We're shovelling puppy poo this morning, which is less ghastly than it sounds as it's frozen into inoffensiveness. Afterwards Michael explores one of the outhouses and comes back in a hurry saying "OK, you don't want to go that way. You don't want to see the husky morgue." So of course now I have to.
Half a dozen dogs, curled up as if asleep but with that stiff, sunken look of death: skin tight against ribs, teeth peeking over lips. The season's casualties? Frozen solid, awaiting disposal in the spring? We can't find the words to ask Lotte, so it's a grisly Arctic mystery.
We make two runs today, and my dogs are absolutely mental. I have trouble with Bandit, who's a great bruiser of a lad and terribly keen. In the morning he scratches my cheek in his joyful jumping, and before the afternoon run he twists out of my two-fingered grip on his collar and gets away. After a few seconds of horror - we've learned from walking Whisky that an unchained husky just goes - I snag him as he marks his territory on another dog's namepost.
Some of the dogs have yet to make the cognitive leap between getting harnessed and going for that lovely run, and squiggle. Others, like White Sock, push their heads through the padded loops all by themselves and lift each forefoot in turn for the straps. He's small, black, smooth-coated, flop-eared and looks nothing like a husky - but pulls like a trouper. Daisy is petite and pretty, wolflike, and well-behaved. And Reno...Reno is a sweetheart. At the end of a run, Lotte unclips him herself and tells him "Go home". He runs to his kennel and flops, while I detach the other three and drag them, struggling, back to their beds.
They have become my dogs.
My First Harnessing. Taken by Michael.
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