photographed: march 10. 2019
Age: 8.5 year old, female
Weight: about 40 lbs
Breed/Mix: alaskan husky/pointer/shepherd/greyhound
Sled dog name: Smokey
Age at adoption: 5 years old
Adopted from: SunPeaks, Hedley, BC
Coat - single/double: double coat
Likes: quiet, meat, running, howling
Dislikes: noise, fireworks, surprises, sudden movements, vegetables, people who sneak up from behind and try to catch her, aggressive/growling dogs
Sleeping locations: during the day, under her favourite bush; at night on her dog bed, couch/house/garden
Off-leash time: yes
Escaped or lost?: yes, many times - for days
Siblings: yes, Iditarod winning stock
Medical conditions: growths on dewclaw + tail, sensitive paws and hind quarters
Spayed/Neutered at adoption: yes
Known history: Iditarod champion lineage, adopted out as she was too small and meek
I first saw Smokey in a video on-line. We'd had some snow recently in town and she was shown running - more like zooming - through it and she looked so happy. I knew at that moment that I would try to include her in this project because unlike a lot of the sleddies in here, I had never met her in person and didn't know anything about her or where she came from.
When she arrived, the first thing I noticed was how petite she was... then it was her eyes - both eyes are mottled blue and brown and are absolutely beautiful. The next thing I noticed as she came closer to me, was how gentle, yet nervous she was. Nervous sleddies aren't uncommon during these sessions which is why I try to keep the sessions as short and stress-free as possible, but as I chatted with her human I witnessed just how nervous she really is... and later, as I went through my photos it broke my heart. Smokey was one of the most fearful of the sleddies who've come through my studio within this project. I get it though - I'm an unfamiliar person in an unfamiliar place. Add the camera and lights and it can be pretty scary for some dogs. My lighting is very simple for these sessions - I don't use a flash, just a couple lights off to the side. But even those were bothering her so I turned them off and moved them aside which gave her more room to move around which I think helped a bit. Thankfully Smokey isn't as nervous around females so I was able to gain enough trust to get some photos, but to get her to look at me - especially with my camera in front of my face - was a challenge. She was very suspicious of getting close the the wall (not uncommon) so we had her dad sit on a stool just outside of the frame and feed her some special treats which helped, but she knew when we were trying too hard - smart girl.
What's very cool is that her dad told me about how the family is working with a trainer, learning things like how to approach her so as not to startle her and to help gain her trust - and it was pretty cool to see him put this into practice during the session and what a difference it made to the way Smokey reacted. Her family is committed to helping this lovely gal live her best life and I look forward to seeing this sweetheart again!