There aren’t many dogs out there who eat and eat and eat some more. We’ve started getting a reputation for those sorts of dogs — dogs who are essentially bottomless pits. I jokingly tell Travis that, “Ya, they take after me” because I’m pretty sure I have one of the fastest metabolisms ever.
These are dogs like Wrangler. Dogs who see food and go absolutely nuts. In the world of long distance dog sled racing, having a good reputation for eating habits can’t really be topped. Good eating habits equates to more fuel in the furnace so the dogs can keep on running. “Attitude and Appetite,” Lance Mackey is famous for saying about the traits he looks for in his breeding program. Being a big Mackey fan, Travis has followed suit.
Wrangler, in our eyes, is the next big “it” dog in the world of mushing. In recent years, there’s been a lot of talk about the breeding the best of the best. Zorro, is a famous Lance Mackey dog that hundreds of sled dogs now trace their lineage into. Solomon is another. But we think Wrangler may have them both topped — and he’s still pretty young. He was born in May of 2012 and ever since has played a big part in our kennel and made an even bigger impression on our hearts. He captured the eye of Albert Lewis when he came to our kennel looking for Iditarod Athletes for his book Born To Run: Athletes of the Iditarod. Wrangler and his siblings, Carhartt and Levi were only weeks old at the time. Now, they grace the inside cover of the book!
As a sled dog, Wrangler is the complete package: he is a big eager and hard-driving. He has endless energy and enthusiasm. Most importantly, he loves running in lead.
After an 85 mile run recently, Travis told me “watch this.” Every other dog in the team had been put away, but there was Wrangler, standing in lead holding the line out. As Travis approached Wrangler, his tail began to wag.
I thought that Travis was simply showing me how tight Wrangler kept the line. It looked like if you had the acrobatics and training, you could have walked across it — he kept it that tight.
“Ready, Wrangler?” He said.
Wrangler, sitting at the front of the team immediately began jumping and barking — to the point where he nearly popped a snowhook.
“Good job, Buddy” Travis told him and got more tail wags in return. He kept jumping and barking.
This isn’t something I’ve just seen once. In the following weeks, it’s become a habit. Wrangler will continue to bark and scream after every other dog in the team has been put away. It’s as if he is trying to tell Travis “don’t worry, Dad, no matter what happens to everyone else in the team, you still got me. We got this.”
Wrangler is a dog that Turns Heads. He is, generally speaking, the dog that everyone wants to take pictures of at races. At our summer dog sled tours everyone always asks “is he really a sled dog?” because he is big and brown instead of the traditional grey and white everyone thinks a husky should look like.
He is, perhaps, the friendliest dog in our yard. I can’t help but think he has a little popcorn in him as he is always jumping with excitement whether it is at races, over food, or just because he is so very happy because he is being loved on.
Wrangler is out of Fidget and Micah, who now runs in Scott Jansen‘s main team. We gave his brothers, Carhartt and Levi, to Nic Petit and they have been an integral part of Nic’s team, running in the 2014 Iditarod with him and are gearing up to be part of his 2015 team.
Wrangler, you are top dog and we are glad you are this week’s dog of the week!