One year we gave her an early birthday present of a "real" dog sledding experience, up in Steamboat Springs. We met the dog musher and his team of dogs in the morning, at the specified location. When we arrived, the dogs were still in the truck -- specially designed with rows of stacked cubicles for the dogs. One by one, the dog musher opened the doors of the small cages and lifted out the dogs, attaching them by tether to the truck until he was ready to harness them. My first impression of the dogs: they were very skinny and a bit dirty, and I wondered how they would have the energy to pull 4 people through the snow. And they were hyped up. (The word that came to my mind at the time was "manic.") They barked and howled and jumped around as the musher showed us how the harness system worked and directed us to take one dog and then another and hook them up.
The musher knew each dog's individual quirks, and treated them with restraint -- though these were very clearly not his pets. When we finally circled back around to the car, about 2 hours later, the dogs were tired and calm. The first thing the musher did was unharness all the dogs and serve them up some warm kibble soup, which made me feel good. Then he loaded them back up in their tiny metal cubicles, which made me feel bad again.