Photographer A. J. Windless    
Friends Since Puppyhood
One dark night I took Tecumseh for a walk on the golf course that spread through the hills just a few hundred meters from our house. When he disappeared into the darkness ahead, as was my custom, I hid from him. Anytime we were away from home, if he didn't know where I was, he became quite insecure. I used this insecurity to train him to pay attention, to stay close, to keep tabs on me. Usually it would bring him sprinting back to me in just a matter of seconds. But this time it wasn't working. I waited, but no Tecumseh. After five minutes passed I got up and started calling for him. When in the darkness he finally appeared I discovered what distracted him. He arrived with a with a new friend, another dog that looked just like him. I worried about where the owners were for his new found friend, but within a minute or two they, too, materialized out of the black night. That was how he met Nick, and how I met Don and Christy. Nick was a Siberian husky with pretty much the same colors as Tecumseh. Even though Alaskan malamutes can doulbe the size of Siberian huskies, Tecumseh, the runt of his litter, was unusually small for a malamute, while Nick, on the other hand, stood unusually large for a husky. Comparing them, strangely enough, both dogs weighed in at about 60 pounds. With Tecumseh 11 months old, and Nick 6 months old, for the rest of their lives their lives they would only be 5 months apart. We discovered that although we lived on opposite sides a major loop road that ran through the foothills of the Wasatch mountains, our houses were only about 100 meters apart. Finding a dozen things deeply in common, Don and I quickly molded into best of friends. To say that our dogs became best of friends would be an monumental understatement. Every time Tecumseh and I went over to visit, he and Nick would go at each other as if they hadn't seen each other in years. Just sitting at the kitchen window and watching them was immensely entertaining. They would sprint at each other, around each other, hurdle completely over top of each other, joyously bark at  each other, roll, wrestle, pin, chew, growl, bite, and sometimes vigorously play for an hour or two without even pausing for a breath. While they were puppy brawling and tumbling around they looked so similar that at first we had a difficult time telling them apart. Over time, though, we learned to notice the differences rather than the similarities. We possessed a couple of high spirited sled dogs that exhilarated in each other's company and quite literally threw their excitement at each other. Somewhere I still have a video of the the crazy things they did in their unbridled exuberance, acts that gifted Don, Christy, and I with many rounds of laughter.
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