AR-News: (CT)"Sled dogs pull in laughter at library"
Glickman37 at aol.com
Glickman37 at aol.com
Sun Feb 8 12:54:56 EST 2004
Sled dogs pull in laughter at library
By Alison Damast
February 8, 2004
NORWALK -- George Linardos hopped onto a wooden sled and gave the six regal
Siberian huskies prancing in front of him a pep talk.
"Hip, hip," shouted Linardos, president of the Siberian Husky Club of Western
Connecticut. "Go, go, go."
Elsa, Hercules, Jack, Mad Maxx, Jo Jo, and Sierra broke into a mad dash,
tugging the sled and Linardos through the snow-covered field next to Rowayton
A group of children bundled in mittens and hats and sipping hot chocolate
could barely contain their excitement as the hearty dogs flew by, whipping wind
in their faces.
"I think that it is really cool to see all these dogs," said Lydia Williams,
11, a Rowayton resident who came to the library with her father, Jeff
Williams. "You hear about sled races going on in Alaska, but you don't see it very
much in Connecticut."
The sled dog demonstration yesterday by the Siberian Husky Club of Western
Connecticut was the kick-off event for the Rowayton Library's centennial
celebration. About 100 people showed up at the demonstration, many of whom got a
chance to ride on the sleigh and learn about the dogs.
Siberian huskies are medium-sized with erect ears, a soft, thick, black and
white coat and a friendly temperament. A group of six huskies pulling a sleigh
can run 30 to 35 mph, Linardos said. The male dogs weigh 50 to 65 pounds;
females, 40 to 50 pounds.
He affectionately calls the dogs his "little jeeps."
"There are bigger dogs, but per pound, these are the strongest dogs in the
world," Linardos said.
Organizers of the celebration are hoping that seeing the Siberian huskies
will inspire the community to read "The Cruelest Miles," a true account by Gay
and Laney Salisbury about the 1925 diphtheria epidemic in Nome, Alaska, and the
treacherous journey to deliver a serum.
Children are being encouraged to read books about Togo and Balto, two sled
dogs that made the trip. Next month, the library will host a talk by Gay
"Having one book being read by the whole community is a real special thing
and a way of bringing the whole town together," said Wendell Livingston, a
Rowayton resident and a trustee on the board of the Rowayton Library.
The initial sleigh run, done with six dogs, did not go as smoothly as they
are typically depicted in movies and books. It was the first time some of the
Siberian huskies had participated in a sleigh run, Linardos said.
After running for about a minute, some dogs lost their bearings and jumped on
top of each other playfully, impeding the progress of the group.
"There were six dogs, and some of the dogs didn't get the idea," Linardos
said, wiping his brow after numerous runs around the course. "The concept went
right through them. But at least it gets the dogs together. They get to
Koby, 3, a male Siberian husky, made his sleigh race debut at the event
yesterday. His owner, Sharon Surette, a New Canaan resident, was excited to her dog
"We wanted to hook him up to a sled and give him a chance to do his thing,"
she said. "He has never done it on the snow."
The slightly balmy winter weather, with temperatures rising above 35 degrees
as the morning wore on, made racing difficult for the medium-sized dogs,
"The challenge here today is the snow is no good. It is slushy and mushy,"
Lindardos said. "Over 35 degrees, you don't want them to run because they get
Despite the less-than-ideal sleighing conditions, many children got a chance
to hop onto the sleigh and go for a short ride around the course.
Lucas Aubrey, 11, got to lead a pack of two dogs.
"It was fun because it went so fast and was bumpy," he said. "I thought it
would be sort of calm, but it wasn't."
Other children were impressed by power of the huskies.
"I like dogs, and they are cute dogs," said 6-year-old Delaney Nollman. "When
you go that fast, you get a lot of snow stuck in your pants and on your
"It went a lot faster than other sleds," piped in her friend, 6-year-old
The event brought together about 100 people, ranging from senior citizens to
"I think this is great because people of all ages can enjoy it," said
Jennifer Korzenik, who came to the event with her husband, Peter, and their
22-month-old daughter, Peyton. "This is something unique, not something you see every
day. There is a mystique about sleigh dogs, that they are like wolves. But they
are so friendly and are just great dogs."
Copyright © 2004, Southern Connecticut Newspapers, Inc.
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