Faces of Kansas City: Man mushes along despite setbacks - KCTV5

Faces of Kansas City: Man mushes along despite setbacks

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

There's a lot of double-taking going on in Waldo, and you'd do a double-take too if you saw a guy on a dogsled being pulled by five huskies in the middle of May.

Akita, Keema, Hiro, Mika and Ice are all itching to go.

It all began when Gary Belt adopted Keema from the Kansas City dog pound.

"And I brought him home. (I was) sitting around drinking suds with my buddies and they said ‘You got a snow dog. You need to get a sled and have him pull you,'" Belt said.

So after he adopted three more huskies, Belt bought a dogsled and slapped some wheels on it.

"Initially there's almost a terror feeling," he said when KCTV5's Brad Stephens asked what it's like to be pulled along by a group of huskies.

You'd be scared too, considering his team takes off like a bolt of lightning. For the first block they run at a dead sprint.

"Once we get situated, they get into a pace of running and get into a jog and we'll go miles until I stop them," Belt said.

The squeal that can be heard is the dogsled's brakes. It has a steering mechanism, too, but the huskies listen for Belt's commands as he tells them whether to go left, right or stop.

"They're not like dogs. When you give a dog a command like sit, they sit. You tell a husky to sit, he'll look up and go 'why,'" Belt said.

And talk about spoiled. Belt makes the dogs their own special blend of high-protein dog food.

"Friday night is Chinese food. They get barbecued ribs - each of them gets a rib," he said.

When he's not on the dogsled, Belt works at St. Luke's Hospital. It's a job he enjoys, but what he's always called his career is what he misses most. For 15 years Belt was a firefighter in Grandview, but it all came to a painful end in 1997.

(Belt): "I tore my shoulder up lifting something I shouldn't have."

(Stephens): "You're being humble, tell the viewers what happened."

(Belt): "Helped my partner out of a hole and ripped tendons."

(Stephens): "He was falling into a hole and you saved him?"

(Belt): "It was our job."

Because of his injury Belt had to retire. Firefighting is something he said he misses every day.

It's the huskies, or as he calls them his babies, that he focuses on now - taking every chance he gets to show them off.

"We trot down Grand Avenue. Everybody looks at us and takes pictures," Belt said.

His dogsled team is truly a family affair as Belt has to borrow the fifth member of his team, Ice, from his daughter.

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