I'd been trying to meet Sweet Rocket since he was adopted back in 2020, but between covid and the travel time to get to him, I hadn't been able to make the trip. So in mid-July when my family was headed on a road trip to Saskatchewan, we'd be travelling so close to Rocket's house, I had to take advantage of the opportunity and stop in.
As we left the ocean breeze, heading to the interior of BC, we watched the temperature rise. By the time we got to his house, it was 31 degrees and sticky.
Nikki and I met years ago after she adopted her first sleddie, Piper. We've kept in contact since, and in 2017 she even brought Kismet to me so he could participate in Part One of I Was A Sled Dog. Rocket is her third sleddie, but she's also fostered sleddies along the way. Clearly she's hooked on sleddies.
So after the human pleasantries were exchanged, Nikki said "Rocket is hand shy so when you meet him, he'll like it if you let him sniff your face". Sure thing! Offering up my face isn't what I would normally do upon meeting a new dog, sleddie or not, but having met so many unique sleddies over the years, I've learned to just go with it.
And it was magical. To be honest, from what I'd heard about Rocket, I wasn't sure he'd even look at me, but once he had a good sniff, he watched me with Kismet and then even took treats from me! Maybe he could see that his brother and I were old friends. If Kizzy was cool with me, then Rocket could be too. Or maybe it was his Adaptil calming collar that helped.... in any case, Rocket rocked it.
Since we were travelling, we also had my dog Mr Coco with us. My husband had tried to take him for a walk but it was too hot and his was a bit distressed without me, so they ended up joining us in the backyard and both dogs had a bit of a sniff, but since our little guy is pretty blind and deaf, he stayed close to my husband.
Kismet, true to what I remember of him, was adorably silly. When I crouched down, it was clearly his cue to come to me and get pets. We even tried for a family portrait and given the nature of both dogs, I think we nailed it!
I only had about half an hour to visit, which worked out because it was so dang hot and my glasses were fogging up. So after Kismet and Rocket did a couple laps of chase through the garden, we mostly hung out under the covered patio in the shade. And then the overhead misters were turned on. Game changer! That beautiful, cooling mist allowed us to have a bit more of a visit while providing some cool photo ops.
Nikki was gracious enough to provide some more info on Rocket to share based on the questions I asked for each of the 59 dogs who I photographed for Part One of this project. If you'd like to dive deeper into this part of my work, click here.
Name: Rocket Age: 7.5 years old (approx.. birthdate Jan. 2016), male
Weight: 50 pounds
Breed/Mix: Saluki x Husky ?
Kennel name at birth: Rocky
Age at adoption: 4.5
Adopted from: Commercial Sled Dog Kennel, June 2020
Coat - single/double: Single – very much like a Saluki coat.
Likes: He LOVES his companion dog Kismet more than anyone or anything. He enjoys a gentle alliance with his house kitties. He has recently decided he really loves mealtime and he barks with joy. He loves to snuffle for kibble in the grass. He is also becoming a snack monster. He loves forest hikes with his buddy Kismet but also loves his yard and his “fort” (a large metal crate wrapped in blankets with the doors removed).
Dislikes: He is a very shy guy and it took him a long time to overcome his fear of garbage trucks. He’s working hard to relax during fireworks and thunderstorms. He doesn’t love hands coming at him, he would rather say hello by sniffing your face if offered.
Sleeping locations: he loves his Fort but also loves his other dog beds and loves snoozing in the grass in the shade.
Off-leash time: Lots if we are away from roads. If we are in town he is on a long line.
Escaped or lost?: He was AWOL once for about an hour, which was terrifying and that was the day his name changed from Rocky to Rocket… he “took off like a Rocket”.
Medical conditions: chronic bronchitis
Spayed/Neutered at adoption: Yes.
Known history: He was bred and born to be a working sled dog in a large commercial kennel. Both of his parents were/are working sled dogs. He was surrendered at 4 years due to his chronic cough.
Anything else you'd like to add: Rocket is a gentle spirit with an inner monkey and it brings us joy to see him feeling mischievous.
I loved seeing my old buddy Kismet and meeting his new brother. I'll say it again and again... I love visiting sleddies in their homes, especially when some time has passed post-adoption and their personality is coming out. With time and patience it's really beautiful to see just what's possible for a group of dogs who have such limited license in their working chapter of life.
So, here's my 30 mins with Rocket + Kismet... complete with lots of photos to show the nuances of expressions and movements as well as my fave kinds of photos: "dogs with their eyes closed".
Thanks for stopping by!