These are the dogs that I took care of while I lived in Alaska.

Fairbanks is the dog- sledding capital of the world and that's an easy thing to believe for anyone who's been there. It seems like everyone has two to twenty dogs at their house.

Pepper, the dog in the background, is an Alaskan husky. Huskies have an amazing instinct for running. A lot of huskies have to be kept on a leash at all times, otherwise they will literally run until they collapse from exhaustion. If they get loose, some of them will run nonstop for a couple of days before they drop- often ending up miles from home.

In addition to dog sledding, a lot of people in Alaska use their dogs for a sport known as "ski-jouring." Ski jouring is when a person puts on a pair of cross-country skis and then hooks themself up to one or more dogs who are on a special lease for towing people. In ski-jouring, the dogs work in much the same way as they do on a dogsled team.

While huskies can make good companions, they have a very strong instinct to hunt and chase smaller animals. Trust me on this one...

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Text and all photographs Copyright © 1999 Matthew Gerbrandt
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Revised -- October 17th, 2001