As a special tribute to Valentine’s Day, this blog is dedicated to all the single peeps out there that are looking for their perfect, doggy, musher type. Like many of us once did, that have already found our perfect doggy, musher types, you’ve probably filled your heads with gushy ideas of spending romantic hours on the runners with your honey and living a blissful life with dogs complete with moonbeams and sunshine. I don’t want to be the one to burst your bubble, but then I sort of do; there is no such thing! Sorry folks, but romance, moonbeams and sunshine rarely go together with dogs. Yes, you get a bit of each at moments, but that dreamy blissfulness you have in your heads; it’s all a LIE! Note; Call of the Wild didn’t have a spouse in it!
Let’s look at Valentine’s Day to demonstrate the fallacy behind your romantic visions. Hallmark has blessed all the unromantic Neanderthals of the world a once a year “Get Out of Jail Free Card” with this over commercialized event. It’s darn near fail safe. You are reminded, starting January 1st, to not forget your honey complete with major guilt trips. If you forget, you are not worthy of a relationship. However, if you show up with the goods on February 14th; you are Mr. or Mrs. Dreamboat. Any douche bag can manage this; right?!? Well, that is correct except in the mushing world. Us mushing douche bags seem to struggle with this holiday.
For starters, there are at least a handful of big races on Valentine’s Day across the country so chances are you and your doggy, musher type will be at one of these events. Still, how hard could this be? Well, if we examine some of the standard Valentine’s Day gestures of romance we start to see the difficulty. When the commercial world starts sending out reminders on January 1st, you and your doggy significant other are ass deep in last minute training and prepping for the big race. This is the only focus; there is no time or room for anything else. Remember, most of us are also working a job to pay for the doggy illness so by January 1st we’ve used up a lot of our emotional and brain resources; we’re almost cooked. Alright, so I’ve set the stage; subject doggy type is not thinking about February 14th and if a reminder slips in, it quickly gets put way down the priority list.
Now, life getting in the way can also happen in a non-mushing relationship, but then the significant other can usually save the day with the 11th hour purchase of flowers or candy. In the mushing world this would be the same as a silk rose accompanied by a white, straw filled little bear with an “I Love You” heart and a “Made in Taiwan” tag hanging from his ass acquired at the local Speedway! You should smile and appreciate this because where in the hell was the doggy type supposed to acquire a dozen roses in the middle of nowhere? Even if they could be found, at perhaps the Walmart an hour away, they don’t do well in -10F below and are simply not practical. Flower crumbles is the result.
Chocolate you say! They could buy a box of chocolates; that’s romantic. Yes, there is nothing more romantic than getting a heart shaped box of chocolates and then noticing that all the other spouses at the race have the same damn box, obviously purchased at the local Speedway! It gets even more romantic when you chip a tooth on one of those frozen bits at 3AM because you felt a hunger pang after laying in the straw with your dogs for several hours in -10F below. Yes, I’m sure your love will appreciate the new haggard look! After all, it was in the name of love that you lost that tooth.
Valentine’s Day becomes pure torture when all your non-mushing friends, if you have any after years of running dogs because those friends always seem to disappear, are posting daily about all their romantic weekend activities. Here are a few; “My man treated me to a day spa; he’s the best!”, or “My gal is taking me to see the Red Wings; I found me a keeper!”, or “My honey surprised me with a romantic, candlelight dinner at Chez La Pukes; I love this man!”, or “My favorite dinner, football all day, my feet up and she’s treating me like a king; I love this gal!” Flippen YUCK! Yeah, I didn’t see a whole lot of those coming from my mushing community of friends. As a matter of fact, I cannot think of one. There must be a reason, right?!?!
There is! Day Spas; yeah there are a ton of those in the middle of the woods. Unfortunately, you are usually on the giving end and the receiver has four legs and is covered in fur. There is plenty of massaging going around; just not on you! There are also facials aplenty to go around; I particularly like my tongue washings when it’s below zero so the doggy spit freezes. It becomes like a clay mask and requires tools to remove 36 hours later, but your skin is as soft as a baby’s ass; if it doesn’t get wind burnt to a crisp.
Sporting events; HELL, you are participating in one. How much better could that get? Front row seats and you know all the major players. This is the stuff dreams are made of; right?!?!
The romantic dinner over candlelight is nothing compared to noshing on cold hot dogs in the light of a headlamp looking into each other’s eyes through the steam of your own breath. It feels like a 50 Shades of Grey moment. Suddenly, you have the mad desire to lean over and kiss your doggy type, but then you see the mass of frozen snot encasing their face and POOF; that feeling is gone, gone, gone!
I particularly like the “treating me like a King on Valentine’s Day.” Every handler does this all season long; we don’t need Valentine’s Day for this special treatment. We have dinner ready for our dogs and mushers. We ensure they get plenty of rest. The musher gets to do what they love all day and all night and sometimes for multiple days and nights in a row. Plus, we willingly agree to the abuse and maltreatment that comes along with this thankless job. We are the people behind the musher; the mere minions basking in the limelight of the movie stars. Yep, we do this multiple times a year and it just keeps getting better!
How about jewelry; we all know someone that gets baubles on Valentine’s Day. We get baubles too; lead dog baubles aptly named Ruby, Emerald and Gem! Precious, valuable baubles to adorn our team! These baubles get the white glove treatment because they are so valuable and Lord help you if something should happen to one of those jewels on your watch.
Last, but not least, we must discuss sexy lingerie. Lace teddies, corsets, stockings and crotchless panties aren’t really practical in the mushing world. If you’re brave enough to freeze your goods off, then go for it. However, I’m pretty confident that will probably only happen once. A teddy in polar fleece might be doable, but by the time you found it under 5 layers of long underwear; who cares! Personally, I cannot imagine running with a corset on; its hard enough to breathe under all those layers wearing frankenstein boots let alone with your ribs all smashed together. Stockings might be practical, but they could add a whole new meaning to the term, “quitters” when it comes to socks. On the bright side, I do see a major benefit in the crotchless panties as these could be quite handy in a portajohn in -10 below. I’m thinking low maintenance.
Now I’m sure there are some hopeless romantics out there full of youthful energy that refuse to buy into this dull rendering of mushing romance and I say, “Hats off to you!” I’m sure you can make your relationship the most creative and romantic ever. I would suggest that you start now carving all the frozen turds in the dog yard into little heart shapes for next Valentine’s Day! As for us the rest of us; the hell with Valentine’s Day!