Acquired: Other (stray, given dog by friend etc.)
Training: Attended conferences / shows
Wayland, Michigan, United States
Posted December 29, 2015
Ratchet was very friendly. When I first met him, I found that he already wanted to eat beloved Cat Fish as a snack. Eventually, Ratchet stopped this and started viewing him as a companion. The next trial was when we got my pet mice in 2007, and I found that he was curious, but he could see that they were part of the family. Ratchet was like a regular human kid; in fact my dad remarked that he seemed to think he was human. My parents would walk him, but he always had to be on a leash because he would run to explore.
Ratchet loved people, and he was eventually great as an inside/outside dog. Ratchet was often the first to come to my bed and sleep with me until I got tired of petting him every night. We had a bond that aged and gradually wore down, but it all ended when some high-school student a grade or two ahead of me went speeding down the avenue my mom lived on and hit him. I heard the yelp, and I did not know what it was until the neighbors found him on the side of the road. That night, he was walking himself along the road, finally trained. It was so sad to think that an old dog who learned a new trick would die so indignantly. That was the last time I cried over a loved one's death. When Cat Fish died, I cried, but it was because I could not be there for him and I knew they needed me.
They both needed me. With Ratchet, I was there as he breathed with his bruised lungs, as a coughed up blood, suffocated, and finally perished on October 19, 2009. I will forever remember him as the brother I never acknowledged until this reflection.
We never had small children, so I do not know how dogs of his breed would react to them. Ratchet would hang around gatherings; I think that he even came for Christmas pictures in 2006, and given that wolves hang around in packs, we felt that Ratchet saw us as his pack. Still, he seems absent in my memories of my 13th birthday party.
Dogs like him should be easy to potty-train, both he and our next dog Avalanche whined when they needed to be let out, but they liked to dig. Do not keep them within reach of a garden, because I think it was Ratchet who dug up the graves of two of my mice.
Ratchet would never be outside to guard, but if someone came in, he would usually look at our faces first before deciding whether to greet or not. He would watch through the windows and screens however.
Like any Arctic dog breeds, Ratchet required periodical grooming. He would shed in May/June.
My family trained Ratchet.