We have made it an annual tradition to go skiing in Mont Tremblant (in Canada) each January. This year, my brother-in-law Joshua went with us. I usually snowboard while my wife skis and the kids are in ski school. But this year, I was nursing a shoulder injury and so I hung out with the baby while the rest of the fam experienced the great outdoors. But truthfully, I was extremely jealous. Sure, I was having a great time with my new daughter hiking around town in the snow and taking naps by the fireplace, but I wanted to have the adrenaline rush that my family was having.
So on my wife’s rest day, Joshua and I decided to go looking for an adventure of our own. We considered the various non-skiing adventures Tremblant has to offer, but one stood out for us… dogsledding. At first I had reservations about dogsledding, because I thought it might be cruel and inhumane to have dogs pulls us around. But after contacting the owners and learning that half of the dogs were rescue dogs and well cared for, my bro-in-law and I made the reservation.
We climbed aboard a little yellow bus and were off.
Shortly after arriving, we were instructed on how to hook up the dogs to the sled and to keep the dogs several feet from one another. Like adults, some dogs don’t like to be near others they don’t like. Also, like humans, some dogs really want to hook up with other dogs. And then they gave us about a 5 minute tutorial on how to guide the dogsled. 5 minutes! And since I was distracted by everything going on around me, I paid attention for around 3 minutes. But this is what I got: push down on the back break with one foot and lean side to side to steer.
And so we walked into the courtyard where the dogs barked loudly, trying to get our attention. These dogs definitely wanted to get hooked up to the sleds. Once the leash was attached to their collar, they took off. At times, it took all my strength to keep the dogs from bolting to the sled. As soon as the team of dogs took their place in front of the sled, I had to push hard on the break so they wouldn’t fly through the snowy path. The sled was first hooked up to a fence, but when the hook came off, the dogs wanted to run. Now, I’m not a heavy dude. I’m on the skinny side. So I was doing everything I could to dig my foot into the break as the dogs in the middle lunged forward trying to break free. And finally, we were given the green light, and I lifted my foot off the break and the sled sped forward.
Do you know what it is like for your life to be in the hands (paws) of 8 dogs? I quickly learned that it didn’t matter which way I steered or how hard I braked, I was at the mercy of 8 very strong dogs. And they wanted to go fast. Very fast. At times, I thought the sled would get tossed onto its side after running a corner. But it was a thrilling ride and one of the coolest experiences of my life. Each dog had a different personality and temperament. The lead dog on the right would get annoyed every time I hit the break and would look over his shoulder as if to say, “What are you doing? I’m working here!” The dog in the right back was all about power and constantly wanted to push forward.
Given that the temperatures were in the single digits, we brought along some Fisherman’s Friends lozenges, which had sponsored me as part of their #ToughRelief campaign. Cold weather and whipping winds can leave a throat raw, and that would have turned our amazing time into an amazing drag. These are the strongest lozenges I’ve ever had (and I’m not just buttering up a sponsor). Not only do they soothe sore throats, they are great for opening up the sinus passages.
Fisherman’s Friends are tough lozenges, but they are nothing compared to the dogs who were pulling us around. The day was all about them. After we arrived back at the kennel, we unhooked the dogs and took them back to their doghouse. Each dog had their own home. The dogs once again led us to their home and ate up whatever affection we gave them. And these dogs loved to give kisses. My wife may have gotten to go skiing, but I think I had the better adventure of the trip.
To see what other dads are saying about Fisherman’s Friend, follow the hashtag #ToughRelief.