I love this race. It’s been a couple years since I’ve really followed it, but this year Aliy Zirkle is in contention, so I’m jumping up and down, keeping an eye on the stats. My girl is in third place. Still early, though.

Some people say it’s animal cruelty, but I couldn’t disagree more. Sled dogs are born to do this, they’re bred to do this, and it’s cruelty not to let them run and pull. Our husky was a rescue dog. Before she came to live with us, she was left in a cellar all day with nothing to do and an untreated thyroid condition. That’s cruelty.

Denali lived for her walks, and for any time she could get outdoors. She liked taking walks, really liked running onleash by the side of a bike, and loved it when I’d take her running with me. I couldn’t always take her, because she couldn’t resist a rabbit, so we couldn’t go fast together. But when I was going on a slow run, if it wasn’t too long, I totally loved taking her with me. She also scared the shit out of street punks. (Can’t count how many times I get asked, “Dat a woof?”)

She wasn’t really my dog. When we brought her home, Kid B and I only agreed to it because Dan and Kid A said they’d do all the work. (Attention mothers: If your kid and husband ever say this to you about anything, anything at all, you email me and I’ll tell you how that went.)

But I loved her anyway. More than that, I identified with her. I’d look in those brown eyes and say, “You know what? You’re right–what are we doing in here, anyway?” Then we’d go out and kick up some snow.


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