Thursday, February 01, 2007

Don't Tell Me Sled Dogs Are Not Smart

Several days ago on our local Internet news these two posts were made:

January 17-Brown male husky/hound cross, Bosco. Lost at the Greenwood Road and Blueberry Road intersection, just off the Gunflint, late Thursday afternoon. Could have gone east on trails toward Camp 20 Road, or southeast toward Trout Lake Road. He may be traveling the Gunflint Trail, in either direction.

January 28-Bosco found his way home! He was found just a few minutes ago in his dog house. We will never know the story, but we are all happier now. Thanks to everyone for their assistance and concern.

The return of Bosco to his kennel reminded me of another story of a missing sled dog that occurred in March, 2000. I wrote the following article about that incident but I never bothered to published the story, until now:

Lead Dog- Brass Comes Home
During the first week in March one of Boundary Country Trekking's dog sledding touring party was traveling through the BWCA south of Poplar Lake. The members of the group were each piloting their own sled. In the party there were two guests from New Jersey, a guest from California, one guest from Michigan, two musher-guides and some forty Alaskan Huskies.

On a portage out of Gaskin Lake, the head musher Erick Larsen's sled struck a rock and in the ensuing commotion Brass the teams lead dog's line snapped. Finding himself freed from the sled and the rest of the team, Brass took-off on his own.

Erick radioed into Boundary Country Trekking's office at about two P.M. that Brass had gotten loose and was heading toward Little Ollie Lake where the dog truck was parked and where the trip had originally started. Sure enough when Boundary Country's Ted Young arrived at the Dog Sled truck at about three PM there was Brass patently waiting. Brass was tied up to the truck by rope and Susan Weber was dispatched from Arleigh Jorgenson's Kennel some thirty-five miles away to pick Brass up.

Arriving at the truck one and one half-hours later, Susan found the rope had been chewed and Brass was nowhere to be found. The neighbors around Little Ollie and Poplar Lakes were alerted to look out for Brass. Meanwhile Susan continued to search, without avail, for Brass till after dark. However, that evening two loggers traveling from Poplar Lake to their home in Grand Marais spotted a dog fitting Brass' description sleeping along the way about twenty miles from Poplar Lake.

The next morning, at about 11, who should come trotting into the Arleigh's Kennel but Brass-hungry but glad to be home. According to Young, "it is a mystery how Brass found his way home. While Brass has traveled in the BWCA and in the immediate area around the kennel before, he had only traveled between the two areas by truck." Young jokingly continued, "maybe Brass had a map or simply read the road signs along the Gunflint. But actually the fact is there are just some things that dogs such as Brass can do that we just don't understand and they certainly are a lot smarter then any folks I know when it comes to finding their way home."

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