I've been so bummed out about Newt, Brie and the craziness that has gone on at the LazyHuskyRanch bringing them home a month ago. There was a point when I thought I was done with dogs.
But then I realized it's up to me to provide the dogs direction and leadership. I realized Brie and Newt have an understanding of their place in the scheme of things and I removed them from that environment that was familiar to them: their blue barrels, their runs, their pack. They are happiest in their barrels. That is "home" to them.
Years ago at Frank's, I learned this lesson. How many lessons do we need to relearn in life!
I had a favorite in the dog yard at Franks, and it was Thor: a big black and white male who Frank said was part wolf. One day after dog chores, Frank laughed at me when I asked him if I could take Thor down to my cabin for the night. But, knowing experience is the best teacher, he allowed it, warning me first of Thor's importance as a wheel dog.
The night was a disaster. I tried putting Thor in my truck, which terrified him. I tried hooking him to a leash, which just about killed me. Once I got him to my cabin, he walked in and immediately peed on the post of the bunk and took a big dump in the middle of the small cabin floor. The smell was horrendous. So I tied him up outside.
Removed from the familiarities of his house, the dog yard and his pack, he howled all night long outside my cabin window. It was a long, woeful howl, a moan of one removed from the comforts of home, even though his home was only an electrical cable wire spool outside in a yard of 179 other huskies.
I swore then I'd never try to turn a working dog into a pet, that I'd never remove another sleddog from his element.
And I've done just that.
In the pack mentality, free from the familiarities of her house, dog yard, and chain run, Newt has become insecure, dominating and aggressive. She has attacked Mandy, Foxy, and her own sister, Brie numerous times since moving here, clearly trying to find her place within our pack, unable to balance running free with finding her place. But tonight, as we restructured our kennel with proper blue barrel houses and chain link runs, Newt became docile and quiet again. She was back in her element and comfortable.
I have learned so much in the last month about what I want, and what that means. It means sacrifice. It means acceptance (of dogs for what they are: incredible atheletes who are also wiley, crafty pack animals; of myself for where I'm at with so much to learn; of the frustrations of mistakes). It means tenacity and perseverance.
Why do I want this? When people learn I have eight dogs and enjoy the cold and snow, often they simply ask "why?"
What I get from this are qualities that I believe are some of the highest character-building qualities to life. I learn patience. I learn loyalty. I learn tenacity. I learn strength and endurance. I learn teamwork. I learn a sense of accomplishment and reward when the dogs have a good run and perform well; I learn a sense of frustration and sadness for mistakes I've made. I learn to own my mistakes and move on.
I'm back on track today and looking so forward to this winter again. I was spinning my wheels for awhile with angst and some let downs, but now I know where I'm going. I'm moving forward and heading up north soon.