The plan was to faithfully work my way through LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring, then when my fiance brought home a 14 week old puppy. Suddenly my priorities shifted ever so slightly. Meet Scout:
So I dusted off my books about Siberian Huskies and puppy training, and left Frodo & Co. behind, to patiently await my return.
Instead, I have soaked up the wisdom of Cesar Milan and the For Dummies Siberian Husky edition (there’s a lot of good info in there! Don’t judge me). I’ve read these before, when we got our first dog a few years ago, but it’s proving useful to read through them again.
For one, it has somewhat given me the defacto title of ‘resident expert’ when it comes to anything dog. If there is a disagreement about how to handle a particular element of dog ownership, I need only begin my sentence with “I read that…” or “The book says…” and voila, disagreement over, point Moi (not that it’s a competition or anything)! I must admit – this is a nice byproduct of educating myself on dog rearing.
On a related note, through my work I have recently become aware of the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve. If you’ve studied psychology, or if you’re one of those academic types, or highly educated individuals, you likely are familiar with this theory. Prior to being exposed to it through work, I was not. For all us laymen out there, a brief explanation: the Ebbinghaus Curve applies fancy math learning to calculate the speed at which memory decays when no steps are taken to retain said memory.
But what does that have to do with the price of bananas in China?
This is relevant because although I read all these books two years ago, and we applied much of what I read to train and raise our older husky, Loki, it’s incredible how much of it I don’t remember. When reading these books, I am experiencing a sense of familiarity in some passages, but others are as if I am reading them for the first time. Collections of words, wisdom, and thoughts which have completely disappeared from my memory. Had I read even one book a year in the interim, many of the concepts I’m revisiting now would be old hat to me.
Huskies were originally developed by a badass Siberian people called the Chukchis. First of all, they domesticated the reindeer. Also they fought off the Russians and the Communists (who were after total world domination and had to eradicate any and all dissenters) and managed to survive even when hired militias were sent after them. In the event that these militias did capture some of them, rather than being taken prisoner, the women would kill their dogs, their children and themselves. BAD ASS! Eventually the Russians got tired of hunting down the Chukchis, who were not large in number, and instead of actually defeating them decided to arbitrarily declare victory and the land conquered (sound familiar to some recent world events?).
The Chukchis raised their dogs to be hard workers with a good temperament and to be family/community dogs. Huskies are pack animals through and through. I am of the (potentially biased) opinion that huskies are amongst the greatest breeds of dogs of all time. If you are not convinced, I recommend you watch Balto, he was a husky – then tell me the breed isn’t freaking awesome.
Balto is a true story about how, in the winter of 1925, huskies ran just under 700 miles to deliver desperately needed serum to a small Alaskan town, whose children would die without it. A dog named Togo lead the pack for the first half, then Balto did the second. It’s know as The Great Serum Run, if you want to look it up. The distance those dogs covered is also the origins of the massive sled race, the Iditarod.
I digress. Suffice it to say that Scout (the lil’un, and yes, she is named after the character in To Kill a Mockingbird, because I had just finished reading it and how could I resist) has introduced a new element of focus and chaos into our lives, one which has pulled me from J.R.R. Tolkien and pushed me towards Cesar Milan and his contemporaries.