At 6 1/2 years old, it was his first time in a home. A warm home. A home with a fireplace, two humans, two cats, and another dog. Dandy (Dandelion) did very well according to his foster mom. He slept a lot, ate like a champ, watched what was going on around him and curled up both on the couch by his new friend, Saru, the Shiba Inu, and by the fire. He had a couple accidents, but that's not a surprise... everything was new.
With a number of retired sled dogs awaiting homes at the Victoria SPCA, the volunteer dog walkers are an integral part of the equation. On stat holidays, with prior permission, they can sign out a dog for the day, and sometimes overnight. It gives the dogs a change of scenery, gives them company at bedtime, and for dogs like Dandy who are very good with dogs and people, but know nothing about life in a home, it's an opportunity to see how they react to various goings-on which ultimately, will hopefully match them up with new forever families and homes.
But not only was this a sleepover, but today some of the other "sledders" who were on passes as well as a previous adoptee and a couple seniors who have been living in a foster home came over for a sledder romp.
Along with Dandy, there was Wiggles (a.k.a. Mr. Wiggles), Reggie, Joffre, Lady, Manny and Chi Chi (who was adopted last year). The dogs all got along famously and it was evident that they want to live with other dogs - it seems to help them come out of their shells. And besides... living with two dogs is *pretty much* like living with one!
When I saw Mr. Wiggles arrive, I teared up. I remember visiting with him up at the kennels in Whistler just two months ago and he'd just hang out in his little dog house. He seemed to only come out when the other dogs went into their runs for dinner, then he and the seniors (Lady, Manny and Sonny Boy) would take over and show us just how much energy and spirit they have left... which is tons!
I took a lot of photos today. I couldn't help it. I guess I somehow hope that in my lack of editing images out, someone may come across a photo and think, "I want to meet him/her"... and hopefully have that lead to an adoption. Plus, I wanted to show the succession of photos of them running, or of Joffre trying to engage Lady in play, and hopefully share the amazing spirit of these super special, soulful dogs.
And to see them out of a shelter environment and in their element - the outdoors... relaxing, having fun, or just doing what they do... what makes them comfortable - whether it's laying in a corner on the gravel (Manny), or finding a cushiony, cozy spot in the bushes (Reggie), or sitting and observing (Dandy), or following the girls (Joffre), or making the rounds to get loves from everyone (Wiggles and Lady), or showing the nervous ones how it's done (Chi Chi) - I hope I'm able to share a bit of their sweet spirit with you.
Thanks to Heather for the use of her amazing, sledder-friendly yard and to Saru for being so cool about sharing it with seven other dogs. Also to Holly, Mike, Shannon and Chi Chi, for bringing over their fosters and to Penny... because if it weren't for you, these dogs would still be living outside without anything to do and wouldn't have had the chance to run and play with us here today and then go home to a warm bed... whether it's in a home or in their home away from home.
To see the rest of the images, please click below...