What a Canadian thing to do this winter. Dog sledding. Two of our new friends at the store are Sam and Marc-Andre of Harness Adventure. They just moved down from Churchill and brought their 13 mushing dogs to the balmy southern locale of Richer, Manitoba.
Anyone who knows me knows that winter and I don’t get along. Spending time outdoors in the cold is not my forte, even when its something as fun and interesting as going out on a dogsled.
So I deputized my staff for the experience, and arranged a group outing for a Sunday, while Jackie and I held down the fort at the store. And last Sunday, they excitedly got to go out and experience what the world of northern working dogs is all about. The opening sentence of the column was Lana’s mantra the week leading up to the outing, everyone was looking forward to the event.
They arrived on a chilly Sunday, anxious to spend time with some very amazing animals and see how they do what they do. Marc-Andre gave them a tour of the facilities, set in a very picturesque setting, and let them see how they work with the products we provide to them. Portioning 50lb “musher blocks” of frozen raw food is not something we normally deal with in the store, but Marc-Andre is very handy with the sawzall.
Then it was out to equip the pups for work. The girls helped with putting on the boots, setting up the traces and getting the teams into harness. Once the team was ready to run, they went out in pairs on the trail in the special sled with Marc-Andre. The sled allows one person to sit, and the other to stand an help steer while he called out the commands to the team.
While two people were out with him, the rest of the crew was enjoying spending time with the rest of the dogs. These are working dogs, of that there is no doubt. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t great pets as well. So there was lots of time spent playing and interacting with the dogs that were not out on the trail. And there was the the warming shed, with coffee and hot chocolate for anyone that needed a break from the cold.
The day included lots of picture taking, and even some GoPro video that we are going to edit and post on our website. The area and trails are lovely, birch trees and pines make you feel like you are in the deep bush, almost like taking a trip way up north and escaping the city life.
The day ended too soon, and the crew left having had an amazing adventure. Sam and Marc-Andre truly love their dogs, and it is obvious the dogs love them. No doubt that they have nothing but the best intentions for their animals, and that these wonderful dogs are well cared for and loved. Its great when people do things the right way, and these animals are definitely treated right.