18 March 2015

My Lead Dog

I wish my Norwegian was better. There is a book I'd like to read: Min Lederhund (My Lead Dog). In the book many mushers tell stories about some of their most special dogs. It is a book about co-operation, will-power and amazing legends. I hope there will be a translation to English or Finnish.
2004 Aku was born - Aku syntyy
Story of my own lead dog would have to be a story about Aku. During his time I have learned most of the things I know about dog-sledding.
2006 young Aku wheeldog- nuorena opissa


























Aku is half Siberian and half Alaskan. I got him when he was one and half years old. He had not been working in a dog team - That he was going to learn with us. I liked the way he was build, and I thought he will make a nice wheel dog to add to my team. First I put him behind in the team. There was no problems. He enjoyed pulling. It was almost like he had been waiting for it. Surely it was in his blood. Sometimes I even felt he was grateful, because with us he could do what he was really meant for.
2009 Aku with his one-year old son Kirka - poikansa kanssa













In the kennel Aku first tried fighting with other dogs. My husband managed to change his mind about that, but it took some effort. Aku tried to make the same mistake many times, but when it finally went in to his head, that we don't fight in this kennel, it changed the whole dog. He started to seem more open and easy to teach. I realized he is a quick learner. I started putting him in the lead - and there he stayed ten years, turning left and right, on and off the track, and even stopping to wait, when needed.
Aku leading my team on open field- mennään umpilumessa













Aku has taken me to my first trips to Lappland. With him in the lead  I have reached the top on Halti, Karhu, Sorsa and Pyhitys -fells. I have not trusted any other dog as much as I trust him. He is not always perfect, but there is a special connection between me and him. I know that he will always listen to me about the goal, but also do his best to lead me safely home and even correct some of my mistakes.
2010 Kilpisjärvi, in front of Saana 















I have also tried other hobbies with Aku. He can walk in a leash and live in the house. He has done a little bit agility and even one match show, where he was rated the best of blue dogs. It is not difficult for him to notice what he has to do in different situations. I think he is probably to most clever dog I have had.
2011 Match Show














Now Aku is eleven and slowly retiring. When ever I go driving my team, I still put harness on him. Sometimes, if it is very cold, he chooses to stay home, but most often he comes and follows the team. If I'm uncertain about the route, he senses it and goes in the front of the team to lead the way. If my younger leaders don't turn to left or right, when I ask them, he runs to them and gently pushes them to the right direction.
2015  following and helping my team - suunnannäyttäjä














There was a time I couldn't imagine mushing without Aku. I kind of wished he would never die. But now that I have had this winter coaching the future team with him, I know I will go on. There will be new leaders. And he has helped to teach them. His era in our kennel has been peaceful. He is a well-behaved gentleman to every visitor from babies to grannies. He has been - and still is- an honored member and father in our pack.
My Old lead dog - Aku käppäilee pihalla














I'm just happy that he is still around. He can walk around on our yard as long as he is not in pain, and do what he likes best: follow me around. He really enjoys watching people use tools.You might think the best moments with Aku have been the ones on the mountaintops. But there is something even better: The silent moments he sits beside me, like right now. That I can stroke him knowing we have had all those moments.

JOHTAJAKOIRANI AKU

Jos minun pitää nimetä joku koira ylitse muiden, se on Aku. Akun aikana olen oppinut melkein kaiken, mitä tiedän rekikoirista. Samalla kun se on kasvanut johtajaksi, minä olen kasvanut musheriksi. Aku ei välttämättä ole objektiivisesti katsottuna paras koira kennelissämme, mutta minulle se on paras johtaja. Voisi sanoa, että ymmärrämme toisiamme - Aku on minulle ollut se koira, jollaista ei tule toista.

Joskus tuntuu melkein, että Aku on kiitollinen siitä rekikoiran elämästä, jonka se on meidän luonamme saanut. Aku tuli meille puolitoistavuotiaana tappelunhaluisena uroksena. Vuosien myötä siitä on tullut kohtelias herrasmieskoira, jonka voi viedä tilanteeseen kuin tilanteeseen, ja se tietää aina miten käyttäytyä.

Aku on johtanut valjakkoni Haltin, Karhun, Sorsan ja Pyhityksen päälle. Se on pelastanut minut tilanteissa, joissa olen itse eksynyt tai ajanut harhaan, ja etsinyt turvallisen reitin kotiin. Yhteen aikaan en osannut kuvitella valjakolla ajamista ilman Akua.

Nyt Aku on 11 ja siirtymässä eläkkeelle. Se on vähitellen jäänyt pois valjakon keulasta. Se juoksee silti usein mukana ja auttaa kouluttamaan uusia johtajia. Jos Aku saisi itse valita, se varmaan opettelisi vanhoilla päivillään käyttämään työkaluja. Niin tarkasti nenä kiinni ruuvimeisselissä se katsoo tarhojen korjausta ja muita ihmisten hommia.

Voisi luulla että parhaat hetket Akun kanssa ovat olleet tunturien huiputukset. On kuitenkin jotain vielä parempaa: Sellaiset hiljaiset hetket, joina se istuu vieressäni, niin kuin juuri nyt. Että voin silittää sitä ja tietää, että meillä on ollut kaikki nuo seikkailut.

* (approved by Aku)


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