What an Alaskan Mutt Can Teach Us About Our Liberty

Have you heard about Dillon?

We bet you’d like him.

Even more, we bet he could teach us all a thing or two about life… and how to live a good, happy one.

Dillon is certainly a Manward kind of, well, he’s a dog.

He’s a two-year-old pup that his owner simply says is “full of spit and vinegar.”

But we say that the black-and-white mutt’s story is a lesson about the power of the company we keep.

He proves it’s our Connections who tend to get us where we want to go.

Stay? No Way

You see, Dillon lives up in my old stomping grounds. He lives on the edge of Finger Lake.

Most of the time, he’s part of a team that gives sled dog tours for visitors at a nearby lodge. On the average day, he and his teammates may pull a sled eight or so miles.

But once a year, Dillon gets some high-profile visitors.

His home happens to be a checkpoint for the Iditarod – the famous 1,100-mile dogsledding endurance race.

Even though he’s got Iditarod pedigree, Dillon was forced to sit and watch as his mushing brethren panted by.

A 10-foot chunk of chain kept him tethered to a tree.

But like we said, Dillon’s a Manward kind of dog.

He didn’t take too kindly to losing his Liberty and seeing other dogs win the race.

And although nobody quite knows how he did it, Dillon managed to break his chain… and take to the notoriously difficult trail.

He ran all the way to the next checkpoint – right along with some of the best-trained dogs in the world.

And the whole time he ran… he dragged a 10-foot chain behind him.

By the time his caretakers knew he was gone, Dillon was 30 miles down the trail, resting alongside the teams of racers.

He saw all the commotion, his owner said, and decided to join in.

Get Going

We can look at this story through one of a few lenses.

Some folks would say Dillon is merely an ornery dog, doing what ornery dogs do.

He probably barked the whole damned way.

But as we’re known to do, we see things a bit differently.

We see Dillon just as we’ve seen ourselves… and just as we’ve seen so many of our readers – refusing to be chained up as the world goes by.

He didn’t sit on his haunches and whine as the racers went by. He pulled and pulled, worked and worked until his chain gave up… and then dragged the whole darn thing behind him for 30 miles as he kept pace with the best of the best.

It’s inspiring.

And we say it works to effectively eliminate any excuses our brains or our culture puts in our way.

Don’t think you’re smart enough to start your own business? Dillon would get it done.

Didn’t save enough for retirement and now feel hopeless as the years tick by? We bet Dillon would be sitting on a beach in 24 months.

Think your relationships are too far gone to save? Dillon would bust his chain and get the problem fixed.

But here’s the thing. It’s what most folks who hear about this story would miss.

Dillon wasn’t alone by that tree.

Remember, he was part of a team. There were plenty of other dogs with him as the best in show dashed by their camp.

But the other dogs stayed put.

They didn’t gnaw through their chain. They didn’t pull and pull until the weak link gave in.

Dillon easily could have looked around and said “to hell with it” and went back to picking fleas off his tail with the rest of the bunch.

After all, that’s what everybody else was doing. Everybody, that is, but those racers out in front.

Instead of staying with his present company, Dillon took off.

He found the folks he wanted to be with – the folks who were doing what he wanted to do – and he joined them.

He never once let the chain around his neck slow him down.

Indeed, Dillon’s our type of dog.

He’s going places.

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