Resilience through difficult situations

This story is from Rochelle Byiers. Rochelle worked with Prairie Mountain HAC member Joyce McCoy to add another patch to the quilt.

I ran sled dogs for a little over 10 years and many lessons were learned over this time, from patience, finding the humour in tough moments, adapting to changes and resilience.

Leading up to this incredibly strange and trying year I lost my mother, my grandmother, a friend and my mother-in-law. Loss was a silent shadow that seemed to follow me. I used my dogs and their companionship to trudge through these sad moments. Then 2020 hit, an incredibly trying time for everyone with no instruction manual on how or what we were supposed to do. 2020 was also the year that I lost all but 1 of my incredible dogs.

Resiliency is being able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions. When running dogs, truer words could not be spoken. When out running with my canine companions we work as a team, together we put our trust in each other. I trust the dogs to lead and pull me through various trail conditions and in return the dogs trust that I will keep a level head through any challenges we may face and ensure their safety along with their wellbeing by keeping them fed and comfortable.

I remember the time that my sled tipped when I was unhooking my team of dogs. They shot forward with me hanging on yelling for them to stop. After a few attempts I was finally able to stop and make it to a standing position to discover that I had not only lost my headlamp, had my coat full of grasses, dirt and snow but that my snow pants were now around my ankles from being dragged. What a vision I was.

Getting through all difficult situations, brushing myself off and having stories to share afterward with a smile and a laugh, was how I made it through those times. I no longer run dogs but use this philosophy in my daily life and these days it is more important than ever to be resilient. I really had no idea of how I was to keep moving forward, especially when I then experienced the loss of my father in April 2021.

I still have my one girl, Elly, and along with my amazing husband, they have helped me get through these difficult times.

To be resilient is getting to the other side of tough times, and it helps when we are not alone. Be it as a team running through snow laden forests or alongside your life partner, they will help you to get through difficult situations.

Rochelle’s advice is “in difficult situations, brush yourself off and smile or laugh and then share your story”. Share in the comments how you deal with difficult situations.

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