Here is a thing that I didn’t know existed: dog sledding in the subtropics. Yes, it is true, you can dog sled where there is no snow!
As you may know, I am very fond of animals. I have a lot of experience caring for both exotic and wild animals (e.g. in zoos, wildlife rehab centres, and nature centres) and domestic animals from chickens, cows, and horses to cats and dogs.
When I was walking about in Brisbane, I spent a month or so dog sitting for two handsome sled dogs while their owners were in the UK. (I was also looking after their blue-tongued skink, but “skink sitting” doesn’t sound very illustrious.) They had a very rigorous schedule of training and a strict diet.
I ran at least 5 k with them every day, sometimes with a waist harness. That is, I had two dogs of more than 30 kg each (70 lbs) tied to my waist while we were running. Everything went fine…unless they spotted a wallaby.
Speed training = two sled dogs, a waist harness, and a wallaby.
We also trained with a bicycle. They were harnessed to the front of the cycle and to each other. They were very well trained dogs, and responded to a variety of commands: haw for left, gee for right, onby for forward, hike for faster, whoa for halt.
And their diet was a varying regime of raw ground meat (sometimes including kangaroo, but also chicken and beef), a mixture of oats and dried vegetables, and a standard dog food mix, with chicken necks for treats.
The dogs, that is, not the skink, who mostly just slept under the heat lamp with his feet dangling.
Allow me to introduce the dogs.
I know, you must be impatient to learn how one can possibly sled with no snow! I sure was.
Well, you just need a special kind of sled, is all:
There are a lot of people who enjoy this! There are whole clubs, in fact. And when Dakota and Kiyuke’s owner returned, she let me come along on the next race. I was pretty proud because she told everyone how I had kept the dogs very fit!
Dog racing is very noisy!
There are a lot of good looking dogs.
After a lot of hubbub and baying, we race!