There is one more 9 year old at the kennel: Rambler.
He is also part of the ‘Car Litter’ and is therefore a full sibling to Scout and Olivia.
While he may be at the kennel this Fall, he will not be in harness. Rambler was diagnosed with Cushings just over a year ago. This disease is very challenging to diagnose and to treat. We have been lucky to have done both somewhat successfully.
Basically, Rambler’s adrenal gland is overproducing the hormone, Cortisal, to a lethal degree. Too much of any hormone is bad and this one is no exception. Rambler’s overproduction of Cortisal has been reduced with a daily dosage of very expensive drugs. The drugs target the adrenal gland which is the organ that is responsible for producing Cortisal. So the primary and life threatening effects of Ramblers disease have been reduced but he still looks half dead to anyone who meets him for the first time.
A minute or two after a person gets to know Rambler (nicknamed ‘Lambchop’ for his resemblance to the cartoon hand puppet), they realize that he is still a vibrant, somewhat amusing, healthy-in-his-own-way, entertaining, sled dog (who YES… looks half dead.) Rambler’s husky coat — or lack of one — is really what makes him stand out from the rest.
If we are being honest, he adds absolutely no benefit to the Race Team this season. None. He might even subtract a little if you think about him riding on the back of the ATV as we train the Race Team.
But perhaps in the future, all competitive sled dog teams will include the position of a coxswain (like in rowing competitions). That way Rambler would be in charge of:
- Providing motivation and encouragement to the team
- Inform the team of where they are in relation to other teams and the finish line
- Make any necessary race tactic calls
… he might even be better at that than a musher, eh?
But as Aliy will tell you, if you ever stop in for a cup of coffee, “I originally got into sled dogs because I liked dogs. Plain and simple. And you know what? I still like them today.”
Rambler will live at SP Kennel (usually curled up on a dog bed with whichever stuffed ‘Lampchop’ he chooses for the day) until the time comes when he can no longer hold his head high.