March 07, 2010


From the NYT. Why Do Sled Dogs Run?

I listen to the one-way singsong between Murphy and his dogs, encouragement and caution and admiration. I watch the driving legs ahead of me — 28 of them — on dogs whose frames are small and light, nothing like the creatures I’d imagined. And as we cut through the white ash swamp, hissing across the ice, I find myself wondering, why do sled dogs run?

It is not a matter of driving them. All the work is in pacing them, restraining them. When Murphy stands on the brake and sets the snow hook — a two-pronged anchor — the gangline quivers with tension. The dogs torque forward again before he can shout, “Let’s go!” All the one-word answers to my question are too simple: love, joy, duty, obedience.

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