There's a calmness in the kennels as the day breaks. Bait water has been prepped. The door slides open and the calmness brakes into chaos. They know what this means. They are ready. They are eager. With the pre run treat consumed, the truck moves into the loading position. Dog come flying to the main gait eagerly waiting to load up and head to the trail. It doesn't take much to see how much these dogs love their jobs!
For the dogs its fulfillment. It's a sense of purpose. Its tapping into the most primal sense of what they were bred to do.
For me it's absolute serenity. My "zen". Letting go of whatever has been eating at my soul gets swept away in the subtle swish of the runners on the snow, the patter of the paws as they trek down the trails. Clinking of the brass snaps. It really is the most connected we'll be, without even having to say much at all.
In my chaotic daily life I have found it's the silence of the trails that I revere the most. To be in tune with my team instead of a screaming banshee (we all know 'that' musher) is the heightening of the senses. Watching their movement, the tightness of the tug lines, the lengths of the tongues, the rate and depth of the breathing of each dog. I study quietly from the runners, a constant evaluation. We stop for a trail break. They know the expectation. Calm with eager anticipation. Wait too long and the anticipation turns into harness bumps to make sure I haven't forgotten we are out here to work. Break free the hooks from the snow, ease off the brake, and resume our flight down the trails.
Returning to the trail head. The body language from the team is calm, satisfied. The pride I feel in my heart as they make those final turns back toward the truck. The sense of accomplishment emanates from me its felt through the team, and returned from them. We have accomplished so much more than just mileage, we've become stronger as a whole team.
Back at the truck, waters are dropped, cookies are given. We start with the wheel dogs and work our way back up the line to the leaders. Back to their drops on the truck. Harnesses are removed, feet are checked, and massages begin. Each dog gets a full rub down. Not only were they earned, its also a good time to check for any improper harness wear, knots, heat, or any other issues. Its also just a joy to show a mutual respect and appreciation for what they gave me out on the trail. They share a glimpse of their world with us when they answer the request to run for us. Always remember and respect that. Enjoy the ride, enjoy the Zen.
Growing up in Montana my love of the Siberian Husky started at a young age. It has been quite a journey so far. There has been much to learn and still a lot more yet to learn! I truly believe that we are never too old, too experienced, or too full of ourselves to learn something new. I also believe that knowledge is useless unless we are willing to share it with others.