About that sled dog ride...

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Rewind to last Thursday. We are still at the cabin in the snow on our ski vacation. 

Wake up, stretch, yawn, pour some coffee with baileys (what? it's vacation) and sit down to check out the weather at the mountain. Looks good. Sunny. Lots of fresh snow. 

Oh look! Sled dog rides! Gunner would totally enjoy that. 

"Hey Gunner! Want to go on a sled dog ride this afternoon?" 

Loud gasp. "A sled dog ride? Yay!"

I figure in my small little mind that this would be something he would remember forever. I mean, who hasn't dreamt of taking a sled dog ride? Isn't it like, a rite of passage to be on the 30 under 30 list? Or in my case, the mother$*#&ing 40 under 40 list? (Becoming an old hag is so not all it's cracked up to be.)


Off we go. Driving higher and higher up the mountain in my trusty SUV, just me and him, mother/son bonding time. I made sure to bring extra batteries for my camera, because I was certain this was going to be something I would want to document and look back on with fond memories. 

Fond memories. 

Only if the definition of fond is the worst most hellacious abominable terrible most offensive time you have ever had. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself here. 

We spot the sled dogs and pull up. So many of them. They seem happy enough to see us. 


We stand there, Gunner and I, next to our sled, waiting for the dogs to be hooked up. There are ten total, and from the sounds of it, every dog seems to want to be the one to trudge us through the snow. Everything is just about done, ready for us to begin our adventure, when the two dogs closest to Gunner and I start fighting.

And by fighting, I don't mean dancing a little violent jig. These two dogs were full on ravaging each other. The jaws of death being wrapped around the others neck, matted blood spatters and horrid screeching squeals. Both dogs up on their hind legs trying to stay alive and not get flat mauled to death.

Have you ever heard a real dog fight? It ain't pretty. It took three employees to pry these dogs apart. There was kicking and screaming involved. Dragging off by the collars. And here I am, a total animal lover, whose dream it has been my entire life to swim with the dolphins, but once I researched how the animals are kept and treated in captivity, I knew I would never pay a cent to support that. And now I'm about to get on this poor dog death trap and take a ride for my own pleasure?

It's too late now. Gunner is excited out the yang to be here. At least he was, before his precious Lassie dreams got crushed by two sled dogs trying to kill each other.

But we already paid. And two new dogs have been hooked up and our musher says we're ready to go.

I shake it off, put on my best face and stammer, "Come on Gunner! Our sled is ready! This is gonna be soooo much fun!"

He unburies his head from the snow, dries his eyes from the tears and looks at me as if saying, "mom? You are supposed to protect me from such unhappiness and suffering."

Oh don't be a puss, this cost me a fortune and you can see right there that there are no refunds available. Get on the sled. We are going to have FUN damnit!

(this is the look of fun)

Off we go. A few miles into it, all is good. Dogs are running in sync, no one is killing each other, and Gunner seems to have recovered. He's actually cracking a smile, thinking this might not be so bad after all.



There we are, rounding a bend, when a woman appears (I'm sure she was the devil in disguise) with two little pomeranians. Apparently, the sled dogs are trained to ignore other animals they encounter on the trail, and just pass on by. Except this time.


Everyone follows the two lead dogs. And when those two lead dogs took off for the poms, the rest of the pack followed suit. Which would include my son and I, since we were trapped inside that God forsaken rackety ol' sled. What makes this story even more interesting, is we were heading down a narrow straightaway path, so when the dogs turned to take after the poms, they were all getting tangled in their rope lines, which in turn made them even more frustrated and angry which in turn made them yank on the sled harder and harder and I was certain we were going to tip over and get dragged to our deaths.

Our musher in the back? (You know, the guy who leads the dogs and is supposed to keep us safe?) Well he went into a booming tirade screaming every obscenity in the book. I'll be the first to admit that I lose my cool around my kids and let an f-bomb fly here or there, but Gunner had never heard this kind of language before. To hell with his supposed excitement for this once in a lifetime experience, the poor kid was flat freaked out and I'm sure questioning why on Earth God gave him me as his mother.

Our musher could not gain control of the dogs, so he said to me in a tone I will never forget; "Raven, I need you and Gunner to get out of the sled as carefully but quickly as possible." Sure thing dude, you don't have to tell me twice. We hop out and stand over to the side. Our musher is trying in vain to get the dogs untangled, turned around, settled down, with no luck. So I offer myself up to him and ask, "so, um, do you like, need my help or something?" I could tell he knew he should say no, because of the certain liability he could face if he had the customer help him out and the customer got hurt in the process, but I also knew he really had no other choice, so without hesitation, he hurried back to the sled, threw down one of the ice pick anchors, jacked out the brake petal and directed me to "put one foot here, the other there. And whatever you do, do not let go! The dogs may try and yank you behind the sled, but do not, I repeat do not let your foot off that break!"

Well shit.

Can I change my mind about helping?

Oh and Gunner. Poor little thing. Our musher had to take matters into his own hands and yell at him to stay back by the trees, out of the way of danger. Whenever he inched a step closer, we both berated him to STAY THE EFF BACK! What else could we do? The very last thing we wanted to have happen would be an innocent little four year old to meet his demise from the happiest sled dog team of all time. So there he was, sitting by the trees, crying his head off because he was so confused, so scared, and probably pissed off most of all.

After some time of trying to untangle and settle the dogs, nothing was working. We were completely turned around by this time and our musher said our only choice was to head back the way we came. Which would in turn be putting us in direct traffic of other sled dog teams coming our way. It would be like driving the wrong way down the highway, with oncoming cars zooming right by you, right at you.

We basically spent the return ride back with our eyes closed. And I'm pretty sure I whispered the Lord's prayer to Gunner about fifty times. When we finally returned (by the grace of God), we were out of that hell hole and halfway down the road before our musher could thank us and say, "now you guys make sure to come back again, ok?"

I try not to use the really bad cuss words here on this blog, but my response to him?


61 comments on "About that sled dog ride..."
  1. O...M...G...

    I really have no words.

  2. Oh my goodness, poor Gunner! That is craziness...lol.

    I would have demanded a refund for sure.

  3. Oh my goodness, I'm so sorry that y'all had such a horrible time! However, you are absolutely hilarious even in the wake of a bad experience. You tell the best stories! And I probably would have responded in the EXACT same way.

  4. ha, of course this would happen to you. and yes I would have also demanded a refund. =) poor gunz!

  5. This makes me both laugh AND feel sad at the same time. Poor Gunner!! Poor YOU! I'd be terrified and angry and extremely irritated. So much for a fun sled dog ride!

  6. Dear god. Nightmare. I would have demanded a refund. And perhaps compensation from the therapy that my kid might endure!

  7. oh my god poor Gunner! and poor you that's horrible! you should have gotten money back and he asked you to come back?? what?!?! what an experience

  8. ....

    I have no words for you and Gunner's awful experience. =(

    If it helps, the bf made me go on a jet ski, in the middle of the ocean, with a storm coming in. Ok, maybe it was my idea. But it was horrific. Maybe I should blog about it. Someone might get a chuckle.

  9. I think these things happen to you Raven because you are the only one who can deliver such an entertaining story about such terrifying events! Poor Gunner! At least this is one of those vacation stories NEITHER of you will ever forget!!!
    Glad you all made it safely back! And I think your response to the musher was more than justified!!!

  10. I would have been flippin' my shizzz... So glad yall made it out safely!

  11. OMG Raven!!! This will be something he will never forget! Atleast your misfortunes can make us laugh a little! But in all seriousness I'm glad you two made it out alright!! I bet your husband wished he was there for that one!

  12. OMG! I have no words for this. Is this real life? I cannot believe this happened to you! I'm so sorry for you (and Gunner)! Luckily you guys made it back safely. Seriously? No refund even after all of that??

  13. Wow. I don't care what their policy is y'all should have gotten a refund!!

  14. This would be like a scene in my very own movie my friend. This would totally happen to me too! Poor Gunner and Poor momma. But poor Gunner most of all because he couldn't drown his sorrows in a nice cold one afterwards like you could :) love ya girlfriend!

  15. You didn't mention instead of giving you a refund he told you that you "really got your money's worth on that one" because you had to double back. Ha!! Almost as good as paying $200 for a private ski lesson for gunner to roll around in the store.

  16. This is beyond crazy & awful...jeez so sorry you had to go through that :-/

  17. Well at least you'll get your wish...he will definitely remember this forever!!

    Obviously this was a trainwreck (dogsled wreck?) but at least you're able to look back and laugh (or at least make US laugh). It definitely made for a great story.

    I'm just glad you're both alive!! I'm sure you told the hubs, what was his reaction??

  18. Um wow. First off, i'm glad no one got injured in this mess....

    I have witnessed dog fights...my pup and my parents dog have goten into it REAL bad. I have extreme anxiety about it now and refuse to let my pup go to a dog park for fear of mean dogs. I digress.... Its scary and I hate that y'all had to encounter that.

    I would have been irrate and gotten my money back...that is just awful.

  19. O.M.G....I really hope you got a refund!

  20. hahahahahhahahahahahaha this is hilarious. So something that would happen to me and my non-existent child. Poor Gunz.

  21. hahahahahhahahahahahaha this is hilarious. So something that would happen to me and my non-existent child. Poor Gunz.

  22. oh man!! I'm sorry. When I was growing up, I wasn't- but my Sister was deathly afraid of dogs. Whenever we went on walks, my Dad had to lift her on his shoulders when we passed one. I was never scared. But then when I was about 5, I saw a real fight between two big dogs and even I had a little bit of a spook. It's scary (though cat fights make MUCH scarier noises!). So I can imagine how scared G-Man was just from the first fight! The rest sounds scarier than anything else though and I'm so glad you guys are okay!

    Next time, try Snowmobiling :) Doing that at Bachelor was a BLAST.

  23. I'd be terrified! I was before I even read the post!

  24. Ahhh it's like a really bad dream you can't wake up from!!

  25. You seriously are my sister! How have we never met and why are we not planning out trip NOW!!

    This would so happen to me! And I too would tell him to Fuck off!!

    Love you little one!

  26. Oh my god, Gunner has a memory alright! Your kid may be scarred for life. This is both ridiculously funny and disturbing.

  27. They didn't even offer you a refund???!

  28. wait, you didn't get a refund!!!!!!! I am so surprised that you didn't DEMAND a refund! that is crazy!!!!

  29. Wow! Youre a good Momma for trying to stay calm through all of that craziness! Glad you both came back safely! I would have showed my tail when the sled arrived back at the starting point.

  30. I'm pretty sure my eyes couldn't get any wider at this point.. WOW. That is incredible you were able to keep your cool. Thank goodness you guys didn't get hurt and returned in one piece!

    & They didn't offer you a refund?!

    Hopefully in a few years you both can sit back and laugh at this, hopefully. You were right about it being memorable though!

  31. WOW this seriously sounding like I was watching a movie. I cannot believe that happened to you & your poor son! He is probably going to be scared of dogs for the rest of his life. Way to step in & save the day though :) Hey, at least it made for a great blog story!

  32. DID YOU GET A REFUND?!?!?!?

    HOLY BALLS. That man and company's rep is on the line. Cannot believe he had the nerve to say that at the end...is he losing his GD mind?

    however, this made excellent blog material.

  33. Wow obviously I can't speak english, what I meant to say was "WOW this seriously sounded like..." haha

  34. oh my hell... that's all I got.

  35. oh.my.god. soo funny!! I rarely actually laugh out loud when reading a blog post.. but this is ridiculously funny

  36. Sounds like you had a great time! Why must you be so ungrateful? He gave you your money's worth, right?

  37. Seriously, I'm SO sorry your poor son had this terrible experience, maybe he can laugh about it later.
    But, I really am laughing so hard tears are streaming down my face at work. You tell stories well!

  38. That is just horrible. I hate that they didn't offer a refund. Beyond rude.

  39. I don't even know what to say or how to feel about this!! Laugh, cry, be angry!? Crikeys!! What an ORDEAL!!! Soooo, you wouldn't recommend dog sledding then...?

  40. Oh my gosh!! What an experience! I'm sorry you and Gunner had such a terrifying ride! :(

  41. Omg I would of asked for a refund!!

  42. LMAO! an experience to remember. hahahaha

  43. Oh my goodness Raven!!!!!!! Poor Gunner!!!!!!!!!! I would have been SO PISSED!!!! And I am the queen of "asking for the manager" when things go awry...is there even a manager at this type of place? LOL!!!

    I'm sorry you guys had a terrible experience!!!!!!! I just want to give him a huge hug!!!!

  44. Wow...I cannot believe how unprofessional ALL of that is. I hope they apologized and refunded your money! I wouldn't have left until they did. That is awful :(

  45. Wow...I cannot believe how unprofessional ALL of that is. I hope they apologized and refunded your money! I wouldn't have left until they did. That is awful :(

  46. serrriously!! is this real life?
    1) did you for real tell him to fuck off? bc that's great..
    and 2) did you not get a refund??

    Hopefully poor lil baby Gunner will laugh about this one day!

    thanks for the traumatizing story/LOL

  47. Umm...is it bad that I laughed out loud at your unfortunate experience?

    That really sounds god awful. Poor Gunner :(

  48. oh. my. gosh. this makes me so sad!! i've always wondered about the treatment of sled dogs, i guess that's probably not usually a pretty situation. and that... musher guy... whatever you call him, he sounds terrible! what a bad experience. i hate that for y'all! i hope your little man wasn't too traumatized. gosh.

  49. oh wow...hopefully the little boo boo is alright!

  50. Youre a BIATCH.

    the recent post, to gunner man for his birthday was just the sweetest and i wanted to tell you how AWESOME it was... but you must have been drinking and did some mis-clicking of some sort... BECAUSE I CANT COMMENT!


    okay. so i loved it.

    did you get that?

    loved it.


  51. Okay Raven, your posts KILL me. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Glad you and Gunner made it out alive, and I hope he isn't too terribly traumatized...

  52. Thanx for the INVITE!!!!

  53. Raven this is hysterical! I can just imagine the craziness!

  54. Oooh hellllll no. lol. I would be freaking the eff out. And no way... Goodness. You're brave. lol

  55. I can't help it - this was hilarious!

  56. HORRIFYING!!! But I was totally crying when you said:

    "Oh don't be a puss, this cost me a fortune and you can see right there that there are no refunds available. Get on the sled. We are going to have FUN damnit!"

    Newest Follower,

  57. This post absolutely cracked me up! I know sled dogs are very highly strung and can fight a lot, they have to be highly strung to be able to run hundreds of miles. It must have been scary...but I was wetting myself reading this! Ellie xxx


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