Thursday, March 23, 2017

Insane walks again!

Starbuck is so trustworthy off-leash that I had forgotten what it was like to walk a younger husky on a leash. But those memories are coming back. I got bigger shoes so as not to damage my toes. My neighbors call out, "Are you walking those dogs, or are they walking you?" (SO CLEVER! I HAVE NEVER HEARD THAT BEFORE!) My arm and leg muscles are sore as they re-acclimate to our new pace. When Autumn and Linden were 12.5 years old, I drew this:

They had quite terrible leash manners! They'd walk around behind me, cross each other's leashes, etc, etc. I learned that if I jogged at a decent clip, they'd jog along in front of me and have better manners. I told people this:

I didn't know DL at the time. I informed him the night before last that I would no longer "walk" Cricket since her bouncing and caterwauling drove me crazy. He looked nonplussed. "You can't just run everywhere!" I laughed and laughed! Oh yes, I could and I would. From now on, if I am going somewhere, I am runnin'!

The one mercy they have (and Cricket is now my fourth of these creatures, so I believe I am now allowed to make blanket statements and start calling their commonalities things that "they" do) is that if I want to stop and take a rest, they will happily sit still with me as long as I like. They don't get impatient or try to drag me off. In this way, they are more patient with people on foot than they are with their sled drivers. When a sled is still, they are rarely so patient. They leap and howl and strain against the break! I'm thankful that they let me stand there and, for example, adjust my scarf or add or remove a layer of clothing without yanking me off my feet! So if I need a break, I stand there. But as soon as I take one... single... step, they are off! I used to call Autumn and Linden "sideways gravity" because they pulled me sideways!

So this is how I walk with Cricket, recycling lessons learned from Autumn and Linden. I put her in a walking harness so that when she pulls, she doesn't choke herself. But it's not as comfy or padded as an actual sled dog or skijor harness, so she can't really throw her whole weight against it. And in this photo she nicely demonstrates how she lets her line go slack when I stand still:

Starbuck sez, "Roo! Roo! Pet ME!"

From the harness, Cricket is connected to a towline, a skijor bungee, and then me, by the skijor belt! This is her happy place, with Starbuck just a bit ahead, but not too far. It looks very calm and peaceful, but back there I am trying not to get dragged off my feet! She is crazy strong!

I can't wait until she is trustworthy off-leash, but until then, I am runnin'!

Oh, as long as I'm grabbing photos and sharing them, here is a cute one of the pup from across the street:

She visits sometimes, unbeknownst to her owners. They are the kind of "bad dog owners" rural people constantly complain about... they let her and their other two dogs run amok unsupervised. I hope they never get hit by a car!

Two boneless huskies, coming right up!

Cricket sure loves to snuggle!

And then she goes boneless:

Roo's snuggling is so much more dignified!

This is not exactly dignified!

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