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Tag: huskies

Tennessee man plans to let his huskies pull him 2,200 miles on a makeshift dog sled

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A homeless Knoxville man plans to hitch his two huskies to a homemade dog sled made out of a lawn chair and a skateboard and travel 2,200 miles across the country to Venice Beach, California.

Georgie Cutright says the purpose of his journey is to see the country, spread some joy and, for once in his life, finish something.

“I’ve never actually finished anything in my life, you know?” Cutright, 41, told the Knoxville News Sentinel. “This is something that’s going to be really incredible to do, and it’s something that I’m really, really adamant about finishing.”

How adamant the dogs who will power his “urban dog sled” — Sarah and Lobos — are is another question.

He could face some questions as well from local authorities as he makes his journey, and possibly animal welfare advocates, given the dogs will be running the distance of two Iditarods, on pavement no less.

Cutright says he plans to outfit the dogs in booties and take multiple breaks, though, and that — given the trip is partly about sharing his love for his rescued dogs — they will be treated well.

Currently living out of his van, Cutright has been training his two dogs on the streets of Knoxville, and drawing crowds when he does so. He plans to sell the van to finance the trip, which he hopes to start soon.

585c65c1a0376.imageHe has been using them for a while now as a mode of transportation.

“I was sitting on a skateboard and holding Sarah’s leash one day when she took off,” he told the Journal Gazette & Times-Courier.

He held on to the leash and rolled along behind them. After that, he says, he learned to balance on a chair atop the long skateboard as the dogs pulled him.

He uses his shoes as brakes and has taught the dogs commands: “Yah” to get them to speed up, “Whoa” to slow down,” and “hard right” or “hard left” for turning.

Cutright says he will take country roads that parallel Interstate 40, camping in a tent at night.

Originally from Mattoon, Illinois, Cutright said he became homeless two years ago after he lost his job as a carpenter. He said he’s been unable to secure another steady job because of a felony conviction for an armed robbery when he was 18.

A friend will be making the trip with him.

Cutright has already secured his first sponsor: HeadQuarters skateboard shop, which donated multiple sets of wheels and bearings for the journey.

He said he will stay in motels when he can, and in people’s homes when they offer to put him up.

Cutright said he got Sarah off Craigslist from a woman who was moving, and acquired Lobos from the police department in Venice Beach when the dog’s homeless owner was arrested.

He will share details of the trip on his Facebook page. He has also established a GoFundMe page that seeks to raise $20,000 for the trip.

“I just want people to know that if you put your mind to something, you can do it. Anybody can, even a homeless guy.”

(Photos: Kevin Kilhoffer / Journal Gazette & Times-Courier)

Should Arizona deport Siberian huskies?

Cooling my heels in Phoenix, I’ve been trying to catch up with the latest on SB 1070, the new legislation that will turn Arizona’s police officers into immigration officials, requiring them to check the citizenship of anyone they confront in the course of their duties.

The law makes violating federal immigration laws a state crime, if that makes any sense, and some fear it will lead to large scale profiling and deportations as Arizona takes into its own hands matters it feels the federal government isn’t addressing.

Of course, the law applies to humans, and not dogs, but what if? What if the motivation for it — to keep undocumented foreigners from the shores of a country pretty much built by undocumented foreigners — was applied to the dog kingdom?

What if all the Irish setters –or at least those who lacked the proper paperwork — were sent back to Ireland; or if all the German shepherds were deported to Germany; or if Labrador retrievers, Tibetan Mastiffs, French poodles and Afghan hounds were all sent back to their place of origin?

The dog kingdom would be a much more boring place.

If all of them were required to live where they originated, we wouldn’t have anywhere near the magnificent diversity of dog breeds — not to mention hybrids and mutts — that we enjoy today. It would be so long, Welsh Corgi; seeya, Belgian Malinois; goodbye, Bo, and all other Portuguese water dogs.

Go back to Rhodesia, you Ridgebacks.

Probably, in our haste, we’d even deport Great Danes to Denmark, even though the breed didn’t originate there. (Once local law enforcement and state bureaucracies get involved, mistakes are bound to happen.) And, Siberian huskies, you don’t even want to think about where you’d be banished to.

A valid argument can be made that Siberian huskies shouldn’t be living in Arizona’s heat in the first place – but banishing them, or pestering them for their paperwork so often they decide to leave, obviously isn’t the solution.

If that were the case, I never would have met Sasha and Kodi, brother and sister huskies belonging to Sandy Fairall, who we hung out with yesterday at “Bark Place,” the dog park at Quail Run Park in Mesa.

No pedigree is required to enter, and dogs of all sizes, shapes, backgrounds and colors were playing together nicely. No one was asking anyone else to leave, no one was questioning anyone else’s pedigree, and everyone, dog and human, seemed happy to share the shady spots.

Sandy admits Phoenix is not an ideal locale for the cold weather dogs – something she’s reminded of whenever she heads to the mountains in winter to let them experience their more natural surroundings and play in the snow.

But they seem to be thriving and happy to be here. They seem to have adjusted. They haven’t taken anyone’s job, committed any crimes or put undue strain on the health care system.

I say – paperwork or not — let them stay.

The eyes have it

Animal eyes — and how some of them work differently than our’s — is the topic of an interesting piece at Environmental Graffiti.

Among the 10 sets of peepers featured are those of the Siberian husky — cold, steely and perfectly placed to detect movement.

Not to mention often of different colors. Some huskys have brown, blue, or amber eyes. Many have a combination of thereof.

Among the others selected as the “10 most incredible eyes are” those belonging to owls, geckos, hippos, chameleons, butterflies, goats, frogs and cuttlefish.

Dog sledding — as it’s meant to be

We may be down on the Iditarod, but that doesn’t mean we’re down on dog sledding.

As Greg Breining showed in yesterday’s New York Times, when it’s not an 1,100-mile endurance test dogs are forced to take part in, dog sledding can be an exhilarating experience.

“Dog sledding is an exercise in changed states, of chaos turning to order. One moment dogs were barking, yapping, whining, snarling, scrapping, jumping, biting and all the other things dogs do. The next moment they were straining at the gang line, and with a burst of acceleration, all turned silent but for the hiss of the runners on the snow …”

But it’s the breathtaking scenery one encounters while silently sliding through the wilderness that makes dog sledding a popular vacation choice.

“As we crested a small hill, the valley opened, and brilliant Pilot Peak burst into view in stark relief against a black snow cloud. ‘This is why I do this,’ Jason Matthews said, standing on the sled runner next to me. ‘This is why I’m out here.’

Matthews runs Yellowstone Dog Sled Adventures of Immigrant, Mont., one of many sled-dog outfitters running trips from Alaska to the Rockies to Maine. Matthews offers a range of trips — from his two-hour “sled-dog sampler” on a groomed, nearly level trail, to overnight cabin stays high in the mountains.

Other outfitters listed in the Times article are the Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge in Minnesota, and Mahoosuc Guide Service in Maine. Closer to Baltimore, dogsledding is offered at Husky Power Dog Sledding in western Maryland.

(Photo: courtesy of huskypowerdogsledding.com)

Seized sled dogs overwhelm Butte shelter

One hundreds dogs — seized by authorities in Montana from a man hoarding them in a broken down bus and a trailer — have now multiplied to about 150, and animal welfare officials in Butte plan a fundraiser to help pay for their care.

The dogs — up until this weekend — couldn’t be adopted out to new homes, nor could they be spayed or neutered, because of the pending court case against Phillip Brode, 60, who was arrested Oct. 5 after the bus he was driving broke down at the Rocker truck stop.

Brode, who originally pleaded not guilty, entered a guilty plea at a hearing yesterday, allowing the shelter to begin placing the dogs in permanent homes. The dogs will officially go up for adoption Saturday.

Brode told authorities he was transporting the dogs to Alaska to work as sled dogs.

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