Drive into the Timberland Tours area and you’re immediately greeted by the yapping excitement of 40 high-energy Eurohounds vying to lick your face and show you how strong they are.
Timberland Tours was a big highlight of last week’s trip, largely because I had never experienced the world of dog-sledding or dog-carting and had no idea what kind of passion goes into such endeavors. Owner and tour guide Denis Rozon has been dog sledding since he was 6 years old, and he’s been winning races since he was 18. His dogs are basically his babies; Timberland Tours is named for the best lead dog he’s ever had, Timber.
By 2005, however, the new breed of Eurodogs was being used more and more in the racing scene. They’re a beautiful combination of greyhound, husky, and German pointer – and they’re even faster than the huskies used to pull sleds through the snow.
Rozon started his dryland tours to operate his business year-round. It’s the same concept as dog-sledding, except you’re led around in a cart (which is impossible to tip over, so I’m told).
We took some time getting to know the dogs when we first arrived. I admit I was intimidated; they’re complete bundles of energy, and BIG, but incredibly sociable and loveable. And they WANT to work for you – there’s no mistaking that fact.
When we had the dogs harnessed and ready to go, we all piled onto the cart. But as soon as we bolted forward, we discovered one of the dogs had chewed through his lead and sent the whole team reeling. The guilty dog was named Guinness. (Guinness = the cause of trouble, surprise, surprise.)
Nobody got hurt and we barely noticed the hubbub. One of the other workers remarked on the fact that such a thing had never happened before. Actually, it was kinda cool to see everyone pull together so quick.
By the time we had everyone hooked up again, the dogs’ excitement had reached an intense level. The jolt forward was incredible…those dogs are FAST! I was right at the back, with my foot near the end of the cart, clinging to the metal railing while trying to snap photos of the dogs tearing down the track. No matter the hairpin turns or slope of the hill, all eight of us were pulled with ease.
When it was all over, Rozon took us into his basement that is now being converted into a museum. Dozens of medals from years of success adorn the walls, as well as photos of dogs past and present.
Rozon told us about the meticulous meal plan for each animal: ½ cup of rice, ½ cup of kibble, a vitamin, a pound of chicken or beef, a teaspoon of kelp, and a tablespoon of fish oil. I laughed and said their diet is better than mine. I was only half joking.
We left with slobbery dog kisses as souvenirs. If you’re ever in the area, check out Timberland Tours:
36, chemin Ragged Chute, Bristol (QC) J0X 1G0