I met 21 new sleddies this year!
Angel, Argus, Clyde, Cruz, Echo, Jack, Kayou, Louie, Louise, Nike, Oman, Oscar, Peach, Samwell, Serabe, Snickers, Sparky, Sweetie, Tiger, Troy and Twister
Most I met when they were new into care, with a couple being just new to me.
We also went on forest walks, met up in yards, parking lots and parks. Here are the friends I got to hang out with in 2021...
Here are some photos from those meetups, in no particular order.
Thanks for an amazing year old friends and new... and here's looking to 2023!
2022 sleddie friends roll call (fingers crossed I've named them all!):
Angel, Apex, Argus, Arwen, Batman, Bella, Biggie, Bruno, Clyde, Colby, Cruz, Echo, Jack, Jasper, Kayou, Louie, Louise, Mary Kate, Millie, Nike, Oman, Oscar, Pluto, Portia, Peach, Rio, Roo, Samwell, Serabe, Smokey, Snickers, Sparky, Stevie, Sweetie, Tiger, Toledo, Troy and Twister
I recently had the chance to pop in and see a couple old sleddie friends, Colby + Bella, and meet a new one, Nike!
I first met Colby July 23, 2014, when he came into care. He then was fostered with my friend Deb so I got to see him often -- including a trip to walk the wilds of the Sunshine Coast in the hopes of Finding Apex, his foster brother, when he was missing.
Deb had nicknamed Colby the little Imp and it's true, he a little guy, with a very imp-ish way about him. Now that he's older and his mobility isn't what it used to be he gets breakfast, lunch and dinner in bed and the cuddles come to him. The imp-ishness is still there because he will get up for some smelly treats!
Last year, Colby's humans adopted Nike - who like Troy and Argus - are survivors of a sled dog company cruelty investigation here in BC. Nike is very, very shy, however, it's been recently discovered she's learning to like Jeopardy! Now whether it's really her love of the trivia show or the treats that come with it, or the regular routine of a daily family tv date, it's bringing this girl out of her shell, slowly but surely.
My heart melted when I saw her in her safe little nest - it's right outside Jane's art room and if the door opens, Nike trots in and takes her place under Jane's desk. Oh my heart! I can see why Nike likes it in there - not only is it a room with a creative, yet relaxing feeling - one wall is an ode to the dogs this family has shared their life with, all painted with love by Jane.
We had a few moments in the living room to get some photos, but since it was my first time meeting Nike I didn't want to push it with my scary camera so the visit was kept short and sweet. As I said my farewells I marvelled at the life Colby has had the opportunity to have... the love, the care, the agency to do things on his own terms. And I'm thankful Nike will get that same opportunity...
Next up was a lightning-fast visit to Bella's house. In February 2018, Bella came all the way to BC from Ontario. A survivor of a cruelty investigation, Bella was coming out west because we have such a huge and supportive sleddie community here and an adopter was already lined up! Deb and I met Bella at the airport and got chatting with some staff and relaying Bella's story and as the kennel was opened up and Bella came out one of the first things I heard was "she was a sled dog?"
Yes, it's one of the most common questions I hear and one of the main reasons I started this work.
Bella was a sweetie from the get-go and I've gotten to see her a few times over the years. She's such a happy, loved girl!
When I went into her house she was all tail wags and soaked up all the love I had. She hopped up on her sofa (the family keeps a sofa by the window that is all hers!) and lay down. But then she hopped off and I could tell something had changed... she didn't like my camera. I managed to get a couple more photos stealthily, but I really don't like pushing it - especially in their home, their safe space.
Her mom told me Bella's doing mostly well but is having some episodes that they're trying to sort out with their vet. Otherwise she's happy and loves her walks and runs in the school grounds across from their house!
It was much too short of a visit, but plans are in the works for another visit in the new year.
Big hugs to these families!
Until then friends!
Colby - muti-colour floof
Nike - white as snow
Bella - black with cute, little snout spots
Originally named Fairy (from the Mystical litter), Lucy was adopted in 2012 from W.A.G. (Whistler Animals Galore), the shelter just outside of Whistler, BC and not far from the kennels where she lived... and survived the 2010 Whistler sled dog cull.
Learning to live inside had some challenges at first, but her family was patient and understanding.
Her past didn't wholly define her though and she had lots of adventures including the wide-open beaches of Tofino, BC where she got to run... not hooked up to anything, not even a leash.
She had the opportunity to run freely and be herself.
Lucy was tall and lithe, one of the not-so-husky-like sleddies and always had a smile on her face - not a stress smile - but a happy smile. And it was infectious.
I got to meet her at a couple reunions here in town, but it wasn't until her nana brought her to my studio so I could photograph her for Part One of my project, that I really got to see how special she was. She LOVED her nana and her nana LOVED her. It was adorable.
For all Lucy's joie de vivre, she had some medical issues along the way. On one vet visit, golf-ball sized rocks were found to be embedded in her stomach. Though this was new to her family, it's not a new find in sled dogs. Being tethered all day, every day when not pulling meant that whatever was close could be chewed and/or eaten out of boredom frustration or entertainment - be it the wooden dog house, the plastic igloo dog house, the tether chain or even the rocks within that chained circumference. The rocks were removed with surgery and Lucy went on to live the life of a beloved family member who was a love bug, fun-time girl, and a couch potato all rolled into one beautiful blue-eyed package.
Lucy knew she had support. People in her corner rooting for her. Helping her along... and she thrived.
Recently her failing back end and struggle with canine cognitive decline meant it was time to say farewell and her final morning was spent in the woods, her favourite place.
Thank you to her family.
Rest in peace and love, sweet Lucy.
p.s. at the reunions, Lucy was always on the go, but I managed to get her on a couple occasions as she buzzed past me! In the group photo, Lucy can be found with her family (about 10 o'clock position) and then at my studio (with her nana)