Cool canine

Forest’s Meaghan Courtney is ‘walked’ by husky Micha on a customised scooter for pulling dogs. Picture: Jelena Potpara.

Scooter. Forget dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh, husky Micha is dashing through Forest, panting all the way.

Attached by harness to a customised scooter, 18-month-old Micha will pull owner Meaghan Courtney around the streets of Forest with ease.

While Meaghan can comfortably glide along at Micha’s pace, she does admit there are some stops along the way: “There are a few distractions, like cows, but she’ll learn.”

And despite the scene being something you don’t see everyday, Meaghan says locals don’t appear to be fazed.

“I was surprised I didn’t get funny looks (the first time). . . well there’s not many people around here.

“They did look at me strange when I put a backpack on her with weights before I got the scooter,” she laughed.

A chance meeting with a Devonport husky owner introduced Meaghan to the world of sledding for working dogs, through the Tasmanian Association of Sleddog Sports Inc (TASSI), which organises group outings, dog meets and races.

As soon as the $650 scooter was brought to Micha’s attention, she knew what was expected of her. ”It’s what they’re bred to do, it’s in their instinct,” Meaghan said.

But there is a downside for the animal more at home in the snow. Originating from the northern regions of the world, the breed should not work in temperatures above 15 degrees due to its double coat.

Intelligent as she is, Micha will frequently dip all four paws in a wading pool left out for her to cool down.

When not running through the quiet streets of Forest, the red-and-white pooch will romp around the family’s backyard with 12-year-old Hungarian vizsla, Betty.

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