• In the doghouse this time by Michael Marx

    My name is Nugget and I’m a sled dog. Sometimes we can’t wait to get going. My sled-dog partners and I are all hooked up to the sled and the humans are just talking. Humans do that a lot — talk, talk, talk. For sled dogs, it’s run, run, run. I get impatient and I start chewing on something. A neck line. A tug line. This time it was the gang line. This was really bad, because when I chewed through it, the four dogs in front of me were unattached. Eager to go, they took off down the trail — withou…

  • Stepping to the front by Michael Marx

    My name is Nugget and I’m a sled dog. “OK, Nugget. It looks like you get to lead the team now.” The musher’s words made little sense to me. Yet when the lead dog got a tummy ache, it became clear that she would run in the middle and I would run in the front. I had only been put in the lead position once before. I did not like it. Me being the lead dog did not go well. There was no dog ahead of me to follow. I did not know how to keep the gang line straight. I kept looking backward to the middle …

  • Working without distractions by Michael J. Marx

    My name is Nugget and I’m a sled dog. The man in the sled basket kept yelling, “You’re doing a great job. Keep it up!” What is this man saying? I look back at him trying to figure out what he means. The musher stops the convoy of two dog sleds and comes and checks on me. We then continue to pull the sleds down the trail. The man again yells things I don’t understand. I look back. The musher again stops and checks my paws and shoulders. It happens again. The musher explains to the old man in the …

  • The lead dog sets the pace by Michael Marx

    My name is Nugget and I’m a sled dog. The lead dogs set the pace when they hear the musher call. “Up, up!” means speed up. “Easy, easy!” means trot, don’t run. “Whoa, whoa!” means stop. The musher puts two dogs in the front row, sometimes three, sometimes one. They are responsible for setting the pace. A gang line connects us. If we tried to run faster than the leaders, there would be a big mess. A ball-up. The dog behind us gets his feet in our faces. The tug lines get wrapped around our legs. …

  • Before and after stories by Richard Gammill

    Before and after stories and pictures can portray great change and advancement, whether they tell of a successful weight-loss diet, a self-improvement project, a great awakening, a home remodel, a new hairdo or other instances of dramatic alterations. Before and after stories are welcomed and even celebrated when the changes are positive and good. Other stories describe painful experiences with unwelcome outcomes: a divorce, say, or a foreclosure. Before January 2020 the world’s economies seemed…