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Born to run in the cold

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Some dogs are meant to run – on and on and on. That is one reason that dog sled races are becoming more and more popular. In addition to the Iditarod (which is scheduled for March 1st this year), there are several other local and state competitions for dogs and owners to compete in.

For those that do compete, they feel as though it is a privilege. They have a deep, meaningful relationship with their canines and believe that the love and trust shared mutually between human and canine is built through day-to-day contact and effort. Accordingly, they believe that both animal and human win through this humbling experience!

A local dog sled event was held this past Sunday, January 26th at Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois. The event was entitled “Husky Heroes” and the public was invited in to watch dog sledding demonstrations and to learn more about Siberian Huskies.

The Huskies put on dog sledding demonstrations around a 1/3-mile loop set up at the park. There was also a video demonstration that people were invited to watch that explained the role the dogs played in Alaskan history and about the Iditarod.

People of all ages are interested in this cold-weather sport. Depending on where they were brought up, the younger, the better. Development is the name of the game in this frenzied sport.

Dog sledding does not come without risk. The person on the sled being pulled by a team of dashing dogs must remain steady and calm. Since there are normally several teams of dogs competing in the races, the dogs can get scrambled together in the effort to get up to the front of the pack and be the leaders of the race. The dogs sometimes literally run right over the other competing dog sled teams.

A typical pace can be up to 30 miles per hour and that pace can be sustained for about 16 minutes at a time; accomplishing about 20 miles in a three hour span of time. The dogs can run anywhere from 50 to 100 miles a day depending on the terrain.

Although Siberian Huskies were born to run, one wrong move can cost the team the race. Like one 16-year-old competitor, Lily Stewart, explained in an article that appeared in the U.S. Airways Magazine in December, 2013, “It’s like the NASCAR of the animal kingdom.”

If you get a chance, check it out. The sport is not for everyone, but dog enthusiasts may just like the fact that the human-canine bond helps competitors during these grueling races become closer than many human families are.

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