Cruz, Jack, Louie, Twister
Each group of new sleddie arrivals is different.
No matter how many dogs arrive in an intake, they can be feeling anything on a scale from calm and super chill to super stressed, verging on shut down. Sled dogs are used to being loaded into vehicles and transported - it's how they go from the kennel where they're kept to the staging area where the excursions operate from. But they're usually transported in cubbies on the back of a truck, not in a vehicle with heat (or AC in the warmer temps) and cushions in their individual kennels, like these four and other arrivals before them have been. Comforts like this can be a bit scary at first, because they're new and different. Add to that the drive from Whistler, BC, the ferry ride, and another (albeit short) drive to get to their destination of Victoria, BC.
When the dogs arrive, their little noses are working overtime. And along with their brains, eyes, and paws, they take in all the newness. Though they know the dogs they've travelled with, there are new faces too.
These are the foster families waiting to help.
Foster families are lined up in advance and the team prepares the food, leashes, harnesses, GPS trackers and vet appointments. Foster families arrive early so they can load their vehicles with the supplies because once the dogs arrive, they are the focus.
Cruz, Jack, Louie, Twister
Cruz (brown/white, short coat) was a last-minute addition. Another dog was to come, but Cruz needed out first. She's young, only about 4, energetic... and in heat.
Also into care was Jack with the brown and blue eyes who loved his treats. Louie who seems to find comfort next to humans and excels at resting his head on them and Twister (all white) whose energy lives up to his name and seems to really love scritches on his back end.
Aside from Louie, you'll see that the dogs in this group were a bit twirlier than in other intakes - there was more nervous energy and they ran lots of circles. Running in a circular pattern is a common sight in sleddies. When they're kept on a tether, a circular pattern provides the most area for movement. It becomes ingrained. I've seen it time and time again. The circle can happen just on a regular walk, or act as a reset of sorts when they're uncomfortable. They may not run away from something, but move in a circular pattern next to or behind something or someone - whether on leash or off. But the team knows this sometimes happens, so all the dogs had some time to sniff, pee, have some snacks (if interested) and take a breath before it was time to head out with their foster families.
It's been a few days now since they arrived and Jack's been neutered, Twister has found his husky voice, Louie continues to rest his head, and Cruz has been rematched with a new foster due to her energy.
For these four-legged loves, adjusting to this new life is a process that can take days, weeks, months, years. Some take longer than others to decompress - just like humans and other animals of the world - so the team is in place and ready to support the dogs and foster families in whatever they need.
Thank you to the sleddie team - transporters Jillian and Deb, the amazing fosters (GP, AB, J&M, KG) the retired sleddie community and Victoria Humane Society for continuing to support former sled dogs.
Welcome to retirement Cruz, Jack, Louie and Twister!