I read a fascinating article by Holly Ramer about a blind sled dog. Gonzo and his brother Poncho were born at the kennel. Gonzo is an Alaskan husky, one of 120 dogs at Muddy Paw sled dog kennel in New Hampshire. Other dogs are second chance dogs, former professionals, and some are rescue dogs.
Gonzo started tripping over things three years ago. The vet recommended that they “run this dog”. The owners decided to give it a try. Gonzo didn’t treat his blindness like an obstacle so they didn’t either. Even though he is blind he knew when hook-ups were happening. He had such a hunger to run so they hooked him up to the sled and waited to see what would happen.
Gonzo, Poncho and the rest of the team settled into their rhythm skimming through the woods. The other dogs look straight ahead Gonzo would lift his head up and to the right using his hearing and sense of smell. At first Poncho was a little bit nervous when Gonzo would lean into him. Then he learned that he was utilizing him to determine where the turns were and how fast they were going. And he would let him do that. Usually if a dog trips the others just keep going. During a run through deep snow Gonzo strayed to the edge of the trail and stumbled. With the team still moving forward, Poncho reached over, dug his head in the snow and pulled his brother out, grabbing his harness with his teeth. He picked him out of the powder threw him back on the trail and never skipped a beat. The owner, Beaulieu said” I’ve run dogs in a lot of places, all over the country and it was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen sled dogs do.”
Gonzo runs like the wind and gets by with a little help from his bro. Sweet!