Sled dog mushes onward despite lost guide
Last August, Asmara Polcyn’s dog Ace went missing, leaving another of her dogs – Patch, a retired sled dog who is blind – without his trusty mushing mate. Although Ace remains lost, Polcyn has found a way forward for Patch to keep doing what he loves – running on snow.
“Patch is doing great,” says Polcyn, who lives in Lord Roberts and owns a dog training company. As mushing season was approaching and there had still been no sign of Ace, Polcyn decided to adopt Condor, another Alaskan Husky from the same racing kennel Patch had come from. As with Ace previously, Patch is able to run safely at top speed next to Condor.
Polcyn recently took in another husky – Kiwi-Bob – who was bred by a Cree musher in Saskatchewan and also serves as a guide for Patch.
Polcyn runs her dogs in harness two or three times a week – pulling her on either a sled or skis – in areas with wide open trails, such as Birds Hill Park. Polcyn also enters them into races designed for pet dogs, such as last month’s Snow Motion skijoring and kick sledding races, in which Patch, Condor, and Kiwi-Bob won silver.
When it comes to dog races, Polcyn says her policy is “Safety, fun, podium. In that order, always. So, if the dogs have a really good time, we won.”
She pointed out that city dogs – especially well-trained dogs – tend to have very controlled lives and there are very few places where they can truly let loose. With mushing, by contrast, their only task is to run as fast and as far as they can.
“To see these dogs kind of get it and put their head down and just tear up that trail in front of them – fantastic,” she said. It’s also about celebrating winter, dogs, and companionship, she added.
Although Patch now has new running mates, Polcyn greatly misses Ace. She suspects he was stolen and says there has been absolutely no sign of him, though the police did investigate one possible sighting and she continues to get messages from people as far as Belgium claiming to have spotted a dog resembling Ace.
Not knowing for certain what happened to Ace makes it especially difficult for Polcyn to move on. While she longs for closure, however, she said she remains optimistic.
“I haven’t completely lost hope that I’ll see him again someday.”
South Osborne community correspondent
Tracy Groenewegen is a community correspondent for South Osborne. She can be reached at email@example.com