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!
I'd heard a sleddie I met when I was up in Whistler in 2013 was coming into care. Hurricane was his name and eating lens caps was his game. Yes, the same fella who had a grand time chewing one of my lenscaps, but carefully gave it back when I asked him for what was left of it, was coming into care. Hurricane was such a sweet fella and I was excited to see him again. My friend Deb brought fostered him for VHS and I went to see him on May 24 (and also managed to sneak in a photo of Apex). I had planned on heading out to the foster kennels to get some photos of the new arrivals, but while I was there I got a call from my husband telling me his mom had passed away. It was expected, but I had to tend to family, so a couple days later I made it out to meet the new arrivals. There's nothing quite like a silly puppy to find the happiness that can be buried deep inside. Zazou was that dog. He and Tag romped and played and he chewed my camera strap, my camera bag and my hair and it was wonderful.
I also got some photos of Stuart Little's bunny tail- no idea what happened to him in his previous life, but it was so darn cute I had to make sure potential adopters would appreciate it.
Piper + Trixie were still there so I also stopped by to say hi and give them some loves and treats.
Some of these photos first appeared on my personal website along with the following post:
"We had a death in the family this week. We knew it was coming, but it doesn't make it easier.
But time and dog therapy helps. I was going to wait to go get photos, but this compulsion of mine won't stop and I knew it would be something that would give me focus on something else. The time flies by and the world stops.
Today I got to meet some new retired sled dogs who are ready for adoption.
Hurricane I met back in 2013 up at the kennels in Whistler. He's famous for chewing up my lens cap, which I still have and will keep as a reminder. Things with his human have changed and he's in need of a new home. He's smart, sensitive and very food motivated!
Stuart Little, Tag, young Zazou were just love bugs. Cherry's going to take some time, but I'm sure once her confidence kicks in, she'll be a lap dog.
Lastly, I must thank Nichole, the owner of the kennel who boards the Victoria Humane Society dogs. She's so patient with me and helps with wrangling the dogs... and today she took a photo that makes me cry. I prefer to be on the other side of the camera whenever possible, but when hugging a dog, all bets are off.
Sleddie roll call: Hurricane (now Cane), Cherry (later Cherish), Tag, Zazou, Stuart Little (now Storm), Piper and Trixie
Trixie, Goldie and Piper were still in care and getting kinda dirty at the foster kennels, so some volunteers picked them up and took them to the beauty salon where they got washed, dried, primped and styled all fresh.
It was likely the first time these three had ever had this experience and they handled it so well. A little stress, but they got time before and after to play and roll in the grass, so it all worked out... and Goldie even gave kisses.
It's time to highlight some sleddies still awaiting their forever homes- here's Trixie, Piper + Goldie!
Trixie loves to get loves.
Piper loves some serious scratching time.
Goldie loves the sun.
Some more sleddies arrived into care with the Victoria Humane Society so I headed out to their foster kennels. My husband came along to help with the writing down of names... and we got muddy and it was such a lovely time meeting these guys. Daisy followed us and wanted ALL THE PETS... we almost brought her home, but timing is everything and it wasn't a good time... she ended up getting adopted by a friend in the sleddie community so I got to see her thrive until she passed away in 2020.
Over the years I would get to
In order of appearance: Cutie, Cola (now Kirika), Daisy, Red, Berta, Piper, Louie, Lefty, Goldie, Farmer, Otter, Trixie, Betty, our muddy legs.