Advent 11: Also Ran

We got our new dog Punchy’s rap sheet in the mail today.

Included was a record of all of his shots since he was a pup in Alaska and his family tree. He was one of a litter that included brothers Baba Ganoush and Tramp. Of course, we were happy to see that his dad was from Joe Redington, Sr.’s kennel – Joe Redington is widely regarded as the father of the modern Iditarod. So we high-fived each other in the kitchen tonight, our little link to dog mushing royalty.

Punchy turned out to be 11, not 10, but you’d never know it watching him take the four back porch steps in one leap. He is slim, agile, and tireless, and adaptable, which is probably his greatest gift.

Included in all the info was a handwritten note that accompanied him when he came from his Alaska birthplace to Nature’s Kennel in the U.P. The note confirmed what we’d been told about Punchy – he was a great lead dog but didn’t know what he was doing and didn’t follow any commands.

Here’s the note:

Punchy – Baba Ganoush’s slower brother. He has great attitude, tough, runs lead – doesn’t know anything but does it fine at 10-11 mph. Usually runs in midteam back unless in lead on slower runs. VERY HEAT SENSITIVE. He has great feet, great eater, and easy keeper. If he is fast enough could be a good asset. I don’t know if he is fast enough or not.

So Punchy wasn’t a fabulous sled dog. He was never in the Iditarod but he pulled sleds for years. He has the look of a steel worker, that’s how sturdy and tough he is. He still seems uncertain that he is deserving of all the softness in his life now, although the people at Nature’s Kennel were plenty nice to him. But he didn’t sit in their kitchen while the people talked over their day or curl up on the big dog pillow next to their bed when they went to sleep. Those are things he is doing here with us and we are very glad.

3 Comments on “Advent 11: Also Ran

  1. Oh, how I miss the North when I read about your dog! While living in Inuvik, N.W.T. I had a dog named Scrapper who got the name because of how he behaved as a pup in a litter of 6. As a grown-up at about 75+ lbs he was the gentle giant, who would stand back so his mother could eat first. He’d come barreling down the stairs and then land in my lap on the couch without even ruffling a hair on my head. Yes, I could certainly feel how heavy he was, but since I knew it coming I could brace myself.

    Liked by 1 person

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