Blind sled dog gets help from his brother
Gonzo, one of 120 dogs at Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel, was happy to comply. With help from his brother, Poncho, he soon resumed his place pulling a sled all over New Hampshire's North Country to the delight of tourists and his caretakers, who quickly realized that if Gonzo didn't treat his blindness like an obstacle, neither would they.
When Gonzo first went blind, Poncho didn't treat him any different. But then he realized his brother needed help.
"At first, he'd be a little bit nervous when Gonzo would lean into him. And then somehow — I don't know how dogs communicate — he learned that he was utilizing him to determine where the turns are and how fast they were going. And he would let him do that," said kennel manager Ben Morehouse.
"I've never seen it with any other dog," he said. "There's definitely a bond there and communication beyond what we do with the two dogs, between the two of them themselves."
Kennel owner Neil Beaulieu describes a spring day when he took the pair for a ride on a trail known for its deep snow, and Gonzo strayed to the edge of the trial and stumbled. With the team still moving forward, Poncho reached over, dug his head in the snow and pulled his brother out, grabbing his harness with his teeth.
"He essentially picked him out of the powder ... threw him back on the trail and never skipped a beat," said Beaulieu. "I've run dogs in a lot of places, all over the country, and it was the most amazing thing I've ever seen sled dogs do."
Critical thinking challenge: Have you ever helped someone with a problem or a disability, like Poncho helps Gonzo?
- Posted on January 26, 2013