Working without distractions


By Michael J. Marx | PREVIEW Columnist

My name is Nugget and I’m a sled dog.

The man in the sled basket kept yelling, “You’re doing a great job. Keep it up!”

What is this man saying? I look back at him trying to figure out what he means. The musher stops the convoy of two dog sleds and comes and checks on me.

We then continue to pull the sleds down the trail. The man again yells things I don’t understand. I look back. The musher again stops and checks my paws and shoulders.

It happens again. The musher explains to the old man in the sled-basket and the driver of the sled that when a dog keeps looking back, it usually means something is wrong.

“Well, I just keep yelling words of encouragement at them,” said the passenger.

The musher admonished him, “Oh! Ah, you’re confusing them. They expect commands, not chatter. When you yell to them, say something like ‘straight ahead,’please.”

How often are we distracted from our work? Well-meaning people do things that keeps us from focusing on pulling the sleds. We can’t hear the real commands from the noise. Do humans not know that sled dogs want to work? Doing what we are made to do is enough for us. We do not need someone praising us for doing our jobs.

Paws to consider:

Are you able to do your work without distractions?

Can you be quiet?

Can you be attentive?

Can you be single-minded?

What can you do to be more focused on your work?

About Nugget: Nugget is a white furred Alaskan husky with one bent ear. She loves to pull with her sister, Poke. They were named after a gold-mining theme. She has run in the Alaskan interior, the Herbert Glacier and now the San Juan Mountains of Colorado.

This column may include both fiction and nonfiction, and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of The SUN. Submissions can be sent to