Thursday, December 15, 2005

Pingo's Gotcha Day!

Our second anniversary this week. It was three years ago today that little Pingo joined our family. Pingo came to me from a musher who simply wasn't using her anymore. She had been bumped from his A team and was sitting in his yard doing nothing while he trained his distance racing team. Pingo was only 5 1/2 and no where near ready to retire, but racing is not her thing. Pingo's conformation is a little off and she crabs when she runs. Somedays she sprints along and other days she likes to watch the scenery a bit. Makes her a bad dog for a serious racer, makes her a perfect fit for a team like mine.

Plus she is a reliable leader, something I really needed at the time she arrived. Pingo doesn't always take commands. She is a trail dog at heart and somedays likes to pick her own trail. So I taught her a new command, if she's been listening well, her reward is "PINGO PICK A TRAIL". She decides which fork in the trail we take. She loves that! She occasionally ignores a gee or haw the first time, but she never misses an On-by. Sometimes on a busy trail, that's even more important than which direction we go.

Pingo also has great trail sense. She always knows the easiest and safest way through overflow. Somedays she even has better sense than I do! Once last winter, about 5km into a truly distasterous run, Pingo came to her senses and without a word from me turned an 8 dog team around, without a single tangle or problem among the dogs and headed for home. I had already been dragged twice, had a major tangle, a run in with a loose dog and was stopped as three stuck snowmobiles blocked the trail! As she started to turn, I started to argue with her, but quickly realized she was right--this run was not going to get any better and we better go home before someone got hurt! At that point, it was already fairly amazing that I was still with my team! Not one thing had gone right from the moment I pulled out the harnesses! We never should have left the yard. Pingo realized that first!

(obviously the pic is from last winter as we have no where near this much snow right now!)
Pingo is a little timid, has some neurotic tendancies--she hordes things, not anything useful like bones or toys. She hordes junk, stuff she steals from the recycling, old tennis balls and rocks. Never eats them, never chews them up, just hides them in the straw in her doghouse. She has a bit of border collie in her too and enjoys showing off her herding instinct sometimes. The local mountain bikers probably don't enjoy it as much as she does! Pingo's very sweet, enjoys a good cuddle, would never even consider getting involved in a fight, all the other dogs like her, she's good with the cats, she's a good dog and I do adore her. Hopefully, her son, Sundin, will soon come around the way his momma did!

Happy Anniversary, little one. Time flies when you're having fun!

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