Thirteen-year-old Brianna Johnson says there’s a lesson to be learned from dog sledding.
A Grade 8 student at Lappe’s Gorham and Ware School, Brianna said Wednesday’s demonstration, part of their winter carnival week, was more than just an exercise in fun and an excuse to skip math class.
“It teaches that if animals can work together, so can people. So if you have an argument with someone, you can probably work it out,” Brianna said.
It helped that she’s a big fan of animals of any kind, especially dogs.
“I thought it was a really cool experience because we got to go with dogs and they pulled us and they were together, not separate and running all over the place. They were a pack,” said Brianna, who had gone dog sledding one other time, but at a much younger age.
Classmate Kaila Granholm thought the visit by Boreal Journeys Sled Dog Kennel to her rural school was an amazing experience.
“Just thinking that dogs can run that fast together and dogs actually race them (was cool),” she said.
Molly Onchulenko is just five, but the senior kindergarten student, like Brianna, said she learned a little about working together.
“Sometimes we do teamwork in our class,” she said. “If you want to do the whole thing, you think about (working together). And we do that for other things too.”
Kindergarten teacher Rebecca Cross said the excitement has been building since the dog-sled day was first announced.
“The whole school has been looking forward to it for several weeks now. My class in particular, we’ve been learning about different types of transportation, so they were very excited to see how dogs can provide a form of transportation,” Cross said.
“They’re learning that dogs can be more than just pets; as well other animals can do that as well and provide transportation and help us. And there’s also a sense of community, because we have the older kids teamed up with the grades to do the slides with.”
For Boreal Journeys owner Paul Amano, it’s a combination of fun and education.
“It’s great to interact with people who take an interest in the dogs. Some people think dog sledding is just about adventure. There are a lot of misconceptions because people don’t have experiences,” he said.
“We get to show people that it’s all about dogs, the love that we put into them, the energy that goes forward and have people interact with them. It’s fun for the dogs and its fun for the people who take part.”
The dogs seemed to love every minute of it. Marlin, a member of Amano’s team, couldn’t wait to be hitched to the harness and start racing around the track.
“You don’t have to teach them to do that. People ask how we teach our huskies to pull. They come out pulling. Have you ever taught a husky how to heel? You know that they pull. What we have to do is teach that everything is fun.”
Winter carnival at the school continues throughout the week.
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