Sled dogs visit the University of Wisconsin-Higher
SUPERIOR, Wis. – “That’s really cool, I’ve never been on a dog sled before, so this was my first time and it definitely wasn’t all I expected,” Molly says Mason, a student at UWS.
The sled dogs were out at UWS, an event organized by TRIO Student Support Services with Cast Outdoor Adventures, Inc., a nature-based company that strives to educate people about the sport of dog sledding.
“We do a lot of education, we take people to the boundary waters via sled dogs. We do ice fishing and winter camping, so winter is kind of our main season,” says Heather Hicks, co-owner of Cast Outdoor Adventures, Inc.
While learning commands and harnessing techniques, participants were introduced to dogs that each require a unique approach.
“All of our dogs are unique in some way, and so sometimes when we do our training-based work, we can find people, just like everyone is unique and has their own personality, to kind of pair them up. like dogs,” Heather said. Hicks.
“She looks a lot like me, I can tell,” Molly Mason says.
Once a dog’s gifts are established, it can then be determined where they fit into the team.
“A lot of our dogs come from racing teams, are retired, or just don’t race,” Heather Hicks said.
Running at a pace of 8 to 10 miles per hour, these dogs are no match for big races like Beargrease. On the contrary, they are better suited for educational events like this.
“Anytime we can get people outside and especially understanding in a climate like this, there’s a lot of cold weather for several months of the year and so finding outdoor activities in which we can engaging us that are fun and enjoyable and good learning experiences I think is super important,” says Danny Frank, Director of Student Support Services at TRIO.
After learning about the dogs and what’s going on in the sport, the students were able to take a spin on the UWS track, allowing a taste of what mushing is all about.
“It wasn’t as scary as I thought. I like to run for fun, but certainly not when something pulls me in,” says Molly Mason.
For a sled dog team to function as an effective engine, it must be fueled by the trust established between the dogs and the musher.
“When this dog gains your trust, he will do anything for you and we see him on the trails so often. It’s really cool to see that magic happen there,” Heather Hicks said.
During the warmer months, when not on the trails, Cast Outdoor Adventures also runs wilderness first aid sessions and canoe trips.