Today I wanted to send my condolences out to the family of Lola.
Although Lola was never a sled dog, if you had to bet which of Shannon's dogs was a former sled dog, chances are, you would've picked Lola. She was bigger, fluffier and with her all-white coat she was what we envisioned a sled dog to look like.
Lola was an only dog until Shannon adopted ChiChi in 2012. I had gone to middle-school with Shannon and we lost touch over the years. Then in December 2012 as I was photographing pets with Santa at our local shelter, a familiar face came in with two dogs. I had started focussing on sleddies by this time so I recognized ChiChi right away, and then was happily surprised to see she was with someone I knew, Shannon!
I was then introduced to sweet, sensitive Lola Granola.
Lola didn't come on all sleddie adventures, but she had her circle of familiar sleddie and non-sleddie friends and this smaller group had some fun adventures together. Lola would often be found heading into the water, digging in the sand and carrying sticks... and being a treat mooch, of course!
Thankfully Lola was never a sled dog, but she was part of the sleddie extended family here and I wanted to share a snippet of her life, the one she shared with special human and sleddie sibling.
Shannon gave her 'Birdie' a beautiful life until she had to say goodbye earlier this week at the age of 13.
Rest in peace and love, Lola.
Thanks for sharing your girl, Shannon...
It’s never a good time for our pets to get hurt, but right now things different and protocols are changing daily. But what if your pet is injured and you’re not feeling well? And what if your pet is extremely fearful and a big flight risk in most situations? Welcome to Flash’s world.
The importance of having a backup plan is crucial, but it’s hard when your pet is so so fearful. You can’t just ask anyone to help. You weigh the pros/cons of going out. The ethics.
Flash’s human circle is small- her life as a sled dog has left her with such deep-seeded fears that those who want to adopt her want to ‘fix’ her, they think she’ll ‘come around’- but Flash doesn’t need fixing, she needs sanctuary and safety. So when her foster mom was worried about the healing of her wound (and is staying close to home with a cold), she put a call out to Flash’s circle and with a bit of schedule re-arranging, I had the privilege of escorting her to the vet.
Flash had no idea how different things were- new procedures meant when I arrived at the vet I had to call the office from the car and then the vet came out to do an assessment through the open windows. Flash was of course tethered to the seatbelt and wearing her GPS tracker just in case and while the vet looked at her and talked to her foster over speaker phone, I watched Flash and could see her checking out potential escape routes. Thankfully it was determined that Flash is healing up as she should be, so she got a few yumyums and we headed back to her foster home.
It’s certainly strange times but I’m so grateful that people are working to find new ways to continue helping our animal friends, because for whatever we know is happening, they don’t know. They continue to rely on us to keep them fed and safe and cared for.
#iwasasleddog #sleddogsaredogs #victoriahumanesociety #adopt #sleddies
I usually focus on the 'after' stories of sled dogs, but I feel the need to share a video because of its relation to the bigger picture of what the Iditarod 1000-mile race means for the dogs.
I shared this post to the facebook page after commenting on the original video shared by Humane Mushing, who's in Alaska documenting what she sees:
"Even though the dogs have (what look to be) leashes attached, they still get dragged by their collars... it's no wonder so many of the former sled dogs I've met have issues when it comes to collaring, harnessing, and being handled.
Time is $$$.
If people saw their neighbours handling their dogs like this, or knew their neighbour forced their dog to run so far and fast they choked on their own vomit and died, they'd be reported to the authorities, but because of a skewed idea of history, animal protection laws are different for sled dogs so it's "ok" for 'sled dogs' (really, just mixed-breed dogs that are used to pull a sled) to be handled and treated this way.
Everything about this video - and the others you've been sharing while being witness to this f'ing awful race - show nothing but stress and stressful situations for the dogs and abhorrent cruelty.
The spectators along with the organizers, sponsors, mushers and everyone involved in supporting this are complicit in this cruelty."
Welcome to Alaska. Where dogs used for pulling sleds (as well as animals used in rodeos) are exempt from the same laws and protections afforded dogs who don't pull sleds.
This has to change and it's up to us to help change the laws and the minds of those who think and believe these dogs are somehow inherently different than the dogs we share our homes with.
If you'd like to view the video, you can find it here: