Or, click to jump down the page to the story: Team Dog
Could you win a baseball game if you were the only player? Even if you're the type of person who could play any position on the field, you'd have a tough time getting an out at 3rd if you were over in center fielding the ball. There'd be no one at 3rd base to help you.
OR SLEDDING. Sure, we all like to go out and hop on the Flexible Flyer now and again, but how long does the fun last if there's no one to sled with? Somehow we can stay out longer if friends are along, even when it's really cold. If we forget about the time, it's probably not because we were forced to keep playing.
Sometimes there's just something inside that makes us keep going.
by Gary Paulsen
George Attla, perhaps one of the most famous Native American mushers, once said of why his dogs pulled:
"My dogs pull because they want to pull or they think they want to pull or I...(train)...them to think they want to pull.
Others have said they pull because they love to pull.
And still others say it is because they are descended from wolves and wolves love to run (as they hunt, and it's also called "coursing") and we merely tap into the desire to run and see new country by attaching a sled and hanging on....
All of that sounds good, but it is perhaps a little too flip, a little too easy.
The truth is that we do not really know why they pull.
There is something else there as well that we do...not...quite...understand, some old, very ancient and primitive bond between humans and dogs that enters into it. Probably when man first came to North America, across the Bering Straits--or where they are now on a land bridge--there was a dog pulling some kind of primitive sledge carrying his gear.
And that has never gone away. To ride a sled being pulled by dogs is a privilege that goes back thousands and thousands of years, it is to enter into a stunningly ancient pact between human and dog that is so old it is before writing, before it could even be told except in ancient song/tales danced around prehistoric fires to the rhythm of skin drums....
They pull for reasons we can only began to understand; pull for the smell of blood, perhaps, or the quest to know more of brother wind and sister sky that comes over the horizon, pull for the thrill of knowing what is ahead, pull....
Finally, for joy.
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