It’s me, OK, there’s never going to be an easy way of running the dogs. And it’s usually going to be me who gets dinged up. And if there is a way to wreck a cart or sled, I have come up with it. Or will invent it.
I was lulled into a false sense of security when I took the puppies — all four of them, 2 each 4.5mo Malamutes and 2 each 5mo Siberians for walkies this morning. I took them to the walking track — flat, paved, no trees to jump out and snag your lines — hooked them up in their little harnesses and used a brace coupler up front and used my skijor belt to hook to and the little demons quickly showed me that this was a terrible idea <G>. No, not really, after the first 1/4 mile of tangles, straighten up, take 2 steps, tangles again — they actually figured it out. Malamutes in front, Siberians in back. We did 2 MILES this way. And once again I can just shake my head in astonishment at what you can learn about structure from watching dog butts working. The Mal baby that has straighter angles than her cousin had to really work to keep up, often bunny hopping into a lope to catch up. The Mal baby with dang near perfect angles NEVER came out of a trot (except for the tangles, but you get the idea.) And the Siberians, aw, well, they are a joy to watch, even if it’s just from the rear. Maybe someday I’ll get to see my dogs working from the side or the front… Not sure how, but maybe someday <grin>
So.. come home at 7:30 and it’s still cool — it is in fact, the FIRST cool morning of the year. And I started looking at the new-to-me Sacco cart. And I started thinking about Tom T. and so, of course, flush with the success of Puppy-Team’s first time out, I hooked up Tom.
This is going to cause a lot of heads to shake, but it’s a new vehicle for me. And I didn’t realize the seat back folded down. Or if I knew, I had forgotten. Or if I remembered, I didn’t realize the consequences. And since this is the FIRST run of the year, and the thing runs up on Tom and scares him, I walked it down the hill/driveway with Tom hooked in and me walking beside holding it back. No, sitting and holding the brake is not something that occurred to me. And if it had, I wouldn’t have gotten into the position where I had a wreck, so thanks for pointing that out.
But I am walking. And we get to the flat and I glance over and I remember/realize that this thing has a place to stand on the back, somewhat like a training rig or sled. So I did. And I can peddle a little and encourage Tom to build his confidence and go faster and everything was wonderful until we were attacked by a Beaver.
Now Tennessee Beaveri are not the same thing as some of your Western or Canadian Beaveri. These are little scrappy fellas who have had to really scrape by as we encroached on their turf. They are small and feisty and generally have a bad attitude about danged near everything. This one was no exception.
So here we are tooling around at a nice respectable Malamute trot — and this is a lanky Malamute who runs lead in front of the Siberians with no problems. And suddenly he stops. On the proverbial dime. And since I have forgotten/never knew that the seat back folds DOWN and since I am holding onto said seat back, when he stops, and the bar that goes over his back and hooks to the cart stops, and therefore the cart stops, I don’t. And then the cart takes off at an unexpected angle and I am drowning. So from standing upright, silently congratulating myself that this year is going to be different, I have enough experience to actually pull off a season with no major catastrophes, and nothing worthy of giggles from my friends… with these thoughts in mind, I realize I am sprawled across the cart on my stomach with my face on the creek and Tom is sitting on my head.
Shaking like a leaf and whimpering.
Tom is not a small dog.
I somehow manage to get out from under him without actually drowning, just a big lungful of water to make it easier to cough and gag and wretch, and I realize he is backed completely out of the harness and is trying to crawl into my lap and then catch a glimpse of the Biker Babe Beaver From Hell. Oh, she is pissed. I mean she is unreasonable. Just because she was standing in MY training lane when we came barreling around the corner. And just because she has moved in over the summer — she’s a squatter for Pete’s sake — she thinks she owns this place. And just because she is defending her turf from scardy-cat Malamutes and their clumsy owners who have delusions of musherhood. She is spitting curses at us and waving her arms and saying things about Tom’s mother that I happen to know to be true — but she has no right to say them in that tone of voice.
And then of course, Tom decided to defend his mother’s honor — and there’s really no need, she really was a bitch, in every sense of the word and we all know it. And he is NOT harnessed right now. And I am still sprawled across the cart and we are sinking into the beaver pond. And I grab his hind leg just as he lunges for Ms Beaveri Pissed-offerous. Which means I get another big faceful of water. And dog nails raked down my arm. And Ms BP goes under water.
I have this fleeting image of a U-boat submerging, but I am pretty sure she has left the building.
So I get Tom and the Sacco cart and me back on terra firma. And I get him back in harness. And I think I will WALK home. And Tom keeps muttering under his breath what he will do to this impertinent little hussy. And I’m half inclined to let him.
And I remember that this is the FIRST day of fall training. I have months more to look forward to. Oh. Joy.