Approaching the next step in our dog mushing obsession, my fingers hovered over the keyboard; I hesitated… then quickly typed, “sled dogs for sale.” In an instant, it was over – I’d taken the first step into sled dog ownership. There was no going back. My very first search led me to a kennel in northern Minnesota; it mentioned a few dogs for sale, so I called them. The lady, a renowned dog musher herself, grilled me a about my experience, then told me that she thought they could put a mature team of six together for us. Wow! It seemed too good to be true. And when we called on other kennels, we discovered that finding a trained team for sale was a rare find. The first piece seemed to slide into place. Our next dilemma, living in the suburbs. Where would we keep our team? Our second call was made to some relatives that operated an animal education center a few miles from us. As dumb luck would have it, their barn had just become available and boarding our dogs would work. Click… next piece in place. Our next stop; Amazon.com for books and videos – basically, mushing for dummies kind of stuff. After reading as much as we could, we learned that we had A LOT to learn. “What are we getting ourselves into?” We asked each other. Between us, we could’t think of a good enough reason not to do it, so we forged ahead. I called our city park and rec office and asked, “where can we run a team of sled dogs in the area?” “Uh, what?” I repeated my question. “Uh, what!?” The confused lady said again. Following up with, “In all my years I’ve never been asked that question.” I found this to be same case with the county. One park and rec personnel however, found that dog sledding was allowed in a local park reserve near our home as well as three others in the metro area. Next phase; the dog box. My husband found a box for sale but it wasn’t exactly what we were looking for – coincidentally though, they happened to have two small sleds that they sold us. Click, click! Then, with the help of a few youtube videos, we decided to build our own dog box. The kids had fun helping my husband and it was rewarding to see the project turn out great! Before we committed to the final purchase of the team of six, we went up to Ely Minnesota for another dog sledding adventure. It happened to be a gorgeous weekend, further solidifying our desire to have a team of our own. Heading out of Ely that weekend, we stopped at Kondos dog supplies and the owners not only outfitted us with all of our ropes, lines and collars, they were also encouraging and full of helpful hints. Throughout our venture into sled dog ownership, we’ve discovered a wonderful group of people – willing to help out those brave enough to dive into such an obsession.
Stay tuned for the next click; the dogs!