Tuesday 8 February 2011

Sled Dogs Are Impossible to Rehome?

Most of you are probably aware of the circumstances that allegedly occurred in late April 2010, when an employee of Outdoor Adventures in Whistler, B.C. is accused of cruelly and heartlessly killing approximately 100 sled dogs with guns and a knife.  News of this alleged culling was not revealed until January 2011, through a WorkSafeBC review decision when the alleged gunman applied for compensation for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Immediately upon finding out about this alleged cull, Mush with P.R.I.D.E.’s (Providing Responsible Information on a Dog’s Environment) President, Karen Ramstead issued the following press release:

“We are shocked and saddened to hear that one of Mush with P.R.I.D.E.’s Board members is being implicated in the mass killing of sled dogs in Whistler, British Columbia. The Board has passed a motion to remove Bob Fawcett from the Board of Mush with P.R.I.D.E. immediately.

Euthanasia should not be used for population control and what happened in this case is simply unacceptable. No responsible sled dog owner or caregiver treats dogs in this manner.

Mush with P.R.I.D.E. was created by mushers who love their dogs and feel strongly about promoting responsible and humane sled dog care. We are dismayed that the organization so many of us are passionate about is being tainted by this situation. It is revolting that those of us who take care of our dogs from puppies to geriatrics may be forced to wear the sins of those responsible for this atrocity.

Please bear with us as we struggle to come to terms with this horrid situation.”

Other mushers and dog sled tour companies joined in on condemning the actions of this man.

The timing of this news happens to coincide with two of the biggest sled dog races: The Iditarod and the Yukon Quest.  Unfortunately, the actions of one man is now affecting decent and caring mushers with cries for more regulation, outlawing of tethering, and even outlawing of sled dogs altogether.

Even more unfortunate is the 5 February 2011 article in the Sports section of the Vancouver Sun by Jill Taggart with the shocking headline: “Sled dogs’ training makes re-homing impossible”.

Ms. Taggart cites studies performed in clinical settings and her observations and from this, she concludes that “...the practice of continual tethering is the main reason it is virtually impossible to re-home sled dogs in a non-kennel environment”.  Since her article appears in the sports section, rather than an OpEd section, the reader is led to believe that this is fact, not opinion.  It may lead people willing to adopt a retired or slower sled dog to change their minds, thus leaving mushers with no alternative but to humanely euthanize what they consider to be members of their families.

If Ms. Taggart had left the safe confines of academia, reports, and clinical control studies and had simply reached out to the mushers and real life, she would have found what we already know for a fact: sled dogs are constantly re-homed successfully without issues.

Since pictures speak louder than words, we present to you our “case study” on the rehoming of sled dogs in the words of their adopters:

Karen E writes:

North Wapiti's Chiclet RN CGC (aka Trina)

Chiclet came to live in San Diego in late September (I think) 2009.  She had just turned 2.  Chiclet parent's are Olena and Crunchie, both multi-Iditarod veterans.   At that time I had 2 other Siberians both males, one 5 1/2 the other 3 months younger than Chiclet.  Both I had raised since 8 weeks of age.

She was flown into San Diego on a Sunday and immediately Monday morning immersed in her new life.  That entailed going to work with me everyday.  All  3 dogs are in the office and interact with staff, customers, children and delivery people.  For the first 2 weeks or so she was a bit on the shy side, but could easily be bought with "cookies".

I think there are a couple of really important things in her life with us.  First on Day 13 of her San Diego life she attempted and passed with flying colors, the AKC Canine Good Citizen test.  This was the first step to eventually get her certified as a therapy dog.

 My hobby of choice is Canine Performance events, which for us include competitive dog agility, obedience and rally.  Over the last year we have started training for all three events.   All of these events and training sessions require off leash behavior, and teamwork. The dog must be able to cope with a high adrenaline environment without reacting and with doing their job. In late August of 2010, we started training for the first level of Rally Obedience.  Within 6 weeks Chiclet tested and passed 4 out of 4 trial events earning her first AKC Performance title of RN.

Chiclet is my 4th Siberian, all 3 of the previous dogs were raised from puppies by me and interestingly. she has been the easiest and most focused to work with of all of them.

Paulette writes:

Willie came from an Iditarod team with 1500 miles behind him.  He had never lived in a house in his 4 years.  He was given to me because he was a "great 200 mile dog, but he quits at 300".  That was fine with me.  Here you can see he found that the treadmill is SOFT.  The first day in our house was as
if he had lived there all his life.  We never had housebreaking issues, or aggression towards other dogs, or separation anxiety.  He just fit in with our lives and our other two siberians.

Nannette writes:
Cricket is the daughter two of Karen Ramstead's North Wapiti dogs and was on the racing team of Kathy Carmichael.  I adopted her at 2.5 yrs of age (she turned 3 a few months later) and she will be with us 2 years this April.  She and Binks (now 12 y.o. male Siberian Husky rescued from BASH) play all the time and really enjoy each other's company.  In fact, he was used to being an "only dog" and didn't really know how to play well with other dogs. Cricket, having come from a kennel of about 40 dogs, had lots of play experience and taught him how to play!  So that shows that sled dogs aren't necessarily "socially challenged" and that they can settle into the daily flow of a pet home.

In this photo, Cricket is the light grey dog at the foot of the bed. Binks is in the background.  Although Cricket has her own deluxe LL Bean dog bed, she prefers to sleep on "her side" at the foot of my bed!

I had just awakened them from a nap!

Barbara B. writes:
This is Mischief, retired Iditarod finisher and Alaskan husky just like the Whistler huskies, in retirement a couple of years ago.  We call it "Mischief's idea of training for races in retirement."  She is now nearly 14, prefers her own bed at the foot of my bed to getting on a people bed, loves her food but stays pretty slim (oh, to have that ability...), and is a wonderful and loving house dog / couch potato.  I've even been amazed at how well she does on a Florida vacation or when the heat index gets way up there at home.

Credits: photo by Barbara Lake
retired from Bill Borden's Iditarod team
bred and originally trained by Lynda Plettner

Doug and Donna write:

First, the picture below shows my furkids watching the Puppy Bowl yesterday.  On the couch is NW Koyuk (Grover x Spot) black and white dog,  the red pie bald is Sibersong Paige (NW Smiley x NW Lyra), on the floor is blk/white- NW Born to Run aka Lou  (NW Grover x Joey) , the white and black piebald is NW Minto (Grover x Spot), the grey is NW Mystique (aka Mysty) (NW X, NW Tolsona),  the red is Kazlo's Sedona who we got as a puppy for our recreational team.

 We have 3 other dogs not pictured (2 we bred, and the other is NW Elim (Grover, Spot). 
We had 2 other NW dogs-  NW System Crash and NW Lyra- both have crossed the rainbow bridge. 

Our story, we got Crash in 2002.  He has some health problems and was not wanted by the family he lived with.  Karen was looking for a new home for him and there we were!  Unfortunately Crash died for complications following surgery just before his 4th birthday.  Karen then asked if we would like Lou.  Karen felt she may be too small for her team. She was 11 months old when she came to live with us.  About that time someone gave us a sled.  1 sled and 1 dog didn't work well so the Berg Twins asked if we would like Lyra.  They were looking to rehome her.  She was a little too slow for their team but thought she'd do well for us.  2 dogs couldn't go up hills well so we said we'd like 2 more.  Then came Paige and Elim.  We grew from there.  I went to see Karen ( I took Chester back to her after she has sent him down to us to breed with Lyra) and came home with Koyuk.  Then came Sedona, and Mysty.  Mysty was 9 months old and already diagnosed with cataracts.  We then had our own litter- kept 2.  Minto joined us about a year and a half ago. 

We don't get out to run on the sled much but we do ATV running in the fall and spring.  Basically we have 9 family members.  They have an outdoor kennel area and large run area. They are inside in the evenings, and they all have a place in our bedroom to sleep-  3 on the bed with us!

Kathryn writes:

I was working at Karen's kennel as her handler for the winter of 2007-2008.  Bean was the runt (out of 7 puppies) in his litter.  He was half the size of some of his sisters and almost died around Christmas.

He was often beat up on and wasn't allowed to eat much.  After watching this for a while, I decided to pull him out of their area and let him eat by himself while his siblings fought over the rest of the food.  The pen that they were all in was the last one in the dog yard and every time Karen left the yard, Bean was the one that ALWAYS watched them leave.  Some of the others never paid any attention of the other dogs running past them, but Bean always did.

  For the first 7 months of his life, he stayed outside, either with all of his siblings or later on with just his brother.  Karen felt that Bean was going to be too small to ever make her main string, and since I cared for him for most of his life, she let me take him home.

He has adjusted great to living inside of the house.  He didn't have any problems becoming house broken, gets along well with our two other Siberians and LOVES the couch.  He has run two 5k races with my husband and plan on running more and we all go hiking for at least 5 miles an outing.

 He loves the water, running in the snow and spending time outside.  He goes to doggie day care twice a week and has even helped the staff during their interview process of new clients.  I couldn't imagine our family without his silliness.

Mary writes:

Currently my husband and I have two North Wapiti sled dogs, Addie (formerly Daisy) and Pitch, here in Tucson, Arizona. And, we’re waiting for the weather to warm up a bit before we bring Tie home as well. Both NW dogs have made a great addition to the eight Siberians we already had.  All our dogs are house dogs. We also show our Siberians and run a recreational team. Addie and Pitch assimilated very quickly to their new life.  Looking at the group picture, can you tell which are ex sled dogs?

Three years ago I drove up to northern Alberta to visit and pick up Addie. On the way home after driving for about 15 hours, I had to find a hotel and get some sleep. Addie was very well behaved in the hotel room and we fell asleep watching TV.  She was leaning against me and my arm was around her and we slept that way all night. Once we returned to Tucson I was amazed at how quickly and well Addie fit in and learned the ropes.  A year later Pitch was just the same and has been a delight.  He is loves people and is quite the “talker”.

As a long time Siberian owner I find absolutely no behavioral differences in our ex sled dogs and our house dogs. Addie and Pitch are wonderful additions to our “pack” and we can’t wait to get Tie down here.

Brenda B. writes:

We have had up to five retired sled dogs at one time living with us in a regular suburban neighborhood setting in Georgia. They have free run of a large backyard and a full supply of doggie treats and squeaky toys.

While they may pant a little in summertime, they have electric fans and misters situated under our deck where they can lie in the shade, enjoy the breeze and chill out. They have individual dog houses and are not chained but many times choose to all pile in together or play musical houses all during the night.

These are the BEST, most loving animals one can imagine. They regularly go to local schools where they are part of a talk for children about the Iditarod sled dog race.

This is a highlight for them any time they get to be around the kids. They LOVE to be petted, hugged and pose for pictures with kids and teachers. I would say that these guys are very happy dogs and enjoying their retirement to the max! I would highly recommend a retired sled dog to anyone except perhaps an apartment dweller.

Donna's rehomed sled dogs

Bonnie writes:

I have 30 dogs, several of them retired. Some are mine and many are from other kennels, and no, I am not a collector. We run our dogs recreationally and occasionally in races, but I have one special dog among my retirees...actually 2 special dogs.

The first one came from a small lodge out in the bush. It was love at first sight for me after I ran her on my first trip to Alaska.  Her name was Lacy.  When she could no longer run, they graciously sent her to me.  Lacy was a dog that had never been out of the bush. Never been in a dog truck or a car and always had been on a tether because it was unsafe to let dogs go out there because of the wolves. I had no idea how she would react but I desperately wanted her.  She was shipped to me in Key West, Florida, and within 24 hours she was housebroken (She was 10 years old at that time),  and was on the couch within 2 days. She is the reason we moved to Alaska.  She lived until a month before her 17th birthday. We loved her dearly and we still mourn her.

My second most wonderful retiree is Tang.  Tang was Sebastian Schnuelle's main lead dog for many years.  He ran her in both the Iditarod as well as the quest before she retired to my house.  She was 11 years old then and had put on more than 5000 miles that year.  She retired to the couch except to become my puppy trainer and the queen of the dog yard. She sleeps in my bed every night as do several of my retirees. They (usually) make wonderful pets and couch potatoes.

Diane F's rehomed sled dogs

Debbie writes:

I do not have a retired sled dog but I do have a rescued "beast" and just wanted to contribute.

My Husky may not have been a sled dog when I rescued him from death row in the city pound in Meriden Ct. but he was so bad that nobody thought he could be "tamed".  Workers at the pound would not even check to see if he had been neutered.

Willie spent at least 2 month running loose in and around the city of Meriden, he was know as the "white wolf".  I have had him now for 6 years and he is a very happy Husky to say the least.  I am sure it would have been much easier to bring a retired sled dog into my home. A retired sled dog has had a lot of contact with other dogs and people, Willie had neither.  He was 25lbs underweight, had mange, lice and was anemic.  If this "wild dog" could be re-homed then sled dogs should be very easy to re-home. 

I love Willie very much, he is my best friend and hiking buddy.

Diana M's rehomed sled dogs


And finally:

 Ch. NorthWapiti's Valkyrie Kara - Born: July 27th, 1999

Major Races
2007 Neckbone 120
2006 Sheep Mtn 150
Iditarod 2006

2006 Copper Basin 300
2006 Knik 200
2005 Sheep Mountain 150
2005 Copper Basin 300
Iditarod 2005
2005 Knik 200 Finisher
Iditarod 2004 Finisher
2003 Knik 200 Finisher
Iditarod 2003

Kara, Cricket, and Bet with Karen Ramstead 

Kara relaxing on her own personal cloud

Kara sharing her "cloud" with Bet, the resident Border Collie

There has been such an outcry in regard to the "impossible to rehome" statement that more adopters of retired sled dogs have asked to be included in our "case study". They have been added below, and we will continue to add them as stories come in and want to be shared to set the record straight.

Lee D from Ontario writes:
May I introduce you to Sam and Slik, our retired working sled dogs from Alberta.

Sam came from a racing kennel in Northern Alberta. Up to the time he adopted me, Sam had trained and raced in mid distance races, lived with his fellow 50+ team mates in a rural dog lot. He lived a typical sled dog life, in a typical sled dog environment. He had his own dog house, eating, socializing and sleeping totally outside

In the summer of 2000, Sam and I were first introduced. It was mutual love for both of us. Sam immediately adopted me, a few days later, he jumped into the back seat of the car, into his new crate and we drove south. The next day, we were at the Calgary airport. After proudly parading him thru the airport, luggage checked, etc. Sam and I boarded our Westjet flight, heading east to Southern Ontario.

A year later, also from the same kennel, Slik with his distinctive black and white markings joined Sam, my husband and myself. They were known as "the Boys".

From their first day with us, (direct from dog lot to a city setting) both retired Siberian Huskies were housebroken, sociable with others, (human or canine, our guests (human and canine) and folks we meet on our walks and travels. They traveled with my husband and myself across Canada even crossing the border to spend American Thanksgiving with friends and their dogs. In our 5,000 miles plus travels, we stayed in hotels, B&B's, and friends homes, some of which had other dogs or cats. Never was there a problem with accidents or fights with other dogs. From the day they first arrived to live with us in Ancaster, they adjusted well, adapting quickly and easily to life in the suburbs. They loved to travel in the back seat of the Volvo (see photo), especially to go with us to our friend's cottage on Lake Erie, where if not relaxing in the shade were given long walks along the shoreline.

Although both have been gone for over two years, there isn't a day that pasts, they are not missed.

In conclusion, given the opportunity; would we again adopt and be adopted by retired sled dogs, the answer is YES!

Joanne L writes:

Flash, or MR. Flashy Pants as he is more commonly referred to, came to us from Karen Ramstead in August of 2010 (whose parents are the famed North Wapiti Grover and Kara).  He was the perfect gentleman on the ride home (20 hours by car).  You couldn't have asked for a better mannered dog.  Not one word, bark or woof all the way home.

 Since his time here, he has adjusted nicely into the "Home" routine.  As we also show AKC Registered Siberian Huskies, his time is spent now with his best friends, Des-Mar's Fire Fly and Snowkittens Arctic Twilight.  He and his new buddies have a secured yard for them to run in and a covered kennel run to protect them from the rainy Pacific Northwest while we are at work.

 He has a number of habits that are cute to no end and LOVEs to bury his head into your chest or "Shake".  And since he is now with the show dog crowd, that means regular trips to the dog groomers where he is a prince!

No sooner than we get home, he knows it is time to come into the house to relax and spend time with his human family...and yes, the "CAT" who thinks that the "upstairs" crate is really hers, really rules the house!

Brenda P writes:

I adopted Freya, Ch. NorthWapiti's Freya, from Karen Ramstead in Nov. 2003. I have a small show kennel and was looking to incorporate a girl from working lines into my breeding program and Karen was kind enough to let me have Freya.

Freya was born, raised and lived with Karen as primarily an outdoor sled dog for the first four and half years of her life. She participated in several races with Karen including being on her ceremonial start team of the 2003 Iditarod race. She also obtained her Canadian dog show championship prior to coming to me.

The day I arrived home with Freya, I took her to a fun match where the SPCA had a booth setup for getting pictures of your dog with Santa Clause. I’ve included that picture because it obviously shows that Freya was a very healthy and very well socialized dog before ever coming to me. There were numerous people and dogs at this indoor match and Freya was great with everyone.

Freya was a wonderful, valued member of my family who slept at the end of my bed at night and on the couch with my other dogs during the day. She passed the Canine Good Neighbour test with ease and went on to become an incredible Saint Johns Ambulance Therapy dog, bringing absolute joy to the many seniors she visited.

Freya had a wonderful, sweet temperament, one that I’m thrilled she passed onto her children. She was a great mom!

I have told Karen on several occasions that one of the best decisions I ever made was to bring this wonderful little sled dog into my life.

Heather W writes:

We have four Siberian  huskies: two are rescued pets and two are retired Iditarod veteran sled dogs from North Wapiti Kennels.  Sprite and Holly made the transition from sled dog life and long distance racing to house pets very easily. Sure, they don't know everything about suburban living, but they are smart, observant, inquisitive and eager to learn. The commands they know from sledding are very handy for moving them around, loading into the car for trips to the park, etc.

Sprite and Holly love to meet new people and immediately join in play with strange dogs at local dog parks. They are happy to go to for walks in nearby parks or around our neighborhood, visit Farmers Markets, attend charity events for dogs, and participate in other pet events.

Both girls are very approachable and kids are not at all afraid of them. They have been doing sledding demos this winter with our area's husky rescue group. They love to get out and run, and bask in all the attention. It's a great retirement "job" for them.
They are more well adjusted than many rescued pet huskies who had unstable environments in their past. Our veterinarian, who tests dogs for pet-assisted therapy work, has requested that we continue to train them as pet therapy dogs because of their friendly, laid-back temperaments. Our vet and vet techs are thrilled that they are getting to know real Iditarod veteran dogs, and that they are so easy to handle.

Compared to the efforts we had to make to help our rescued pet dogs cope with changes, the sled dogs adjusted faster to their new environment. Holly became the little sister to our elderly husky and keeps him company. Because she lets us know when any of the dogs need attention, we call her our 'mother hen'! Sprite has been with us for less than 3 months but she is fitting in well--relaxed and always with a wagging tail.

In the house, the 'NorthWapiti girls' quickly learned from the resident rescue dogs to choose the fleece dog beds to sleep on, or hop up on the couch when invited. They learned our routines for meal times and potty breaks, where the dog treats are kept, and how to weasel us out of them. At 9 years of age, they are healthy and lean with no chronic illnesses. We expect to enjoy them for many years. We are delighted to have Sprite and Holly spend their retirement years with our family!


NAK and The Residents of The Khottage Now With KhattleDog! said...


Khyra is waving her fluffy tail in a salute!!

What lives those poor sled dogs are living now - where do I sign up?

Khyra's Mom

FiveSibesMom said...

Thank you for this post. I had written a blog entry about it and about us remembering our humanity. It's so important that people know they certainly can be rehomed! Seeing those beauties adjust to homelife is so heartwarming! A beautiful image for everyone to keep in mind. Great post.

TimberLove said...

This was a very well pawed post; we read about that shocking incident and were all very disturbed. Peace to you & yours,

RA & Isis

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post! Rocco definitely agrees with this! I put a link to this on my facebook page to share with my friends. I hope that is alright.

Donna Quante said...

I just love huskies. I can't imagine life without them. They can be re-homed. Shame on those on say they can't. I love my North Wapiti fur kids---I want more!!!

Alex said...

Thanks so much for posting this.

There is so much misinformation floating around (and a tragedy like what happened in BC tends to amplify that misinformation) -- it's great when someone with "paws on the ground" can give out the real facts.

Anonymous said...

I hope you submit these examples directly to Jill Taggart as ipso facto evidence against her admittedly "small" study. Gracious. ~ Monica M.

Anonymous said...

BRAVO! BRAVO! Thank you very much for this post.

Like one of the testimonials above, Debbie, I have a rescued Siberian Husky. To the best of my knowledge she's not a former sled dog. She was a stray captured by animal control so her past is unknown. I discovered her on a local shelter's website and called about her. The evaluation was less than ideal: "dominant, bossy, rude, would not do well with a family that has other dogs or small children" were words used to describe her on her profile. I was disappointed and had to forget about her because we have both another dog and small children. On a whim, we visited the shelter anyway, and asked to meet with the Sibe. Long story short, we all fell in love. It was almost as if the Sibe picked us to be her forever family just as much as we wanted her to join us. The shelter staff reviewed her profile, or as we like to call it, her rap sheet. It was all of those aforementioned "bad" words plus more. She had to have dental surgery while at the shelter because of some mishaps while she was a stray. She woke up half way through the surgery and chewed through her breathing tube, requiring throat surgery. This dog was TROUBLE. I was starting to feel like Sandra Bullock's character in the Blind Side. We were adopting a "problem child" on top of the fact that I already have 2 small children I have to care for. What was I thinking? I looked at the Sibe. She looked at me and before we knew it, she was in my car on our way home.

Yes, she's been a pain in the butt sometimes and she's given us her fair share of heartache, BUT of all the dogs I've ever had, including some smart as heck retrievers, the Sibe was the easiest to house break & train. (I'm not sure she was loved much at all before because we had to teach her the simple pleasures of a belly rub and ear scratch.) Within 1 week, she'd established firm roles for each member of the family...her new pack. Most importantly, she refused to rough house with my children. She wouldn't even play tug with them because that was deemed too rough to her and not acceptable for small children. She will, however, tug & wrestle with adults. The only "rough" activity she will participate with the kids is a game of chase. This Sibe who was deemed "not good with a family with small children or other dogs" have breathed new life into our older dog, have become my small children's best play buddy by day, and the best bed warmer at night. She is the only one that will tolerate countless snowballs thrown at her, buried in the snow, pulled kids on a sled, and even homework helper. Again, similar to Debbie's post, if a "trouble" dog like that can make a wonderful family member, why wouldn't a sled dog? Give 'em a chance. You'd be amazed at what they're able to give back.


Anonymous said...

I admit, I was one of those people who thought sled dogs were not well socialized and therefore would not make good pets. How terribly wrong I was. My first lesson came when I volunteered to work at the dog drop area in Anchorage during the 2005 Iditarod. I was unsure what kind of response I would get from these dogs. They were all so loving and gentle, not at all what I expected. Then in July 2007 I went on a tour of the Seavy kennel in Seward. At the end of the tour they let everyone get into a pen with two litters of puppies and encouraged all of us to handle them, explaining how important it was for there socialization to have them handled by several people. Again, not what I expected. Then a dear friend of mine in Anchorage adopted a retired sled dog. Wiley is one of the sweetest dogs I know. He was even a part of their wedding!!! Thanks for letting everyone know what wonderful pets these dogs make.

Anonymous said...

Great stories and amazing dogs.
Stick to your guns Karen.
There is no such thing as a 'bad dog', just bad owners.

Summit the Super Mal said...

Well done!

Wandering Spirit Kennels said...

We currently have 21 huskies, all of them rescued or rehomed, except for two; Several are Quest finishers. They are still working sled dogs in a non-competitive setting. They all live without tethering now and all enjoy a good lounge on the couch!

Helen Hegener said...

Wonderfully written, beautiful photos, and so badly needed right now. Karen and everyone who contributed, thanks for this great post!

D.K. Wall said...

Bravo, Bravo, Bravo. Excellent post and we will be sharing the story (via a link, of course) for our own readers. If everyone one of us with a blog would post and link back to this story we can reach thousands and thousands of people in a few days.

sassenach said...

I am also shocked and appalled by Jill Tanners article.. what a bunch of bull,, While many sled dogs do have the comfort of home when not working,, those in tourist based companies like the one in Whistler these dogs can be retrained,, no different then dogs that have been in puppy mill cages all their life,, or racing greyhounds, the list goes on and on..It is completley false,,yes they are different then home bred dogs and require special care but so what,, with time they can do quite well and prosper. I myself had a home bred and a sled dog pup that raised. I send my rebuttal to jill tanners editor and hope you would do the same..

Karen Ramstead said...

Please don't make similar mistakes to the author of this piece and imply that all sled dogs are not 'home bred'. All our dogs are born and raised in our house and as part of our family.
All mushers may not do this, but all do not have strictly kennel raised dogs either.
Broad assumptions are the enemy here.
Karen Ramstead

Anonymous said...

OMG, those pictures and stories of your sled dogs made me smile and touched my heart. They should put Ms. Taggart to shame. I'm thinking that Ms. Taggart evidently lives in a bubble. Although I don't have sled dogs, I do have my Maxie, a dog like Bet who can be difficult to rehome because of abuse or neglect. I have been to the start and finish of the Iditarod. I was amazed to see groups of dropped sled dogs loaded in a bush plane for a ride back home and wattched as Alaska Airlines loaded the dogs into their airplanes. Not a peep, whimper and all better behaved than some persons getting on planes these days.
Thanks to Karen and to all who submitted pictures and stories. Well done. Marcia from PA

Teanna Byerts said...

I'm glad to see Karen respond to the sled dog massacre. I've had Sibes and Sibe crosses for 15 years, all rescues. A friend has a red husky from a Canadian touring kennel (6 of their dogs came here through the SPCA). He's mostly deaf, looks like a beat up old Chevy pickup truck, living the good life with his buddies. He's the red dog in this video... http://www.youtube.com/user/swordwhale1#p/u/7/gmlRG4myh7A
Teanna, Legolas, Chasseur, B'loo, Nikki, Agliuk, Sage...

ChoosenDreamer675 said...

Issa is out pound puppy, she wasn't a sled dog, however she was bought by someone who was not husky educated. She was only a year old when I found her in an animal shelter. There was evidence of some abuse, she was afraid of brooms and would not let anyone touch her paws. Someone had cut all of her nails to the quick. That was almost 5 years ago. Issa came into our home and became part of our family. I couldnt imagine life without her.

Unknown said...

Thanks for this terrific post. We volunteer for a Sibe Rescue and all six of our dogs are rescues. The rescue we volunteer for does not take working surrenders, deeming them too difficult to place. My wife and I have always had doubts about that policy. Thanks for giving us some anecdotal cases to prove their position wrong. Our pups: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thecrankymonkey/sets/72157594303987203/with/300507848/

ElizabethMC said...

Thank you for sharing all the pics and stories! I enjoyed seeing happy faces and hearing happy tales! I have been owned and loved by siberians since I was 14, and to see these stories lifted my spirits after reading about the incident in BC. Blessings to all who have siberians/northern breeds. Some can be challenging, but once that bond is formed between canine and human - it is one that will never be broken. Even The Bridge cannot seperate that Special Love that only a human and their beloved canine share.

Anonymous said...

Ditto on the BRAVO! I love my Sibe like crazy. I would NEVER thought in a million years I would have one. There is something very special about a sled dog. I can't put my finger on one thing but they are truly wonderful and I would give my left arm to take in a retried or rehomed one some day!

I'm so thrilled you responded to this ridiculous allegation about them. It makes me wonder just what kind of "acedamia" is needed to be a reporter these days?

Now Juno wants to come and be on your team. Seems my Italian cooking can't hold a candle to hanging out with a bunch of running and loving huskies! ;)

Wild Dingo & her Sibe Juno

Khady Lynn said...

The incredibly sad thing is that this Taggart woman has such big "animal behavior" titles behind her name. Obviously she knows nothing about sled dogs, or has not done a thorough enough study.

I think you need to email her this story and tell her she needs to pull her head out of her A** and learn the truth!

It is the continued ignorance of people such as Taggart and the woman at the BC SPCA that makes finding these wonderful dogs a loving home such a continued problem. Luckily, there ARE people out there who are willing to adopt them. Now we just need better eduction to show how wrong these so called "authorities" are.

Unknown said...

I would love to be able to use some of these comments and pictures of your adopted sled dogs for a petition/bill that a charity I work with is working on with this sled dog case. We would like to be able to prove they these dogs can indeed be re homed, and make great pets! Your comments and stories could really help us in making a difference in the future. Please email me amber@vampiresupport.org thank you so much!

Unknown said...

hi from Australia. I just want to say sled dog owners over here hearts bleed for you. I have my furry baby Dante curled up in the air-con with me as i write this (summer in qld) and we are about to take on fostering of huskies till they are rehomed. to me Canada and Alaska are the home of the husky and for anyone to say they cant be helped shocks me.
stay strong and hug ur huskies for us.