Saturday, 10 November 2012

Husky running companions

Back in August I passed on a note about the Husky Shelter in Cape Town - they were looking for runners to help with running the dogs there. Well, I have me a pair of huskies in Jo'burg to run.

During a recent vet visit, when my kitty was ill (she is doing so-so-so much better!), I mentioned to the receptionist that I was thinking of running people's dogs for them - especially the breeds that really need to run. Almost every day I run past houses where bored dogs hang at the gate and I can bet that a very small fraction of them ever get taken for a walk. No matter how big the property, dogs have to be taken out. Indeed, you can live in a palace but you still get cabin fever and go out of your mind.

Not even a few hours later I get a call from Dino, who got my number from Shelly when he popped in to get food for his dogs. Not even two weeks earlier he'd adopted two huskies from the shelter. He has a friend who volunteers there and she assists with finding homes for dogs. He'd been keen to get one but she insisted on two. So, they were flown up to Jo'burg and it wasn't long before he felt overwhelmed. Huskies are high intensity dogs; probably much like border collies.

He takes them out running about three times a week and on Wednesdays the gardener takes them in the morning and afternoon. But they need more.

I met Dino and the dogs - Toscana and Angel - last weekend and we went out for a run. They're not very fit but OMG do they pull. I can now understand how a dozen of them are able to haul sleds across snowscapes for hundreds of kilometres. Dino has the proper running leads for them -  a harness for the runner with a y-shaped bungy lead going to harnesses on the dogs.

This pair is very well behaved. Angel is the girl and she's about a year old. She's the really energetic one. Toscana is about three and he is beautifully fluffy (she has had her fur trimmed shorter).

Dino says they were absolutely fried after our outing on Saturday - and I made them walk quite a bit because they were huffing and puffing. Yesterday evening I took them out for a run and walk and they were very good. I ran from home - takes me 15 mins - and off we went to the park. They run really nicely, especially once they start to get a little tired and pull less. We met a nice pointer and German Shepherd and their friendly folks. They're very good with other dogs.

I tried to take some pics (on my phone) of my running buddies - they're a little blury from movement but you get the picture. I've been reading up on running huskies on the web. Golden rule: never, ever let them off the lead. Their running instinct is so strong that they will just run away, no matter how well you've schooled them. If something is more interesting than you then you have no hope in hell of getting them back. They'll just run and run and run.

Toscana on the left and Angel on the right
We'll be running together once a week - Friday evenings.


Tanya said...

Love this post! Having a running buddy/buddies always makes running that much more interesting! Good for you!

Lobby said...

Yeah, love it. It's good fun running with dogs- have fun!