The Malamute Man

blog_headerGet to know a bit about the man behind the sled, Joe Henderson a legend of the northern hemisphere and a true modern-day explorer.

Joe Henderson is a pioneer in dog sledding in the sense that he has perfected a method of travel that is unprecedented in modern times.  Never in recorded history has anyone traveled solo for up to four months by dogteam without resupply or even so much as seeing another human being. Joe admits however, the secret of his success belongs to his dogs.  Joe quotes: “I’m not the Alpha or the leader-no, I am just a team member of these gentle giants. They love and respect me and I love and respect them. They rely on me and I depend on them for our survival. We are one, one team one mind body spirit. When both an animal and a person recognize that their survival depends on each other there is no longer a dominate role of either person or animal. They work and live together as one unit. Emotions are felt between them like they are one being. When one suffers or feels joy so does the other.”

“But training these guys and gals is an art. It’s 100% psychological training. You must get inside each individual dog’s head, explore it, find his or her strengths., build it up and nourish it. But never, ever allow them to lose trust in you. And never let them know they have a limit to their strength. When Alaskan malamutes believe that their strength is invincible, nothing can, or will stop them. You must nurture this natural passion to pull. They are freighters. Its ingrained deep in their DNA. They love pulling heavy loads more than anything else on earth.

Joe has trained various breeds of working dogs throughout his life.  As he made his way north from Michigan where he grew up, he stumbled upon the Alaskan Malamute and used them to help him haul goods and supplies during his days in Canada and Alaska’s Arctic.  Since then, he has established one of the most resilient, hard-core malamute dog sledding teams in modern times.  He shares a special bond with his team.

Alaskan malamutes are one of the most ancient domesticated dog breeds on earth. They have worked, struggled, and lived alongside people of the Arctic regions for several thousand years. Long ago, the peoples of the Arctic, or the Inuit, were nomadic and relied on Alaskan malamutes to pack on their backs and or pull sledges of their supplies as they moved from one campsite to another in search of game.

Without Alaskan malamutes its in question if the Inuit would have ever survived. Additionally to the malamutes crucial role of draft animals, they were also used to protect children from bears and other wild animals in camp while the parents were away hunting. So eventually, Alaskan malamutes evolved into family dogs as well, and developed a strong desire for pets and praise from their human counterparts.

They are born with an unconditional love and passion to please people. But this soft, gentle, affection towards us must not be misinterpreted as a weakness or utter dependence on people. No, they are nothing of the sort, Alaskan malamutes are the toughest dog in mind, body, and spirit that you will ever have the privilege and pleasure to be around. Their stamina is unmatched among other breeds, and they never, ever give up. They are the real Cheerful Warriors.