Grit Blogs > Russ-Stick Ramblings

Shiloh Becomes a Sled Dog

First hook up of a sled dog

This winter, a transformation took place at our sled dog kennel.

Shiloh, a package of beauty and brains, began a new life at our kennel.

Our kennel has been stagnant for a while.

I liked the fact that nothing had changed for the last year.

The dogs felt cohesive and secure – knowing they were a family that wasn’t being altered in any way.

However, Rustic Russ felt we needed more young blood.

To add to the old.

Sled dog ready to go

Shiloh joined our 16 sled dogs in becoming a member of a team.

Just short of two years old, Shiloh had never been around a dog sled before.

However, after one short introduction, he kept a tight tug.

You would think he had been pulling forever.

He’s a natural.

New sled dog waiting and wondering

It had to be difficult for his owners to turn over their boy.

However, knowing he would be doing what he was bred to do has to be a comfort as they move out of the area.

They trained him well. You can tell he has been well-loved and treated gently.

Rustic Russ took Shiloh around the dog yard when he first arrived, meeting each dog one-on-one.

No aggression, no complaints. From either side.

First run of a new sled dog

Later in the day, Shiloh was hooked into a small team. Rustic Russ watched him glide through the snowy wooded trail, curious about his surroundings, but instantly becoming a team member and perhaps drawing on some distant knowledge of past kin.

Snowy boy sled dog

While preparing our spaghetti dinner tonight in the cabin, I would peek out to see Shiloh’s actions in the dog yard as Rustic Russ as doing all the farm chores.

He was quiet, yet curious.

He looked proud, laying down, but head erect and alert.

He was fascinated with the chickadees swooping down to pick up bits of fat from the venison chopping block.

He didn’t appear alarmed when our goat, Rachael, trotted by on a snowy path.

His wagging tail and playful puppy moves charmed his neighbor, Libby.

At feeding time, he had a quizzical look on his face when given meat with his kibble. We later saw him burying it in the snow, by his dog house.

He’s a well fed dog who is planning for the future.

Smiley sled dog

It always amazes me how a dog can come to our kennel and instantly fit in.

It’s as if there is a code of conduct given, instinctively, to the new member of the pack.

No whining, no barking, no unnecessary fussing. These are things that we don’t have to train. Somehow, dogs entering our kennel know the code of conduct.

The rules.

Sled dog Shiloh thinking

As we were finishing up our dinner, we heard a 16-dog howl – a welcome howl of sorts – for Shiloh no doubt.

It was too dark to see if he joined in.

However, I put down my garlic bread and closed my eyes for a brief moment to fully take in the melodic tone of the collective howl, and imagine the pride and excitement Shiloh must have felt to know he was truly home.

Home among his peers, his pack, and knowing he has an adventure ahead of him that will last a lifetime.

Welcome Shiloh ... and thank you Ryan and Nicole. We will take good care of your boy. As a matter of fact, he’s in our cabin tonight, until we make sure he will be thick coated enough to enjoy the starry nights.

Until tomorrow – God willing,