How cute is Fiddle???
Fiddle, the current cover girl of the I Was A Sled Dog blog page, got her copy of Wunderdog Magazine and was clearly surprised (as evidenced by her photo) to see herself inside! ;)
The photo of Fiddle in the magazine was taken in August 2019 when I went out to visit her and meet the sleddie, named Bran, that her family was fostering. Bran got adopted and his human has joined the on-line sleddie community here so we get to hear the updates!
You can read more about Fiddle's story here!
Because of the dog’s joyfulness, our own is increased.
ChiChi retired life was full of joy. A life full of doing the things that made her happy - mostly running… off leash… and sometimes being gone longer than was comfortable for her human. As a former sled dog one could argue that running was in her blood, and that may be so, but it didn’t mean that she had to do it at the will of humans. She ran on her own terms… and napped on her own terms. And was always present when the treats came out.
She blinked for more photos than almost any other sleddie I’ve photographed. Her brother Jeff, did the same.
As she got older she ran less, but still loved her outings - especially to her favourite place, Fleming Beach, where there were lots of things to sniff - dogs, wildlife, the ocean breeze.
She was adopted at 8 years old, a senior in the eyes of the shelter so she was 50% off. But that meant nothing to Chich… the last (almost) 8 years she lived with Shannon made up for whatever labels and expectations other people had for her in those first 8 years.
She was the happiest dog in the world.
She was the tiny wonder.
She reunited me with an old human friend, and she and her human helped grow a community of retired sled dog adopters here on the west coast of Canada. From that first reunion of nine dogs in September 2013, to over fifty dogs in following reunions. She made friends with all the other dogs while allowing her sister Lola (RIP) the space she needed. She welcomed a wee, wild puppy, Tica into the home.
She was an ambassador.
She was my muse.
She lived just past her 16th birthday, and was able to pass with dignity and in peace in Shannon’s lap.
There are many, many more photos throughout my archives, but it's been a hard week on many levels so I'm sharing an odd little collection of some I've shared before, some I haven’t.
Rest in peace and love tiny wonder.
#1 Sledder day out, November 2013
#2 Thetis Lake walk, January 2014 (captured on film and the cover of Dogs with their Eyes Closed, Retired Sled Dog edition)
#3-9 Documentary day, February 2014 (pictured with Lion + Nordique, also this is the day Shannon tried to teach ChiChi to sit for a treat!)
#10-13 East Sooke walk, April 2014
#14 ChiChi's 10th birthday, May 2014
#15-17 Esquimalt Lagoon, June 2014
#18-23 Reunion #3, June 2014 (the pool photos are 4 direct succession images showing her settle in to the pool)
#24-26 Canadog Day, July 2014 (the day she was reunited with her brother, Jeff)
#27 UVic dog park gathering, November 2014 (captured on film)
#28 Fleming Beach, April 2020
April 2012, at the shetler
Dandelion. Dandi. Lion.
As his name changed, so did he… until he passed away on Friday.
I met Lion as Dandelion in 2013 when I visited the kennels in Whistler. I remember hearing his name and it made me think of the cute yellow flower, that were taking over my yard.
And his ear... that partially floppy ear.
I saw Lion again in November of that year, and then on various walks. He got off-leash time, but it was always a bit of a guess how long it’d take for David to get him back on leash when it was time to go.
At one reunion, the group photos just show Lion walking back and forth in front of the group, in each photo.
His human, David, adopted he and Nordique (who passed away last week) from the shelter. He brought them home and then allowed them the space to be dogs. They lived close to ChiChi so they would go on weekly walks, the three sleddies leading the way around the neighbourhood.
Lion was diagnosed with bone cancer recently and then lost his brother, Nordique earlier this month, which left Lion very confused and sad.
My heart breaks for his family and friends, and the sleddie community.
Here are some photos of the time I got to spend with Lion…
Thank you David and Alina for loving this gentle soul.
#1-3: Whistler kennels, September 2013. He was kennelled with Kawasaki in the evenings.
#4-6: Sledder day out, November 2013
#7: Documentary day, pictured with his buddy ChiChi
#8-9: Mt Finlayson hike, August 2014
#10-14: Reunion #3, June 2014
#15-16: Francis King walk, December 2018
Nordique passed away.
I first met Nordique in Whistler in 2013 - he was more on the shy side, mostly sticking to his area in Sonny's Acre's at the kennels. We didn't have a lot of interactions and I got confused between he and his hockey team named litter mate, Jet (it came down to the chest markings). But like all the sleddies I've met, he's always in my mind.
Working on what's turned out to be a long-term project means I am constantly pouring over images of other people's dogs. And in doing so, I'm transported to all the times I've interacted with that dog and the feelings that come along with those events.
I'd heard Nordique wasn't well, and considering that most of the Whistler dogs who survived the 2010 cull are getting up there in age, it's not surprising.
But every one of their deaths, like their lives, is important to me.
Nordique was adopted into a home with his buddy Lion (formerly Dandelion) and the two became inseparable, each helping the other in their new lives.
Their adopter, David, gave them the space they needed to breathe, and as the intrepid duo dug up his back yard, he joked about them digging his grave.
They got to be dogs.
When David brought a new human into their lives, she fell under the sleddie spell and seemed to instantly understand, and love them.
They came out on group walks, reunions and had weekly walkies with their old mate, ChiChi, who lived nearby. At the reunions, the dogs got to be off leash and run around as much or as little as they wanted. Come group photo time, it was hard to coax some dogs to come back to their humans because they were having too much fun. I remember one reunion, in July 2015, where in the photo David can be seen heading away from the group... to gather his boys.
I will always remember how Nordique would put his paw on David's leg when he was unsure about something... it was so touching because even within his fear, he found a way to communicate. He seemed to like ear scratches and gentle loves from those he trusted.
Thank you to his family for the love and care they provided to him.
Rest in peace and love Nordique.
Here are a few photos from the times I got to hang with him... there are more in my archives.
#1+2: Whistler, September 2013, pre-adoption
#3-10: Fleming Beach, February 2014
#11+12: Scafe Hill walk, February 2014
#13-15: Mt Finlayson hike, August 2014
#16: Reunion #5, July 2015
#17: I Was A Sled Dog photo session, August, 2017
#18-20: Francis King Walk, December 2018
Nordique also participated in I Was A Sled Dog, part 1 - you can visit his profile HERE.
Happy sweet 16 to ChiChi, the tiny wonder who has been such an inspiration to my advocacy work over the years!
There are many, many photos of her in my books and all through this website so I encourage you to check out my archives.