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
Three former sled dogs + one Piper dog set out to romp on the beach at Kye Bay, BC today.
Cane (formerly Hurricane) a Whistler survivor who I met back in September 2013 and who I wanted to bring home in my pocket. Cane has a bit of a wandering spirit so for his safety, he stays on leash. Colby (Colbs, the Imp) is the little man I met back in July 2014 when he came into care of the Victoria Humane Society. And Bella I first met her February 2018 when she was flown out from Thunder Bay, ON and whisked into the arms of a loving family here on the west coast. Piper, is Cane’s adopted sister and is the best photobomber dog around!
All of these dogs had fun running, playing and meeting new dog friends on a beach in the warm sun… happy dogs, cared for dogs, loved dogs.
Dogs who are being loved for who they are and have been given space to relax, learn and thrive in the safety of some incredibly loving humans.
You may not realize it, but I think about sled dogs - both former and working - every day of my life. I see their photos, I know their names and I remember their stories so it makes me burst with happiness when I get to see them in person - being loved and living a life where they are treated as a beloved member of the family.
Thank you to team sleddie… wherever you are!