Ghost has now been on a handful of tours and has me wanting to take the opportunity to elaborate on the history of this exceptionally wonderful girl. She is my pound puppy. I follow the Fairbanks animal shelter Facebook page and when I saw her post something immediately moved in me. I wasn't looking for another dog but I knew I needed to be near this one. I originally just filled out foster paperwork but that inevitably and quickly moved to adoption forms... When she was first brought to me she had on two collars and two leashes because of the fear of her getting away- if she did she'd be gone and for who knows how long, she was petrified of people. "She's going to be my partner. Unbreakable so." Was my thoughts as I drove her home that first day- though of course, the way about it was work I hadn't expected but even so turned into more beauty then I had imagined. Corny I know, but she is one of my fairy-tales I have been able to live out through this life with dogs. She came to me under the name of Blanca but that name developed into Ghost in our first few nights together. She would dash around in the shadows if she had even the remote idea that someone may try to approach her, my little ghost she was. I was determined to get her to trust and love me as that first sight of her did for me. But nothing was working. I had her inside with me, on the couch with me, sleeping inside at night with me. But petrified is the only word I can use to describe the way she looked at me. She had quickly made friends with any dog outside in the yard she was next to and those beautiful manors with such a playful personality gave me hope even if none of it was directed towards me yet. One night she even got loose and my ever so patient partner helped me run around in our robes in 20 below weather at 2 am to bring her back.
Finally, one beautifully sunny and cold evening (perfect running conditions for the dogs) I figured I'd try her in harness. Petrified still she allowed me to dress her and bring her to the line. Keeping her untangled from her anxious stares around her was difficult but finally we were moving. We loped out of the yard, into the woods and she absolutely came alive. I could almost feel the tension in her little body melt away as she started to run. I knew what to do now, understood a small part of her brain as I know what it feels to just want to be moving down the trail. Instead of time on the couch, I started to take her on walks. Instead of sleeping inside I gave her a house with the rest of the yard and now the chance for her to join the pack, make her place in the family of dogs. And she ran. The team and the outdoors changed us. On walks she would climb onto my lap and rotate her ears while she stayed perfectly still, listening to the neighboring wildlife. I taught her the name Ghost and she latched on to it immediately, sprinting back to me when I called as now we could trust each other to freely walk through the woods together.
She continued to dominate in team. While everyone gave their 100% she found 200% to give. When the rest of the dogs felt monotony in old trails she found that extra inside of herself that many of us may never find. So one day while mushing, action without thought found me as it does for many mushers surrounded by cold and only thoughts of dogs- I put her in lead. She never once looked back and has been training there since. My right arm, my partner, the one I trust who has the eyes that let me know when I'm doing the right thing, my Ghost.