It's Thanksgiving here in Canada and though I am thankful for the multitudes of humans who are adopting former sled dogs each and every day, today was extra special because I got to re-meet four sleddies who live in my neighbourhood and meet their adopters.
Batman and Stevie came into care back in January 2021, Biggie in April 2021 and Cally in August 2021. Photographing them when they're new into care isn't about trying to get a "happy" adoption photo, at least not from me. It's great when the dog is pretty non-plussed about it all, but in my experience, that's not often the case. Sometimes they're almost frozen in fear so they don't move, don't look at me, don't react. Basically hiding in plain sight.
So when the opportunity arrives where I can re-meet a dog, it's pretty amazing. I take some deep breaths before meeting them (because I'm so excited), gather my gear and set forth.
All the dogs did so well and it made me think back to the reunions we used to have. The first one in 2013 where we had 9 sleddies, to the the ones where we had 50+ former sled dogs running around. The park we met at today wasn't fenced but Cally did get some off-leash time.
You'll see a wrap on Batman's leg. This old gent has pretty bad arthritis and he's been fixating on his sore leg joint so it's wrapped up. Arthritis isn't uncommon in sleddies, but sometimes that comes with other pains that are difficult to diagnose. Thankfully his devoted human has been working with their vet to sort out options that work best for him, but for now, he saunters along, sniffing and going at his own pace. Oh, and he likes impromptu belly rubs too! Stevie you'll see is pretty glued to his human. Meeting at this park was new for him, which can be very scary, but he took time to sniff a bum or two which was a good sign! He's gone on a couple runners since he was adopted, but thankfully there is also an invisible tether between he and his human so he's made it back to her safely. Biggie was a treat hound and showed me some of the best head tilting I've seen in a long time! He lives with his humans and little staffy sibling and they're becoming buddies slowly, but surely. He loves watching the world and getting ear rubs by his human. Cally just wanted to say hello to everyone. Actually, she wanted the treats first - especially the ones in my pouch - THEN to say hello! No fear in the people we met, however upon meeting Batman, he let her know not to get too close, too fast, to which she acquiesced and all was good.
On what turned out to be a beautiful autumn day for this mini meet-up, it's because of these humans and the hundreds of others who have stepped up to help sleddies through rescue, fostering and adopting that I have titled this "thanksgiving, thanksliving". Without them, it's not known what would've happened to these dogs, but with them, we know an often overlooked group of dogs are getting a chance to live in warmth, comfort and with love.
p.s. for those new here, as always, photos are in chronological order and I have included sets of succession images to help show as much of the dog's personality as I can.
p.p.s I also have a 'thing' for pictures of dogs with their eyes closed so have included those too :)
Thank you to the Gorge Park Gang for this visit today!