The Future Home of Iditarod Dreams: Late September Dogs

The Future Home of Iditarod Dreams: Late September Dogs

Shifter is the tan dog in lead

As I was lying in bed the other night, between the moment of slumber and rest I could hear all of the dogs around me at the kennels in the neighborhood. There are at lest four of them within a 1/4 mile or so. I soon realized that this is what I came here for. I am here to run sled dogs. Not attempt to take over the world like Stewie on Family Guy but to follow my dreams and follow my heart and discover the passion again that has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Soon I will have dogs of my own and begin to build the team that will take me into the future.

As I lay there, unable to go back to sleep i thought of a song by Melissa Etheridge called Late September Dogs. The first stanza is:

Just outside my window I hear the late September dogs

And I understand their warning and I understand their song

For about a month now I have been running sled dogs with a few of the people in the neighborhood and I will admit that I have learned a lot. I have kept an open mind and I am allowing it all to soak in. I have so much to learn and just around the corner there is years of experience in all of the areas that I want to accomplish.

Just the other day on a cold wet morning I decided to bring over my dog, Shifter to put into the nine dog team that I was running that morning. I was told that he was on several Yukon Quest teams and an Iditarod team or two. So I wanted to see how he ran with these dogs that day. About halfway though I put Shifter in lead and he turned on a dime when I barked out the commands, GEE, HAW and WHOA.  Could this dog be my leader in the team that I will be building? Could Shifter be the dog that gets me to Nome in few years?

As I was battling the rain and slopping through the mud I sat back and let the dogs do their job and thought about the song again:

Come on let it rain

Let it rain down on me

Let the rain touch my hands

Let the rain set me free

Let it rain down on me

Now, people run dogs for myriad reasons but I am almost sure we do it because we love the connection that it brings to the two species that are so in tune with one another. At least that is why I do…

I welcome your comments and suggestions. Please comment below.

Robert Forto | Team Ineka | Alaska Dog Works | Mushing Radio | Denver Dog Works


Robert Forto is the host of The Dog Works Radio Show and is the training director of Alaska Dog Works. Robert Forto can be reached through his website at