A Musher’s Gamble

Gamble during fall training

Gamble lives in a modest house; a 2’ x 3’ x 2’ single story rectangle on stilts, located on a 120 square foot lot.  To the left of her front window…door? (there is no door per say, but rather a hole Gamble climbs in and out of) is a blue star with rainbow contrails.  Gamble’s neighbors are Volt, Hover, and Circuit.  Gamble is often seen socializing with Volt and Circuit, Hover, however, usually keeps to herself.

Gamble doesn’t have a perfect gait.  When asked to speed up, she breaks into a lope sooner than the other dogs.  A gait is the cadence with which an animal moves and a musher is always watching the gait of his or her dogs.  Gait determines the efficiency and the speed of the dog. Which gaits a dog is able to execute and how well it executes them are large determinants of whether a dog is capable of making the race team, or only employed recreationally.  Another factor is a dog’s coat, and Gamble’s is thin, a second strike against her.  It may seem both trivial and cruel to point out Gamble’s flaws in this way, but these are important factors a musher is wise to consider when deciding whether to breed a dog.  Gamble’s future as a breeding dog is currently undecided. 

Jumping and stamina are two areas in which Gamble’s talents surpass those of her teammates.  Gamble was once seen jumping from the floor of the dog trailer, straight up into a dog box on the upper level, about 4’.  And this was from a standstill, with no running start.   When a human who knows Gamble has ample amounts of time on their hands they can’t help but wonder, “If Michael Jordan were magically turned into a dog (leveling the playing field,) could Gamble jump higher than Michael?”  All of this jumping does little to tire Gamble.  In fact, no one has ever seen Gamble look tired.  Gamble is only two years old and has only run in one race, which was not very long.  Still, at the end of a forty mile run, when all of her teammates are recumbent and panting, Gamble is standing and ready to run. 

Gamble’s first and only race so far, was the Apostle Islands Sportsman’s Race; two consecutive days of twenty mile runs.  On both days while the mushers prepared Gamble’s team for racing, the dogs patiently waited on lines attached to the trailer.  Two small human girls became enamored with the dogs over the course of the two day event.  After the last day of racing the girls walked down the line, kissing each dog farewell on the forehead.  Gamble, easily distracted by life, was turned towards the trailer, examining something.  This is the day Gamble’s mushers will always remember as the day Gamble received two gentle kisses on the butt.

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