Monday, April 14, 2008

Who Let the Dog Drive???

Yesterday the weather was still cool and snowy, so I thought to myself that I'd better get back out to the trails for what might likely be my last run of the season. It turns out that everyone else had the same idea -- when I pulled into the parking lot, there must have been a dozen dog trucks there. Granted, that's not as crowded as it is on race day, but it's definitely more people than I like to share the trails with. When I picked my parking spot, I noticed that Bonnie and Jim were out with their dogs as well, and I parked beside them.

Hooking up quickly, I put Zed in single lead, Calvin and Balu in team and Indi and Clover in wheel. Irritatingly, Clover is now in full-fledged heat again. I noticed that she was bleeding while we were running. I thought I'd be able to dodge the bullet this time, since I have her scheduled to be spayed on April 22, but it looks as if she beat me to the punch and is going to get one last cycle in.

We decided to do the four mile trail since I imagined there'd be a good amount of traffic on the main trail sections. Amazingly, I didn't see anyone while I was out on the trail. That's really saying something, because we were going pretty slowly! I laughingly say that at any given moment in my dog team of five dogs, I probably have three dogs or maybe three and one-half dogs pulling. It's a given that Indi doesn't pull (he just runs and keeps up most of the time) and Calvin is pretty hit-or-miss because I think he's not in good physical condition. That means that Clover, Balu and Zed are doing more than their fair-share of work and we creep along at a crawl. Add to the mix that yesterday, Zed was visibly distracted by the fact that Clover is in season. He never tries to come back to visit her in team, but he stops to sniff everywhere and lifts his leg on any available vertical surface, including trees and branches while we are trying to move down the trail! I was a little annoyed at this but ended up just hopping off of the sled and running up the hills behind my team. Suffice it to say that I really cannot wait until next season, when I'll have three more adult dogs and File' to add to the mix. That should give a more pleasing amount of dog power.

As we finished our run and headed back to the parking lot, I tried to direct Zed to the truck when we emerged into the clearing. "Haw. Zed, HAW!" He wasn't having any of it. He headed straight for Rex Jones' truck and trailer and could not be dissuaded from going that direction. Oh my gosh, how embarrassing to have this multi-Quest, multi-Iditarod leader suddenly go deaf on me in front of twenty people!! Damn, dogs are so much like kids. I had to yell at Jim to please call Zed to come over towards my truck, and even then, he still didn't want to go that direction.

Everyone got some Yummy Chummies for post-run snacks and I stuck around for a little while to wait for Jim, who had taken four dogs on the two-mile, to get back in. While Bonnie and I were waiting, I noticed that my dogs in the car seemed to be making themselves pretty darn comfortable. In fact, Zed had settled in the passenger seat (which is his new favorite spot) and Calvin had assumed the driver's position. In fact, at one point, one of them even honked the horn! Bonnie snapped some photos of them with her camera (thanks, Bonnie!). The dogs are a little difficult to make out, since they had fogged all of the truck windows up. But it's still a pretty funny sight. Calvin is definitely smiling for the camera. Silly dog!

Well, I still don't know if that was the last run of the season or not. We seem to have gotten a little snow overnight, so who can tell. If we get another run in, you'll be the first to know.

Happy spring! :)


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