Submitted by Paulette J.
Two friends and I decided to go dog sledding in the Fair Hill area of Maryland, which features almost 6,000 acres of woods with wonderful trails. After our three sled teams had traveled several miles, I decided to turn back. My friends’ teams not only had more dogs, but theirs were conditioned for more miles than my Siberians. They continued on while I headed back for our trucks.
My team had three dogs: my two Maryland-bred Sibes and Slick Willie was running lead. I had adopted Willie from Iditarod musher Wayne Curtis, who is a member of Team Stormwatch. While Willie had never been trained as a lead dog, he has champion bloodlines and had run 1,500 with Team Stormwatch in Alaska. This certainly qualified him for leading my small team.
While backtracking to the trucks, we came to the first “Y” in the trail. Willie wanted to turn left, but I shouted “NO-GEE” which means “turn right” to a trained sled dog. Willie followed my command and turned right. I soon realized that we were headed in the wrong direction and was forced to turn around to the other trail. Not long after, we came to a second “Y” and Willie wanted to turn right. This time I shouted, “NO-HAW” which means “turn left.” Again, Willie obeyed my command and took the left trail. And, you guessed it… it was the wrong way! I turned my team around for a second time and took them down the correct trail. Finally, we came to a third “Y.” Before I could give any direction, Willie STOPPED. He turned around to look at me, like “well, dummy… which wrong turn do you want me to make this time?”
I laughed, threw my hands in the air and just said, “go ahead!” He hit the harness and easily lead my team right back to the trucks, which were just over the next small hill! I immediately made the long-distance call to Alaska so I could tell Wayne Curtis the story and we both laughed about me un-training his sled dog.
Does anyone else have a funny animal related story to share?