to wrestle, have belly rubs and exchange hugs.

On the way home, Rowan asked me to call our friend Naomi and invite her to come over with her Beagle, Hunter.  She had figured out that 4.5 lb. Murray couldn't pull her, and that Archie the Sheltie wouldn't pull her, so she needed Hunter, her skis and a harness.

She and Hunter spent a fun hour falling down and running about on the lake, preparing, so I am told, to compete next year in the skijoring races!


EMMA said...

What lovely photo's, sounds like a fantastic day. My son went dog sledging a few weeks ago and loved it. He's going to a 'trapper' day camp next week to learn all about 'surviving' in the winter woods!!

around Britain no plane said...

i had no idea you could even do this! It looks immense fun - definitely better than the hedgehog olympics, which I'm told are run in the US! Nicola and

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