Sleddie radar is a real thing and for me it's always on.
Books, tv, social media, or just walking my own dog around the neighbourhood. That familiar excited-like twinge I feel when it zeroes in on that which is so familiar to me. Sleddies. Even with the diversity throughout the dogs I've met, there's a walk, body posture, look, along with something I can't describe, that 99% of the time is unmistakeable.
Yesterday it picked up on a social media post of a missing dog. Not only did the dog look like a sleddie, but I thought we'd met before, but probably a long time ago. The dog's age was noted at 17, so it would likely be a Whistler survivor, which meant we would've met in 2012 or 2013.
But then I had a work call and got distracted for the rest of the day.
When my friend Deb reached out later in the afternoon with the lost dog post asking: "Oh my god is this Whistler sleddie blizzard????????"
My answer was "YES!"
I quickly looked her up in my gallery of all the sleddies I've ever photographed and found her right away.
I met Blizzard July 23, 2013 on her first day of retirement. She was a survivor of the Whistler sled dog cull in 2010 and she arrived into care with 13 other sleddies (Question, Eagle, Boo, Tuba, Cello, Owl, Ping, Mister, Muffin, Muselix, Bubba, Hopper, Griffindor). I managed to keep in touch with (or keep tabs on) a few of the sleddies from this group, but I always wonder what happened to the sleddies I've haven't been able to keep in touch with... who adopted them? How was their retirement? Did they get all that they needed? Time to run and play and just be the amazing dogs they are? As survivors of the cull, what effect did that end up having on their lives?
It was heartbreaking to see Blizzard was missing and even more so considering the pseudo-blizzard that blew into town yesterday afternoon. That twinge from my sleddie radar going off appeared, but felt a bit different this time. It wasn't excitement -- it felt more quiet than that. More like relief perhaps. Relief that a dog who'd suffered so much was still being loved and cared for, no matter what she was up to. And relief she was safe once again.
The workings of sleddie radar have been honed by lots of people in our community. Last week a sleddie adopter friend (Shrekkie's mom) had a sleddie radar connection with a new co-worker. During the 'getting to know you' conversation, they talked about dogs and discovered they both had adopted sleddies many years ago. Barb then got in touch with me asking if I remembered a couple sleddies named Comet & Holstein.
Did I? Absolutely!
And when I asked why, she told me of the connection!
It's a small sleddie world.
Although I never met Holstein, I knew the name through old records I've seen. But Comet, I met back in March 2012, around the same time I met Shrek. I remember having a hard time telling Comet and Shrek apart in my photos once I got home as they looked so similar - the tell for me ended up being the ears. Comet's stood up, Shrek's flopped over.
Comet has since passed away, but Holstein is still adventuring.
I absolutely love hearing these stories.
I have a hard time describing how it feels when I hear about these connections. As someone who generally only gets to see a dog when they're not themselves... scared, nervous, overly excited, shut down, unsettled... to find out that they've been loved and cared for all these years is a really unique and beautiful feeling that brings me some semblance of comfort and enables me to keep sharing stories.
Thank you for visiting,