Paws at School

Paws at School

by Koren Wetmore |

Some days Harry Schlitz feels like he’s run an Iditarod. Up at 3 a.m., he loads his team for a trip to San Diego, Calif., a journey that takes him through a 40-degree F temperature rise, two counties and 140 miles of freeway.

Snow-flocked pines give way to palm trees as he descends from his home in the San Bernardino Mountains to the balmy flatlands below. Hundreds of children await his arrival. Few have seen snow or heard the howl of a sled dog. Some have read about mushers, but think a gangline is what cops track in Los Angeles.

All that will change after Schlitz’s eight-hour visit.

“When I talk to the kids, they learn about the critical thinking that goes into mushing and how that relates to following their dreams,” says Schlitz. “I tell them this is something I wanted to do, and my dream came true.”

He shares that dream with more than 500 clients, logging up to 10,000 miles per year as the owner of Mountain Mushers, the only touring educational dog sled team in southern California.

He often rises before dawn and returns after dark, exhausted but thrilled by the challenges of his unexpected career. The 59-year-old Lake Arrowhead man started mushing as a hobby following an early retirement…

Full text available to editors upon request.
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Published in Mushing

Skills

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