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Blind, goofy sled dog gets back to work

Poncho, left, helps his blind brother, Gonzo, pull sleds at the Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel in New Hampshire. (JIM COLE/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

When Gonzo started tripping over his food dish three years ago, no one could explain why the Alaskan husky was suddenly going blind. But a veterinarian offered simple advice: “Run this dog.”

Gonzo, one of 120 dogs at Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel, was happy about that. With help from his brother Poncho, he soon resumed his place pulling a sled all over New Hampshire, delighting tourists and caretakers. They decided that if Gonzo’s blindness didn’t bother him, it shouldn’t bother them.

Ben Morehouse guides a team of sled dogs, including a blind dog Gonzo and his brother Poncho through a field below the Presidential Range in the White Mountains in New Hampshire. (Jim Cole/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

When Gonzo went blind, Poncho started helping his brother. “There’s definitely a bond there and communication,” kennel manager Ben Morehouse said.

“Gonzo and Poncho are not the most efficient sled dogs out there. They won’t set a speed record; they won’t pull the most you’ve ever seen,” Morehouse said. “To be honest, they’re probably some of the goofiest dogs you can put in harness. But they’re just fun.”

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