Dog Sledding

This post by Jennifer Flaten

It’s November 19th and here in Wisconsin we’ve had a glorious fall. Most days were unseasonable warm, sunny and full of gorgeous fall color, but the party is ending. This weekend snow is in the forecast.

Now, I don’t mind snow, in a decorative sense. I would be most pleased if the snow would fall in tidy piles on the grass and landscape and stay off the roads and sidewalks. Of course, that is adult me, who has to drive in it and shovel it talking. The childhood me loved snow, the more the merrier. I have several fond memories of bundling up in my snowsuit a066 and playing outside in the snow.

One of my most vivid memories is of my grandpa taking me for a walk in the snow. He loaded me into my red plastic sled and with our big German Shepard mix dog at his side pulled me along the unplowed road. We walked along the road checking on the neighbor’s houses. Our neighbor’s were all summer people who asked my grandfather to keep an eye on their houses during the off season.


After checking on the neighbor’s, we returned home. Our house lay at the bottom of a hill, so our driveway had a considerable slope. On that day, my grandfather decided it would be fun to play eskimo. I am not sure if he actually thought the dog would enjoy it, or if he was just tired of dragging me along in my sled.

Anyway, at the top of the hill, we stopped and he hooked the sled’s tow line to the dog’s collar. Then proceed to walk on expecting my “sled” dog to follow.


The dog obliged this foolishness and walked few steps. I loved it. I remember giggling and encouraging to dog to walk more and she did.

So for a few glorious minutes, I rode like a Russian prince and then the dog decided she’d had enough of that and took off. She went at a brisk pace down the hill. On a flat surface it might have been okay, but we were still on the hill and I quickly gained speed. As we zipped down the driveway, at first I thought it was wonderfully thrilling, but it didn’t take long before I was terrified.


The dog was headed directly for our open garage, problem is there was a car parked in front of it. The dog was fine, she was going to pass by the side of the car, my sled on the other hand, was on a collision course with the car.

I had no way of steering the dog, and even though my grandfather was hurrying to catch up I was certain we were going to crash into the car.

Now, looking back at it, I know I should have rolled out of the sled, but at the time I never thought of that, instead as the dog approached the car i just laid back and hoped I could slide under the car.

Luckily, I didn’t get to find out if my plan would work because the dog stopped just short of the car.

After that I decided that if my grandfather asked me to accompany him on a walk I would definitely walk, not ride in a sled.

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9 thoughts on “Dog Sledding

  1. I could share so many sledding stories. It seems like it snowed a lot more in our area when I was younger. I feel like we went sledding all winter many years. We had a hill behind our house that seemed like one of the Alps, though it looks tiny now. We used to carry jugs of water up the hill to put a sheen of ice on the hillside. In retrospect, that seems somewhat foolish.


  2. Great story, Jennifer! I’ve been able to be on a dog sled ride in times past and absolutely loved it! Those teams are amazing to watch and to take part in; I’d do it again in a heartbeat! (with a trained musher, of course!) Thanks for sharing a fun memory with us and stay warm and safe this winter!!


  3. Fun memory, Jennifer! as I write this comment the first flurries of wet snow are falling outside my window. I’m hoping that when I wake up tomorrow morning (Saturday) there won’t be nay lying snow or any falling snow as I’m very selfish in that I’m driving a 40 mile round trip to a Craft Fair to sell my novels. It’s not far away but we have a lot of very small country roads around here which can be treacherous. On the other hand, I love it when there’s a really deep fall of snow that’s crisp like a marshmallow! (so long as I’m not caught out driving in it)


  4. I had some hair-raising sled experiences too as a kid in Michigan. Really did love the snow. One of the funniest sledding stories happened to our older daughter. We drove to the Sierras so the kids could play in the snow and used a round disk sled. First run down the hill, she discovered to her dismay that the flat spot at the bottom was a creek. Slid up a small rise, sailed through the air and landed smack in the icy water. Good thing we had a change of clothes in the car.


  5. Loved the story Jennifer. To go from delight to terror in a few minutes must have been quite an experience! I have lots of funny sledding/dog stories that I’ll have to share. The snow doesn’t bother me now any more than it did when I was a kid – I love it!


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