Along with the joy of sharing stories of sleddies here, there is another side to that joy.
It may not be the full opposite, but it's a sadness that inevitably shows up once one of our community passes away.
Whether you believe there's a rainbow bridge or a dog park in the sky, or just an end and nothing more, i like to believe that when one of my sleddie friends passes, they join those who've gone before them and they continue an existence somewhere, playing, running, napping and doing whatever their sweet, sleddie, souls desire.
Maybe it doesn't make sense, but it works for me.
A few of my buddies in our community passed away in the past months - in fact I started writing this on April 1 and had to put it aside for all this time because the weight of coming up with something to write for each of them that may come close to conveying my thoughts and feelings about knowing them as individuals, was a big weight. I know it’s not about me, but the reality is, it’s just me here doing this thing and being human.
So, I suppose as some kind of a procrastination measure, I shared a collage showing 54 of the sleddies who helped me with Part One of this project, along with an ode to those of them who’d passed away since. Perhaps I foolishly considered it might buy me some time while I collected my thoughts. But by doing so, I got messages about some of my other sleddie friends who’d passed. Almost 2 months later, more friends have passed. And now I'm here, getting further behind a self-imposed 8 ball, wondering "now what"?
I've met each and every one the dogs I share. And because of that, I want to then share my individual experiences with them and what I remember about meeting them, one last time. But that’s not going to happen today. Today is recognizing that I want to share them here and now so I can ease the pressure I'm feeling and then down the road take the time I want to share more. I recently discovered I could add a Search button on this site, so between that and just perusing my archives, if you have some time, look up each dog and see how they touched just one life - mine.
To the families of each of the sleddies below, thank you for opening up your home and your heart.
May you rest in peace and love my friends, wherever that may be:
Fiddle (seen also in our blog header above xo)
I like to think Fiddle is reunited with all her old sleddie buddies <3 Thank you for loving them and sharing their stories.
Who would've thought, all those years ago, that one day, Whistler sleddog cull survivors would wind up with their adorable faces on a tea towel?
Not me, that's for sure.
But it happened for not just one, but TWO sleddies - ChiChi + Fiddle - thanks to the amazing Wunderdog Magazine!
So today with the heaps of snow having melted and the incessant rain at bay, I took a drive to see Fiddle (also the cover dog of this blog) and deliver this cutie little tea towel to her in person. I hadn't seen Fiddle in real life since August 2019 when I went to visit her and meet her foster brother, Bran, but she gave me that same smile as she walked right up to me to say hello and lean in for pets. In fact, she was more interested in saying hello and burying the treats I gave her than any real present, but she took a moment to sniff the little package wrapped in the adorable custom Wunderdog Christmas wrap (also featuring Fiddle + ChiChi) with Fiddle herself on the tag! I have to say it's quite possibly the cutest wrapping on the planet!
Once this treat-hound realized it wasn't edible, she didn't have much interest, but damn if this 16-going-on-17 year old sweetheart at least took the time to give it a sniff! (video below!)
Off camera? Fiddle got treats, gave me kisses and stopped for loves while the humans had a chat. And then she took a little zoomie around the front yard before deciding it was time to head back inside.
I'm so thankful that Fiddle is getting to live out her life in safety, comfort and dignity... and lots of loves!
For more on Fiddle's story, visit her profile here!
Thanks for visiting!
p.s. correction to the above... I saw Fiddle most recently on January 1, 2020 on a forest walk... check it out!
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!
The game is called "pick out the sleddies"!
An annual walk with some friends and their dogs- some being former sled dogs, some aren't... can you figure out which is which?
[Hint: the sleddies are named below the photo gallery- click on their names to learn more about them as part of the I Was A Sled Dog photo project]
It was more of a forest bathing mud bath after a big rain and wind storm yesterday... but nevertheless, big thanks to ChiChi + Tica, Trixie + Penny, Niv + Cedar, Mary Kate + Roo, Sassy, Fiddle, Jasper, KC, Chester, Falen, and your amazing humans for coming out today!
Please click on the first photo and then scroll through the gallery- there are 70 photos including multiples of similar images so you can see the change of tail wags, facial expressions and what the dog is interested in. There's a photo bomb, some blurry ones and some of the dogs just standing and looking around (there's always some of that).
This is all intentional as I want to help you feel as close to being there with us as I can, because it's that magical!
Three of the dogs on the walk today are survivors of the Whistler sled dog cull and 2020 will mark the ten-year anniversary of that horrific event. And even after all that happened, there continues to be sled dogs that need help. Animal protection laws for working sled dogs here in British Columbia, Canada and beyond are atrocious and it's incredibly sad and unfair that working sled dogs are exempt from animal protection laws in Canada, just because they're classified as sled dogs. But sled dogs aren't a breed- they're a mix of any number of breeds, and you can see the diversity in the photos below as well as in I Was a Sled Dog, Part 1 + Part 2. The fact that, for example, "Dog A" is classified as a working sled dog on a Monday and therefore exempt from the same laws that protect the animals we share our homes with. But when "Dog A" gets adopted into a home on a Tuesday, suddenly- as if by magic- he's covered by those same laws he was exempt from the day before. It makes absolutely no sense. The dog is a dog is a dog.
I could go on, but right now I want to enjoy the memory of today's walk with these remarkable dogs and their wonderfully compassionate humans who love to celebrate them as much as I do.
Happy New Year sleddie family!
Something cool happened yesterday... I got to meet a new sleddie!
My friend Heather, who has a lovely ol' sleddie named Fiddle, jumped at the chance of fostering a young, newly retired sleddie named Bran for a local rescue. Even though Fiddle is 14 she is nothing but sweet and gentle and along with her other brother Ralph (not pictured), they're doing a great job showing Bran about being a house dog and that it was ok to take treats from me!
The info about Bran I was able to glean is he came from a smaller, recreational operation in the Yukon. He’s about 2 years old and the musher said that he just didn’t want to be a sled dog. I’m not sure what that means on the musher’s side of things but his foster home says that he’s a total snuggler. As soon as the opportunity presents itself, he wants to be up on your lap and snuggle. He loves people and although is a bit shy at first - something quite normal for dogs who are new into care - he warmed up quickly and took all the pets I could share.
Shortly after writing and sharing this post I got some more information about Bran and his background and why he needs a new home:
"When Bran was a pup he ate a rock and required surgery to remove it from his intestines. He subsequently spent a lot of his time inside recovering while growing up, so prefers the inside house dog life. His owner, “the musher” takes very good care of her dogs, rescues dogs from other places, and if they do not want to run/pull or would prefer to be house dogs then she finds them suitable pet homes. She contacted us when she was unable to find suitable homes in her area. She paid the shipping and crate expense to send Bran and Yam to Victoria. Yam and Bran are adjusting to indoor life, but they are very well socialized and have been around cats, babies, and are very good with other dogs and people. "
I’m thankful the musher saw he was not cut out for sled dog life and instead of forcing him to pull, selling him or euthanizing him, Bran made his way into the care of a rescue. He has since been neutered and the rescue will now work on finding him a super home.
Last but not least, I should also mention that Bran is a fantastic head-tilter and will show you his impressive extension for *just* the right sound!
Welcome to sleddie life Bran!
Thanks to The Farm rescue for helping him and to Heather and her family for fostering him and helping him along this journey!
Please click on the thumbnails to see Bran + Fiddle in all their glory.