Earth and Space
Down to Earth Rocket Science
Science Fiction Novel
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Ruff Editor and Run Partner - Staying On Our Feet.

Skylar is a Siberian Husky owned by my goddaughter. I am Pawpaw.  Skylar was my ruff editor for this novel. Nope, that’s not a typo. She was a challenging run partner - daily for most of her first two years on Earth.  She built up considerable endurance and power for her size. She's playful, determined, and a very hard worker - born to run, that much is certain.  As the editing process neared completion and the publishing process began, Max - a Siberian Husky Recue - stepped in as running sidekick.  Max has tall paws to fill as creative inspiration, but his unique characteristics are most promising. 

Skylar was about two months old when she came aboard October 2013.  I started this novel about a month later and finished the first draft early March 2014. A Husky plays a unique role in this science fiction novel.  Skylar happened to be a very good role model for the Husky.

A semi-retired NASA/science fiction author in Austin reviewed the manuscript in 2014.  When it arrived back in Houston, he had a positive comment on the role that the Husky played and, he added, that her role was unique.  That is, the Husky illuminated another character in a unique way.

Dogs, as pack animals, take humans that they like into their pack.  My favorite dog - Brandy - was a miniature German Shepherd from yesteryear when I was a kid.  She chased squirrels and our other small dog Pepper.  One day, Brandy chased Pepper across a dirt road and was hit by a speeding car.  A football pal and I rushed Brandy to the vet.  I'd saved all my earnings since very young and felt sure that it was enough to cover any surgery.  The vet would not operate - her injuries were too severe.  I stayed with her.  She rested her head on my arm.  Later her eyes shut.  Within the hour, she stopped breathing.  Later - much later - I moved my arm.  We were a pack - a most powerful ability between mammals that is a blessing through the end.

Siberian Huskies have especially strong pack instincts.  They prefer large packs.  This science fiction novel required a dog that was fond of chasing something the size and semblance of a deer and also relished subzero temperature.  Siberian Huskies survive on reindeer in their natural venue - and I suspect they eat lots of rabbits, as well.  Skylar chases rabbits with great intensity but she chases deer with an added sense of urgency.

A well trained and healthy Husky is a great athlete and can run distance while pulling a sled.  Humans may have the edge running hot savannas (sans sled); we can even outrun a horse in a marathon there.  Humans and Huskies can be good training partners.  In Houston, Skylar and I just ran 3 to 4 miles a day and skipped a day or two each week when it was hot. She stayed appropriately hydrated.  We bumped mileage up in cold climate.

Huskies became famous for getting serum to desperate people in Nome in 1925.  They ran relays to pull sleds for the 674 mile distance and delivered diphtheria antitoxin for all in Nome. Heroic Huskies such as Togo, Fox, and Balto led the way under treacherous weather conditions.  Today, the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race follows this distance.

One of my nieces, a researcher in Boston, loves to explain how DNA works and it is truly amazing. You discover abilities as you try a lot of different things. When I managed some folks in aerospace, they'd find their iron strings – the things that resonated for them; the things that they could do best. If you want to see this in fast motion, watch a Husky puppy explore new environments.  Right before your eyes they will discover a skill, adapt to it, and move on to a new one - they enjoy their new skills with a happiness that you can't help but feel with them.

Before a teenager, I was inspired by my late Uncle Alston Scott Householder, NASA, and a farmer to commit to make this world a better place in some way each day.  No exceptions.  I've met many who do this at all levels of science and engineering, just as Uncle Alston alluded that I would.  In the dog world, Skylar seems to have the same commitment.  She made herself happy to do this when she pulled into a cold wind at a steady run, chased deer or rabbits, ran knee deep along the seashore, explored a trail, or plopped down for a nap nearby while I wrote. 

That’s my first ruff editor - a run partner who helped with one of the characters in my new science fiction.  Similar to the Skylar in the novel, she demonstrates a life adapting to all environments before her at her very best.  She makes this world a better place in some way each day.  No exceptions.  Perhaps you have a dog.  I bet she - or he - likes to get out and explore with you.  When you give them that regularly, you really are one of their pack, like my buddy Max.