Getting to know you

So I thought about what I might say in my blog today.  Yes, Rich took Sascha out for a run today.  However, I didn’t film any of it nor did I even watch today’s run.  I know, that was bad of me.  But I thought about what is really going on deep down between Sascha and my family. 

It’s been a little over 3 months since we’ve adopted Sascha as  a member of our family.  She is begining to put her pawprints all over us.  It started out slow enough, but we have each been affected differently by her goal to make us her own. 

First, there is the insidous one paw, two paw, whole dog ploy.  This is her favorite thing to do to Rich.  Sascha leans against him as he sits in his chair reading the paper in the evenings.  She puts one paw in his lap and he barely notices her.  Pretty soon, there are two paws followed by the entire dog in his lap.  Rich manages to turn her over on her back to  rub her tummy.  After that, she gently paws his face from time to time as if asking for something.  We may never know what she expects though. 

Rick loves to play pull with one of her toys.  She has a flat fox that she loves to nibble on and roll all over.  When Rick sits in Rich’s office chair, Sascha makes no pretense about being a lap dog.  She just crawls directly into his lap and expects the pets to accompany this.  For that matter, Sascha doesn’t care where Rick sits, she will be in his lap no matter what!

As I work in the office, Sascha moves around the house, finding several places to stretch out.  But as soon as I get up, she is right by my side nugding me in the direction she wants me to go.  That’s the thing about Sascha.  She has great herding instincts and uses them most on me!

Sascha has another characteristic about her. We had heard from the people at the rescue about her habit of jumping up on you.  We saw her do this with a couple of the people to whom she felt close.  We decided not to deny her this habit, but she can give you a hug by invitation only.  So when one of us comes home, we tap our chest and she gives us one of her special hugs.  The rescue uses the term husky hug, but Sascha truly gives husky hugs. 

After her run tooday, Sascha relaxed for a quick nap at Rick’s feet while he was rubbing her tummy.  With eyes closed and a deep sigh, she stretched out on her back and relaxed, a lot.

Anyway, Sascha has been incorporating her special character into our family dynamics.  We can definitely see where she is adding to our family.

Making a splash

When we were considering Sascha as an adoptee, the people at Free Spirit Husky Rescue explained a simple fact about Huskies.  These dogs were bred for much cooler climates than where they tend to live.  They can get very warm, very quickly.  This can be an issue when scootering. 

We learned the rules that temp plus humidity cannot be over 120.  So  60 degree day with 60 percent humidity means you cannot take your dog running.  This shouldn’t be a problem with the winters in northern Illionis though.  Now it just has to get colder.  That’s not something I look forward to!

So to combat the problem with heat, we were required to buy a kiddie pool.  Everyone assured us that Sascha just needed a lillte water to stand in to cool off.  But like any good child, Sascha can’t resist diving in and splashing around. 

This makes for one very wet dog at the end.  No matter how much she shakes off, she still has half the pool in that fur.  The good part is that she does tend to dry quickly.  And she just does not understand the concept of being dried off with a towel.  I don’t think it helps much either.

I’m just waiting to see what happens when she rolls around in the snow.  I’ve got a feeling she might prefer the cold and snowy weather to the warm indoors, except to sleep. 

Oh well, here’s Sasca having fun in her pool.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/E9bGTYd2a_s?hl=en&fs=1

Definitely not a walk around the block

So the dually scooter arrived at the house on Friday.  I call it that because it has dual wheels on the back for better stability, which I need.  It’s just like the pickup trucks withe dual set of wheels on the back.  Maybe it’s a redneck thing.

Anyway, Rich put the scooter together on Saturday.  Sascha and I both watched him to make sure he did it right.  The scooter is red with a large platform to stand on.  I really like the way it looks.  Of course, it’ll be 5 more weeks until I get to ride on it.  Yeah, the doctor gave me the little kids’ speech to stay off scooters while wearing the cast.

Rich decided to take the scooter out for a trial kick by himself.  That went well, so he decided to take Sascha out mushing. I got out with the video camera to film this epic event.  Once Sascha realized she was going for a run, she got all excited.  She even barked, which she rarely does.

Rich got the harness on Sascha and connected her to the scooter.   Then he yelled, “Hike”, which means go in Mush.  Sascha came around to stand next to him.  Took a little bit to realize that’s what she is expected to do when they go walking.  It didn’t take long to convince her to take off running and pull the scooter though!

As I expected, Sascha had a hard time on the first trip around the block not to chase the squirrels.  Apparently, huskies love small, furry things.  She stalks out across the yard planning to catch a squirrel or two.  Rich shouted out, “On by” a couple of times.  That’s Mush for ignore it.  Sascah caught on and continued to run.

As they rounded the corner by the lake, I could see that Sascha was finally hitting her stride.  She was pulling the scooter behind her and enjoying every minute.  She headed straight for me, even though Rich was shouting, “On by.”  Sascha is definitely a mommy’s girl.  Rich actually complained they went too fast.  I didn’t think that was true since Holiday Hills finest didn’t give him a tcket.

We decided to let them go around around the block again,  Sascha looked like she was up for it.  She did go up the driveway looking for water.  It didn’t take a minute to get her back on the road and running.  This time around, she required minimal reminders to leave the squirrels alone.  Sascha reached me in good time and was definitely ready to stop.

We went back to the house then.  Rich removed her harness while I filled up her pool.  Not only did she need a drink, but she needed to cool down.  Huskies get warm fast because of their wonderful insulating fur. We were told she would require a kiddie pool to dip her toes into.  Sascha tends to dip the entire dog into it.  She didn’t fail me today either.

I forgot to use the video camera and get footage of her rolling around in the pool.  I promise to do this.  She has a very specific methodology for getting wet.  She splashes around first and then dives in.  It’s cute. I promise.

So that’s the description of our first day out mushing in the neighborhood.  More to follow, I’m sure.  Today’s activities are posted on YouTube at:

Consequences

So we went to the Urban Mushing class on Sunday.  The location and the people were very nice.  Julie and her team were very knowledgeable.  The attendees were varied in the breeds and theirs reasons for learning scootering.  Six people or teams were signed up for the class, so I felt lucky to be able to join the class.

Sascha was excited to be in the class.  She recognized the instructor. Or maybe it was the scooter that she recognized.  She loves to wear the harness and we got confirmation that it fits well.  Sascha is all ready to pull.

During class, we covered all the things to prepare your dog to pull something behind them.  The basic commands are pretty easy.  Most of the dogs seemed to catch on to the idea and follow through.  I chose to use the musing commands.

  • Hike is run.
  • Gee is right.
  • Haw is left.
  • Whoa, of course, is stop.
  • On by means to ignore something and continue.

Sascha already understands all of these commands and what is expected of her.  I uuse them when we walk also.  On by is very hard for her when there is a squirrel or other furry creature in sight. 

When it was finally her turn to pull the scooter, Sascha was in heaven.  Unfortunately, Rick was watching and videotaping the cool part of the class.  Sorry there is no video.  I’ll post some of what I have when Rick gives mt the files. 

Also unfortunately, I fell at the end and cracked my wrist.  It was really stupid on my part.  I learned I have to pay close attention to my dog.  I don’t plan to stop now.  I just have to stay off the scooter for a while.  I’m sure I can convince Rick or Rich to take Sascha while I heal. 

Sascha trying to comfort me with my broken arm.
Sascha trying to comfort me with my broken arm.

I also got confirmation that my scooter is expected on Friday.  Can’t wait!  Sascha will be happy to see I’m sure!

Happy scootering!  I’ll try to get some video posted this week, I promise.

Harnessing the power of a dog

Yesterday, I received the mushing harnesses and towlines in the mail.  Gary had given me the name of a place in Minnesota where I could order a harness for Sascha.  After getting her measurements, I called and talked to Shilon at Black Ice Dog Sledding.  Thanks for making the ordering so easy!

Sascha wearing her harness
Sascha wearing her harness

Today, I did tested the harness on Sascha.  She got so excited when she saw it.  She knows what the harness means.  She stepped up and I put it on her. 

It seemed to fit really well.  I’m going to have Gary confirm the fit on Sunday when we attend the urban mushing class.  The harness is red to match my scooter and I had reflected tape added so people can see us. That’s the flash on the side that you see.

 
It’s funny, but Rich was yelling Hike (which means go) and Sascha turns and looks at him like he’s crazy.  She knows she can’t run in the house.  Mom will yell at her again!  

Sascha walking in her new booties
Sascha walking in her new booties

I also ordered a set of booties for her feet.  They were all felt, so I’m not sure how they will work in the snow and ice and rocks.  We’ll have to see.  Rick and I put them on her and you could tell right away that she’s worn booties before.  She didn’t try to shake them off or walk too funny.  She was cute.

The scooter people said that they were still working on getting the frame painted.  Hopefully, we hear something by early next week.  After I finish my class, I feel like I’ll need to practice.  You know that practice, practice, practice makes perfect!  I’ll be a long way from perfect for a while.

Darn blog!  I’m going to have to figure out how to make this thing do what I want.  Conform to my will!  OK, I’ll try something else tomorrow.

Hike! Gee! Haw! Mush!

Sascha going mushing
Sascha going mushing

Rich has graciously said that I could guest host my own blog right here.  Welcome to my blog on urban mushing, or dog scootering.

Back in July, we adopted a border colliehusky mix named Holly.  We rechristened her Sascha.  Over the last few months, she has warmed her way into our lives and our hearts.  Hopefully, we have been able to repay the favor to her.

When we met Sascha, they had told us that she had pulled a dog sled last winter as the lead dog.  I thought that was really cool.  Jason showed me a video of her pulling the team through the snow.  She was really fast!

In early October, we took Sascha to the Husky Howler to met up with her former caretakers.  Gary was demonstrating the art of dog scootering with his dogs.  I asked him to let Sascha pull the scooter and he agreed.  When he returned, he had one word for her, “Phenomenal!”

Rich and I discussed it on the way home and decided that I absolutely needed to get into urban mushig with Sascha.  So we bought a scooter!  Still waiting for delivery.  I ordered towlines and a couple of harnesses.  Still waiting for delivery on them, too.  Surprising how many other people want to learn urban mushing!

Gary gave my email address to a dog training location where he was teaching a class on dog scootering on October 16.  I jumped at the chance to do a formal class with him.  I’m sure Sascha will be just as eager, once she finds out.  Good thing is, she already knows what she needs to do.  I’m the one who needs to learn in this case!

So this is the start of my big adventures with Sascha as we begin to urban mush our way through the neighborhood, local state park, and other areas with a lot of ground to cover.  I’ve asked to Rick video tape my progress.  I expect to fall down and get pulled along a bit.  Hopefully, we are up and running soon.

I’m hoping this is the start of some fun posts and we can include plenty of pictures and videos.  So follow along and do keep up as best as you can as Sascha and I go mushing along!