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Cuba + Drifty = Tales of urban sled-dogs

photo 3Cuba” is a rescue. He had a rough start in life and at 1 year of age had already had 2 owners, had been “on the lam” on his own fending for himself, and had been in animal control for an extended stay before being rescued by Northern California Sled Dog Rescue (NorSled). He had been in foster care for about a month when we adopted him at 13 months old. Although he had been micro-chipped as a young pup, neither owner wanted him back and left him to stay in Animal Control (huh?!)… Thank you for the thousandth time NorSled, for springing this guy from jail and ultimately saving his life.

When Cuba first came to live with us he was afraid of everything. We immediately set out to socialize him and found that he adored small children and was fond of other dogs. He was so loving and so happy be at “home” and we could tell he wanted to please us. We are experienced Husky owners and knew he just needed to know how he fit in and understand what was expected of him. We hired good friend and amazing dog trainer Sioban Bowyer, owner of Cafe Dog. (Cuba can be seen on her “Fun Stuff” page). Sioban laid out a training plan that took us on public excursions with specific goals.
It certainly paid off, and last year he passed testing to earn his Canine Good Citizen designation through the American Kennel Club (AKC) – talk about being proud parents!
But more than that, Cuba has become a confident, loyal, even more amazing dog.

Another big part of Cuba being the happy and fulfilled dog he is comes from exercise and our family activities. He learned to pull and follow commands through some fun Dry Land Mushing Clinics we participated in throughout northern California. Cuba and his little sister Drifty (see below) are featured in a video at the 4:03 minute mark during just one of our training sessions held by Urban Go Dogs. < Click on the link to see some happy Siberian Husky sled-dogs!

photo 1Drifty” is Qualobo’s Sunny Snowdrift, and came to us through Barbara Schaefer of Qualobo Siberians. Barb was co-instructing a Dry Land Mushing clinic where we were getting trained along with Cuba (see above). Drifty was one of several Siberian Huskies in Barb’s dog truck and I met this sweet little girl as I was making the rounds visiting the staked-out dog team. Drifty was a shy little thing, and too timid to be one of the racing sled-dogs. But she responded to me and as I sat on the ground beside her she curled up in my lap and we became fast friends. It turns out that Barb was watching from a distance and had been waiting for Drifty to make a people connection. As a young puppy she was not adopted out because of her shyness and fearfulness. Well, after watching Drifty and me having sweet conversations for awhile during the 2-day mushing clinic, Barb offered us a chance to adopt this 13 month old amazing little girl. The rest of the family passed the Drifty test, including her soon-to-be big brother Cuba who was delighted to have a canine companion. Drifty also adores her big bro and loves to torment him with play. The two are inseparable.

Drifty also participated in training sessions from Sioban Bowyer from Cafe Dog that greatly helped her continue to come out of her shell. Along with her big brother Cuba, she also successfully completed testing to earn her Canine Good Citizen designation last year.

It turns out that Drifty took to pulling in harness like a real natural, and she quickly became an excited and crazy-happy sled-dog, pulling a Diggler scooter alongside her team-mate Cuba. We good-naturedly call them Team: Double Trouble. We only run Drifty + Cuba for fun and exercise and participate at a few fundraising events, but I bet if Drifty was put into a team of “real” sled-dogs she’d be one of the best!

Coming soon: before + after videos of Cuba + Drifty (Team: Double Trouble) as they learn the ropes of becoming sled dogs.


© 2014 deb davies thorkelson {bluerock / debrazone}  |  images: iPhone photos


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