Energy he had in spades, and strength, too. He couldn't be let off lead for the first few months, since after so much confinement he'd explode in a sprint and run for miles - and maybe hours - in the woods. He pulled hard - very hard - on his lead, and wasn't about to be trained not to in any short amount of time. After a couple months of fighting the pulling, it finally hit me. We had friends who had recently adopted a husky mix, and Scout pulled Steve all over town on his bicycle. The activity is called bikejoring, and it's actually quite popular. Steve explained to me that you needed a proper sled harness to do this, not the sort of harnesses you buy in pet shops which direct the stress of pulling over the dog's joints and can injure them. He introduced me to Nooksack Racing Supply in Maine where I ordered a custom-made harness for Roy for only twenty dollars. I also ordered a partially elasticized pulling line and a bicycle mount. Roy, my bicycle and I were in business!
Roy took right to it. We'd go to an old dirt road in the woods or a town dirt road that was little used, and with Roy pulling me and Scout pulling Steve, we'd have a ball. Neither dog was particularly good at it - after all, neither were pure husky or malamute. They'd pull like pants on fire for the first mile or so, then slack off to a relaxed pace. They were easily distracted by squirrels and smells. And they loved to swim. Our most-used dirt road runs right beside the Connecticut River, and both dogs always wanted to stop for an extended dip. But they had fun and got exercise; sometimes they even got tired.
Steve and his wife later adopted a pure husky, and Lucy has the right pulling stuff. Now, if both Scout and Lucy are pulling Steve, it's not fair. Roy's stride is shorter than theirs and he doesn't have the highly efficient pulling mechanics that huskies have. But we still have fun. Usually we'll hook Roy and one of the huskies to my bike, and the other husky to Steve's, and it's a more balanced situation. Nala comes too, but most times not in a harness. She runs free and both amuses herself and asserts her border collie need to be in charge by harassing the pulling dogs. She'll body slam them, cut them off, and sometimes give me a heart attack by running between the pulling dogs and my bike... as we're tearing along. You never take your hands off the brake levers as you bikejor, as I learned by impacting the ground once or twice.
Roy is now five, and over the last several years, Steve and I have become sort of characters around town: we're the guys with the dogs pulling us on bicycles. Roy has grown to be 60 pounds of pure buffed muscle, controlled until recently by a puppy brain. The pit bull abandoned in New Orleans has become a real Yankee. Roy has passed his basic obedience course and has a Canine Good Citizen certificate. He's completely at home in the New England woods, loves the cold weather and snow, and participates - more or less - in an activity (bikejoring) that's much more popular in the northern states than the southern ones.
He's also brought his huge capacity for love into our household, and we can't imagine not having him. He's a simple dog: he plays, he cuddles, and he sleeps. He's as completely happy pulling me on a bicycle as he is playing rough and hard with his dog buddies, or as he is with his head on my legs as we both sleep at night.
He's the pit bull who came bearing love.