Happy The Sled Dog

Hi!... I'm Happy... I'm always Happy... That's why they call me Happy!... My full name is "Happy The Sled Dog" and here's my story:

I may not look like an Alaksan Husky sled dog, but I am one! I was born in a remote Alaskan village sometime in 2005. My mother was a single mom, working as a trap-line dog for a local family.

Nobody knows who my father was, and my mom never talked about him. Everybody says he must have been a real hound-dog who had a fling with my mom then hit the trail again. I don't know what that means, but it sounds good to me!

Since I didn't look like the other huskies, my human family didn't think I could be a sled dog. So, they chained me to a boat motor and pretty much ignored me. That didn't make me happy, so I always tried to dance and wave to get their attention.

One day when I was still a puppy, there was a terrible blizzard. All the other dogs were hunkered down in their houses to wait out the storm, but I was left outside, still chained to that boat motor. It was so cold that my pack mates were miserable, but the cold didn't bother me. I'm pretty, but I'm tough, too!

All of a sudden, this really nice lady musher pulled her team up next to our dog yard, so I danced and waved to her. She smiled at me and said, "Look at you, happy dog! I want you to be one of my dogs!" The next thing I know, she's handed some money to my human boss, put me in her sled bag and we're running down the trail at top speed!

It turns out that nice lady is a famous racing musher named Aliy Zirkle and she gave me a new home with all her other dogs at SP Kennel in Two Rivers, AK. I was very happy to live there because I got my own house, plenty of hot meals, lots of really nice pack mates and tons of attention from humans!

A few years ago, another really nice human named Macgellan spent the winter with us at SP Kennel, working with the other humans and all of us racing sled dogs. I have to admit it was love at first sight for me, and before long he was my best friend.

Macgellan was always so nice to me, petting me, praising me, singing to me and everything. Anytime I wasn't so sure what was going on with the whole "racing sled dog" thing -- which was actually most of the time! -- he always gave me lots of calm, patient guidance and plenty of encouragement. I also really liked that I made him laugh a lot!

We had tons of fun together that winter, including a story he tells about what he calls our "special relationship." You should read "The Happy Story" because it's the story that made me famous. That's right, I became famous when I ran the Iditarod all the way from Anchorage to Nome and Macgellan kissed my bottom at the finish line!

I spent the next few years training and racing, mostly helping out my pack mates when there weren't enough dogs to fill out the second- or third-string teams. You see, the truth is that I never turned out to be a very good sled dog after all. At least not compared to my superstar kennel mates!

Aliy and Macgellan have tried to explain it to me by saying that I may have gotten my strong, fit body from my sled dog mother, but I've gotten a hound dog nose and brain from my father.

I don't really understand all that, but I do know I'm the only dog who pays close attention to every squirrel we run past. How can the other dogs not find those critters so fascinating that you just have to look at them -- and sometimes jump sideways off the trail! -- every time you spot one?

Aliy also often said things like I went "mental" on the trail. Sometimes she would call me "Blondie" even though I'm clearly mostly black and tan!

She didn't really mind though, because I always did my job and finished every race. I would always train hard, and no matter how far we ran I would always do my dance when we got back to the kennel to show that I was ready, willing and eager to go farther. That would usually get my pack mates fired up too, so despite my handicaps I was always appreciated as a team cheerleader.

I would see Macgellan from time to time over those years, and that was always especially fun. I always looked for him -- especially during races -- and whenever I saw him I'd pick up my ears and even try to do a little dance for him. If I could point like you humans do, I would have done that too!

The bosses didn't really like it when I did that during races, so I sometimes heard my name called out in a not very nice tone of voice. But what's a girl to do when she sees her best friend standing out in the middle of the arctic wilderness? Pretend she isn't excited to see him? Not this happy girl!

I retired from racing at the end of 2012 and was pretty much just hanging around the kennel when all of a sudden Aliy loaded me into a brand new dog crate, drove me to the airport and put me on a cargo plane. What in the world is going on, I wondered for a while, but pretty soon found myself getting unloaded at another airport.

I couldn't believe my eyes when out of nowhere my best friend Macgellan showed up and gave me a big hug. The next thing you know, we're dancing and hugging then driving to his dog house and moving in.

I've got my own space and a really comfy bed, but what I like most is that we're with each other all the time. We go everywhere together and he says we're going to have lots of adventures for me to tell you about. You can view all my posts here!

So, there you have it! That's pretty much all about me, a neglected little girl from a remote Alaskan village who became a famous Iditarod racing sled dog and has retired to a life of luxury with my best human friend.

Whoever that Cinderella girl is, she's got nothing on my story... Stay tuned!