Unfortunately I don't have any pics (*kicks myself repeatedly*) although I'm sure you'll all understand I had my hands quite full.... and I think this is definitive, absolute, total, complete, 100% proof that SHORTHAIRS ARE AWESOME KID DOGS.
Yesterday I woke up late for the one and only scheduled item I have for my week off: doing a skijoring demo with the local dog sledding club at Suncadia while others were giving dogsled rides to such folks that showed up. I don't belong to the club but as one of the more committed skijorers in the area I always feel somewhat obligated to represent this 'bastard step child' sport. How many uber-rich people would actually be interested in trying it I don't know, but I was willing to showcase it as best I could anyway.
The hounds really fit the bill for such 'meet and greet' events anyway. They usually attract a lot of attention since they look nothing like the classic 'sled dog', and they're almost always eager to get a cookie and a pat from total strangers- especially short people since BabyCakes has trained them to think of kids as a potential source of entertainment and food. I've also noticed that folks that are somewhat intimidated by the huskies tend to be won over by the short tailed bird dogs immediately, especially Dulcie and Anya since they're so small.
The ride area was set up as a short circle groomed into the golf course overlooked by the resort's sales office. I started by doing a lap of that plus poached a little extra on the groomed XC trail beyond the dogsled track with each hound separately. A couple skied in from their cabin at the resort for the festivities so I invited them to get pulled by a dog if they liked. The husband agreed to it so Dulcie took him for a lap with Anya and I accompanying.
Rogan was of course throwing a screaming fit at being left out, but not for long... I boxed the girls since they were looking somewhat wet and cold and grabbed him next. We ended up getting put to work as the 'rabbit' for the dogsled teams giving rides to chase. Their dogs were getting a little fed up with slow hard-pulling laps in the wet snow that dumped all morning. Rogan and I ended up doing at least 4 or 5 loops in front of the sled teams.
The best part was after all the sleds were put away however. A 9yo daughter of one of the dogsled guys I'll call R was helping out, and came over to ask about the hounds and skijoring just after we pulled in. She finally mentioned "I was going to skijor this year, but the dog I was going to do it with died, so now I can't."
Oh man. How could a person's heart possibly not be melted by that one??? I asked if she'd brought her skis and she said she had, so I offered to let Dulcie take her out after everyone was done. She was THRILLED with that idea.
Once all the passengers had wandered off and I put Rogan away after his rabbit-duty was done, I told her we'd get Dulcie for her and Anya for me and I'd meet her down at the track. R was having a hard time just getting around in her skis but she was very game to try. SO.... we both ditched the poles, she just held onto the line for Dulcie while I was hooked into Anya, and I held her up between my skis as the dogs pulled us together around the track.
R REALLY wanted to try it on her own for another lap though, so we went around again this time with R holding onto Dulcie by herself. The result was a kid falling down every 30 feet or so, but she never gave up and just chirped away about this and that as she kept getting up and going for it again.
Any quantity of bragging I do about Dulcie and Anya's patience with all this won't even begin to cover it. They were just amazing. Both girls figured out right away that we all had to stop and stay put when R fell down and struggled to get up again. Dulcie would walk away when she was turned loose but would come back to us and stand still until we were ready to go again, then start up at a walk and slowly work up to a little trot... until R fell down again, lol. Even Anya started keeping close tabs on what was going on and was soon stopping when the kid hit the deck. Both dogs occasionally came back to stick their nose in R's face and do a quick check before clearing off so she had room to struggle up. Anya even retrieved R's hat once from the snow when she lost it!
I found out later that R had been in a few bad wrecks with her dad's dogs over the years, and while both she and her father wanted her to be involved with mushing, previous experiences had understandably left her pretty intimidated. Anya and Dulcie being small, bomb-proof, patient, and friendly were just PERFECT to overcome some of her fears. Her dad was amazed when we skijored back to the truck, with R jabbering away excitedly as Dulcie quietly stood with her best 'bravely reporting for more duty' expression on the other end of the rope.
I was really tired yesterday after several hours in skis out in the cold and snow, but it was absolutely worth it. The dogs all had celebratory hot dogs when we got home.