It's My Turn This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Weight pulling is usually a winter sport but sometimes itis practiced with a wheel cart in summer. It's very popular in Alaska. The dogsmust be at least a year old to participate and there are four weight classes.Each dog in a harness pulls a sled that weighs 200 pounds. An additional 150pounds is added every round after each dog tries to pull the weight. The dogsmust pull the sled 25 feet down the chute. The owner or handler may not touch orbait the dog, only call it.

There are four prizes awarded, usually cash.In some events only ribbons, plaques and gift certificates are given, but peopledon't participate for the money or prizes. The sport is exciting, challenging andgives dogs exercise and obedience training.

When I hear my dog's namecalled over the loudspeaker, my stomach gets in knots. It's my turn. My fathertakes the dog out of the truck and Gus Gus jumps up and wraps his front pawsaround my waist. I feel his excitement as we walk up to the line.

I hearthe crowd laughing at the way we walk to the line, but it's the only way he willcome. The sled is ready with 950 pounds. There are many eyes watching, waiting tosee if this dog can pull the weight. As I hook him up I whisper, "Goodluck," in his ear and I know he is ready.

I hold him tightly as Isignal the man behind the sled to loosen it. I call his name. "Come here,Gus Gus, you can do it." Suddenly his head goes down and his shoulders arch,as he digs his sharp toenails into the snow. I can see the sled start to movetoward the finish line. The 25 feet seems a short way, until he stops. He looksat the crowd as it watches in silence. I tell him it's almost over, but I can seethe lost hope in his eyes and I call his name again and again. He starts to barkand jump up and down, putting his body weight into the harness. The sled budges,his head lowers, shoulders arch and he goes at it again. I can see the brightorange line passing us as the sled crosses it. I hug him and give him a hugebelly rub.

We both stand, and he jumps up and wraps his front paws aroundmy waist as we walk back to the truck. I can hear the applause and laughter froma distance. We did it!




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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