Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Zulu Turns 12 Today!
Zulu, the magnificent, came to Points Unknown when he was 5 years old in 2001. We were told he was a leader but for the first year and a half, he didn't show us that side of him. I was becoming frustrated with his lack of leader abilities and placed him in point position for almost a year. After which time, a light bulb must have been flipped on because he not only became a good leader, he has been the most exceptional open country leader I have ever seen! I believe it took him that long to adjust and feel as though he fit in and when he did, he showed us the real Zulu.
As I have mentioned many times over, Zulu will turn on a dime just as the command leaves my mouth. This command only needs to be uttered softly and he's all over it. The bond that has been built over the years between musher and this sled dog is beyond words. I can't thank him or respect him enough for all of this hard work and for leading us away from dangerous conditions on occasions too numerous to count.
Zulu officially retired in the middle of the 2007-2008 season. His mind wanted to go but his body wasn't cooperating. After longer runs he began to vomit and when lifting his left leg out of the harness, he would scream, likely indicating that the Lyme disease he came to us with may have been affecting his joints a bit too much for serious work. If the pain doesn't affect him on shorter runs, he will be helpful in training the new pups in lead this fall. Otherwise and until then, Zulu will enjoy the life of a part time house dog. He just needs to learn a few new house rules - don't eat toilet paper and don't eat the little dogs' stuffed toys. I also need to find him a job and teach him some more commands. He will sit and stare at me while I work at the computer or while relaxing in a chair endlessly until I give him a command, which he does instantly. I'll be teaching this dog some new tricks!
Happy Birthday Zu man!