Dogsledding in Kananaskis, Canada

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Dogsledding in Kananaskis near Calgary in winter
Dogsledding in Kananaskis near Calgary in winter
Dogsledding in Kananaskis near Calgary in winter
Dogsledding in Kananaskis near Calgary in winter and a Teepee
Dogsledding in Kananaskis near Calgary in winter
Dogsledding in Kananaskis near Calgary in winter
Dogsledding in Kananaskis near Calgary in winter
Dogsledding in Kananaskis near Calgary and seeing Bisons
Dogsledding in Kananaskis near Calgary in winter
Drive through mountains in Alberta


For as long as I can remember I’ve had a paw shaped hole in my heart and though that will only be filled the day I’m lucky enough to have a dog to call my own, in the meantime I almost never miss the opportunity to pat any and every dog that comes my way.

I got extra lucky on my trip to Canada where I had not one but a whole group of happy, excited and lovable huskies jumping around me as we prepared to tick off one of the biggest items on my bucket list — dog sledding.

Before I get into how memorable the entire experience was, it’s important to share my concerns in case any of you animal lovers have felt the same way. I’ve wanted to go dog sledding for the longest time for a number of reasons which include my love for dogs, years of looking at sleds in Christmas cards and also multiple re-runs of the movie Eight Below. However as much as I’ve wanted this, I wanted to make sure that I was not participating in cruelty for the sake of mere enjoyment.

From the research I did, American Eskimo dogs and Siberian huskies are bred for such physical activity but all the research in the world wasn’t as effective as actually witnessing the dogs with their wagging tails and excited faces. The trainers told us the dogs often howled if they weren’t allowed to run and it was evident that the organisation (Mad Dogs and Englishmen) through which we chose our tour was one that supported and looked after the dogs. To get started they brought in lots and lots of huskies and then chose the ones that were the most excited for it. Their non-stop howling and impatience to go for a run was super infectious. Another little piece of information that put my fears to rest was that one person was asked to stand at the back of sled to help the dogs in pulling the sled. In our case it was our 6-foot tall cousin who seemed to have taken a fair bit of the burden off the dogs.

For us, going through the snowy slopes with beautiful trees surrounding us and a bunch of furry friends in front was magical in spite of my freezing toes. Plus, the toes got a little bit of rest when we stopped midway and stepped into a Teepee to learn about the Aboriginal lifestyle and warm ourselves with some delicious hot chocolate and not-so-delicious traditional fried bread called bannock which was served with maple syrup before catching a quick look at bisons lounging around.  But the best part? Undoubtedly petting the eager huskies including my personal favourite, Freddy (pictured above).

If you’re planning on going dog sledding, my biggest advice is to ensure you book your tour through a company that treats their dogs well. All the research aside, the most telling indication are the dogs. If they look happy, well taken care of and have a loving relationship with their trainers, then go for it!

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