During the day, however, the dogs are tethered — something Keith and Levitt sharply oppose.
“When mushing, you have a lifetime commitment to your team,” Keith said. “To me, that means involving them in everyday aspects of your life, not keeping them outside on a chain as a tool to benefit your own finances.”
The owner of a former sled dog herself, Keith argues that chaining often sets dogs up for failure in a home setting after a lifetime of running, training and living outdoors — especially when dogs aren’t given time off their chain to interact with people indoors.
“If the dogs live outside their whole lives and their owner never brings them in, then you’re dealing with a terrified senior dog who has no idea how to walk on linoleum, climb stairs or deal with noises from a microwave or TV,” she explained. “It is really, really hard to find people to rehabilitate these dogs.”