Throughout the ages stories have been told about the tough, savage sled dogs that endure the harsh northern environment to drag loaded sleds up and down the trails of Alaska. According to the legends, many of them would just as soon rip your throat out as look at you.
And then there is my team…
Despite the fact that I’ve told them time and time again I want them to act like the tough Iditarod sled dogs they are when we are out in public, they consistently ignore me and turn into the biggest snuggle bunnies with the slightest provocation.
Today was the team’s appointment to get blood drawn and their EKG’s. In smooth precision a half dozen vet tech’s run the dogs through a well rehearsed routine – first a tech scans the dog for existing microchips and then 2 techs draw blood from the dog’s jugular vein. The dog is then lifted onto a exam table, laid on their side, six or so leads attached to them and an 8 second EKG done. If it is a rookie, a microchip is inserted and the dog is done. I’m told a 20 dog Iditarod team can be done in just over an hour – not like I would really know – as once we include snuggle and cuddle time mandatory for my group – it is an hour to an hour and a half before I’m out of there.
It started off not too bad today with Crunchie. He is a bit of a Momma’s boy and wasn’t thrilled by all the strangers working on him. Next in was Squeaky and our ‘rough tough’ sled dog image began to fall apart. Draco was the beginning of the end as he arched his back and accepted back scratches like a cat. When I turned around and found one of the vet techs sitting on the floor with Loki stretched out, on his back in her lap, accepting belly rubs I knew all was lost.
Kara put the final nail in the coffin when she had to be coaxed UP after her EKG. She liked the attention way too much and didn’t want it to end.
Sweet, soft, cuddly, adorable, cute were just samples of the words used to describe the team. Far from the rough, tough, solid image we lust after….
Oh all right – I admit it – I’m the one that has turned them into this bunch of ‘sled pets’ (to use a term stolen from California musher, Melissa Beers) and in reality, I’d have it no other way. I adore that they thrive on attention and affection – even if my vet checks do take longer then most.
Additional images can be viewed here.