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By Lisa Moore
Hometown Weekly Correspondent
Ariana Delaney and Abby Violin were among the few people happy to see snow last week, hopeful the white stuff would fall in time for the dog sledding presentation they were hosting, one of the many children’s activities offered by the Friends of Sherborn Library. Mother Nature supplied the appropriate backdrop for the presentation and Northern Exposure Outfitters, a family-run adventure organization based in New Hampshire, brought out 10 of their beautiful sled dogs for a family friendly afternoon presentation. Bailey Vitello and Brianna Blomgren of Northern Exposure Outfitters introduced the crowd to Isis, Chub-Chub, Chien (French for dog), Liukin, Monte, Bear, Millie, Mac, Lichen, and Moss.
Vitello, a second-generation musher, explained some of the types of dog sled races in which he participates, and showed those in attendance the gear needed to be prepared for a race. Along with food for both himself and his dog sled team, he showed some essential gear, like his beaver fur gloves that protect his hands from temperatures as cold as -30 degrees, and the dog jackets the dogs use to stay warm after each race segment. He explained how a musher must always be prepared to handle extreme conditions and have the supplies needed to take care of himself and his dog pack.
Watching Vitello and Blomgren work with the dogs and share unique stories about each dog’s strengths, it was clear there was a strong bond between the hounds and their humans. After demonstrating techniques like how to care for the dog’s feet to prevent injuries from ice and sticks, and how to correctly harness the dogs to pull the sled, children were allowed to meet the dogs and practice putting a harness on them.
The sled team, made up of three standard Alaskan Huskies and seven Eurohounds, seemed excited for all of the attention. Children and adults alike were enthusiastic to meet and pet the dogs. Most people are familiar with the Husky, a sturdy dog with thick fur, able to run long distances with only a few hours rest needed between runs. The Eurohounds, however, were not as well-known. The Eurohound, which is bred for sled racing, is a cross-breed between an Alaskan Husky and a pointer. Pointers are fast and smart; the Eurohounds were created to combine those traits with the sturdiness of a Husky, creating an excellent sled dog built to race.
The sport of sled dog racing is an exciting adventure in which man and dog battle the elements and other racers in their quest for victory. To learn more about the sport, or to try an adventure of your own, visit www.ne-outfitters.com.
Coming up next, the Friends of Sherborn Library will be holding the annual Arts and Crafts fair on May 13. There will be artisans, children’s activities, food, plant sales, and other vendors. Up to 90 vendors are expected in what promises to be another fun family event.