A Doggy Style Workout

4 Sep


I’ve got a long list of obsessions. Dogs happen to fall toward the  top of said list.  When I say obsessed, I mean I’m obsessed in an I watch Youtube puppy videos on Friday nights/ and talk to strangers’ pets in baby voice / and dress my male dog in tutus kind of way, so when my mother in law told me that she set up a day to do land races at an Iditarod mush camp, it was pretty much all I could think about. Unrelated sidenote: When we were little kids, my brother and I collected stuffed dogs and would spend hours in our room playing Iditarod Races. This usually ended in screaming semi-violent fights over who won, but I can look past this and remember it fondly. Because I know in my heart that I was the winner. Anyway.  It turns out dogs need lots of exercise too (duh), and the the pro-athlete type in particular.  In order for the Iditarod pups to stay in shape over the summer, the dogs train by pulling go-kart “sleds.” This is opened up to public participation, which is how I ended up in a 4WD tractor bulldozing its way up the steepest hill (with a terrifyingly sheer drop on each side) ever. As we climbed toward the top, it crossed my mind that I may be participating in some sort of animal cruelty. When we finally made our way into Mush Camp, the dogs were all roped up and ready to go and they burst into a chorus of excited barking upon seeing us. I’ve never seen so many wagging tails in my life and any cause for concern passed quickly. 

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I was surprised to see several dozen dogs that looked nothing like I had expected. Alaskan Huskies differ from their fluffy, wolf-like Siberian cousins – they’re smaller, leaner, and bred with labs, greyhounds, German Shepherds and a number of other dogs to attain a speed that’s faster than the Siberian husky or Malamute is able to reach. So aside from being fast, they’re basically adorable, slobbery mutts.

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Did I mention that when we finished, we got to play with tiny cuddly furballs? Oh, well, we did. I die.

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Le Sigh.

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Also unrelated: Whale spotting! I made it clear from the beginning that I would only be satisfied if I saw a whale in the sea. Preferably many whales, leaping alongside the ship and doing flips and tricks like at Sea World (I was advised not to get my hopes up). The only whale I’ve seen in “nature” was just hanging out by the boats in Marina del Rey. Poor guy was just trying to catch some rays in the shallow water, but managed to end up surrounded by chattering news crews and curious neighbors (like myself) until he grew bored with the attention and swam back to his family – not exactly a majestic encounter. But we saw dozens of them from the boat. One even lept out of the water. I can go home happy now.  ♥

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