Last winter Carver Lake Veterinary Center was thrilled to have nine amazing sled dogs in our clinic for annual exams. To make the day even more excitng the Metro area had one of its biggest storms of the season. Talk about getting you in the mood for some of the strongest, hard working dogs on the planet. These special dogs are called Polar Huskies, they are a cross between Alaskan Malamutes, Greenlandic Husky, Alaskan Husky, and more. They are bred for size, strength, and of course the desire to pull the sled! The Go North! adventure team has anywhere from 25-35 dogs at a time, and they don’t just pull sleds, they are used to educate and inspire youth.
Go North! is an online approach to learning for kids in grades K-12. They focus on environmental science, climate, and culture. For the last 4 years Go North! and the Polar Huskies have been collecting data for the USDA, NASA, and the NSF (National Science Foundation) . While dogs ranging in age from a few months to 15 years are pulling sleds through ice, snow, blizzards, and rough terrain, a number of scientists are gathering snow, wild animal feces, and meeting the local people to learn about their cultures.
- Why gather snow? NASA is using the samples and data to verify the snows depth, water content, and more.
- Why collect wild animal feces? The Artic area is experiencing climate changes which effects the presence of parasites in animals and people; this is an important area of human and animal health that USDA is trying to understand.
- Why meet the locals? The NSF team documents traditional ecological knowledge (TEK). This information focuses on how changing weathers and climates influence those communities.
Now we know what Go North! does in those cold remote areas of earth, lets get back to the dogs! They weigh an average of 90 pounds and come in a wonderful array of colors. The fur is a very dense double coat that starts with a downy undercoat and is covered by longer guard hairs. These dogs were developed by Will Steger and the people of the Artic to develop this heavy breed that can pull for miles and miles while weighed down by upto 1200 pounds. WOW. The Polar Husky is built for long journeys that may last months and run an average of 3-4 miles per hour. This working dog eats a specialized high-fat food that ranges from 4500-6000 calories a day when pulling. In the summer a good old dry kibble is fed while they wait again for cooler weather.
The Go North! team resides right here in Minnesota. I encourage you to check out the website and talk to your children about getting educators to sign up for the FREE curriculum and activity guide. On February 22nd the team goes LIVE on the internet for their Greenland trip Follow them, send messeges, get involved! Go to www.polarhusky.com.