Dog days of winter at Brookfield Zoo

May 28, 2010 3:42:09 PM PDT
The Siberian husky is said to be one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. For centuries they have pulled sleds over the frozen landscape to help man survive. On Sunday Siberian huskies will be showing off their many talents at Brookfield Zoo.

Blizzard, Sally, Kodiak and Czar were born to run and pull and pull and pull. And, on Sunday the sled dogs will pull in a crowd at Brookfield Zoo.

"It's FREEZE-Day at Brookfield Zoo. It's free admission day. We are going to have dog sleds from Green Valley Dog Drivers. REI Snowshoeing ... native American Story Tellers. A bunch of fun stuff. Come out and enjoy the day," said Ken Grzeslo, Brookfield Zoo.

This morning we got a sneak preview look at the Green Valley Dog Drivers and their Siberian huskies. These dogs have a history that goes back deep into our frozen tundra past. They were born to run and pull heavy loads in a sub zero world.

"The Siberian Husky is built for winter, for cold, for snow. They have fur in their ears, the bottom of their paws, between their paws," said Annette McNeely, Green Valley Dog Drivers.

They also happen to have a double coat of fur for warmth in the winter and cool in the summer. These Siberian huskies all have several things in common: they're as gentle as can be, they have unbelievable endurance, they're strong, and they are all rescue dogs.

"People buy these dogs because they're beautiful and find out they have a lot of energy and can be destructive if they're not given a job," said McNeely. "We come along and we rescue them and we give them a job."

Their job, of course, is to pull sleds, which they love. And by the way, never say "mush." That's for amateurs.

"The musher is the one who drives the sled ... and you say 'hike' to go," said Green.

They can work for up to 20 hours a day without a break during the dog days of winter.


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