She's holding up her right hind leg and looking pitiful. Just to pile on the guilt, she starts being incredibly sweet to me and laying her lupine head gently in my lap whenever I approach her. With memories of the husky morgue still fresh, I'm desperately worried, but Lotte assures me it probably wasn't anything I did and she'll be fine after a few days' rest.
I take Ketty instead. She's black-and-white and gentle, and seems rather alarmed at being harnessed next to my boisterous Bandit, but soon shows she can pull just as well as he can and make a lot less racket about it.
We go on a Long Mush today - twenty kilometres. For part of the way we leave the broad, dense snowmobile trail and let the dogs wallow through deep snow up to their waists, which they love.
I have to stop and disentangle my high-spirited huskies, and by the time I've got them sorted the other sleds have disappeared round the curve of the trail and I am alone in the quiet snowscape.
The dogs' paws scrunch on the snow and the sled runners make a sound like a high-flying jet in a summer sky. The shadows of the pine trees are long and blue, the wind scurries the surface of the snow along like desert sand, and I think, quite clearly: This is the happiest I will ever be.
Then we head home for more Travel Scrabble.
Lotte later says: "Oh Ketty, she is such a good girl! She is so ugly, but she makes up for it with her personality!"
This seems grossly unfair, and I decide that I must take a photo of Ketty so she won't think she's being overlooked in favour of more photogenic dogs. It turns out I've already got one, so she must be pretty after all!
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