In the doghouse this time


By Michael J. Marx | PREVIEW Columnist

My name is Nugget and I’m a sled dog. Sometimes we can’t wait to get going. My sled-dog partners and I are all hooked up to the sled and the humans are just talking. Humans do that a lot — talk, talk, talk.

For sled dogs, it’s run, run, run.

I get impatient and I start chewing on something. A neck line. A tug line. This time it was the gang line. This was really bad, because when I chewed through it, the four dogs in front of me were unattached. Eager to go, they took off down the trail — without me.

“Stop,” the guests in the sled yelled. That ain’t gonna happen. Sled dogs run. Unabated, they will run until something stops them, like a moose or a pack of wolves. They were running out of control, reckless and without regard for anything but speed. This is particularly dangerous because one of them could trip and turn upside down. The others might not stop. The topsy-turvy dog could get seriously injured like this.

Well, the quick-thinking musher jumped on the snowmobile and caught the renegade dogs. Phew. Saved. By the time she came back to me, I knew I was in the doghouse.

She picked up the end of the frayed gang line and shoved it at my nose.

“Nugget! No. No! Bad dog.”

Ouch. “Bad dog” is the absolute worst thing to hear. I hung my head in shame. Maybe I can learn to curb my urges. Maybe I can learn to stay calm and be patient. That’s hard when all I want is to run. It’s not about me. I have to do what’s best for the team. I have to learn to be still when required.

Paws to consider:

Are you able to be still?

Can you be patient?

Can you be calm?

Can you be willing to wait?

Can you be ready to go and stand still at the same time?

About Nugget: Nugget is a white furred Alaskan husky with one bent ear. She loves to pull with her sister, Poke. They were named after a gold mining theme. She has run in the Alaskan interior, the Herbert Glacier and now the San Juan Mountains of Colorado.

This column may include both fiction and nonfiction, and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of The SUN. Submissions can be sent to