I just re-found this group of images - like so many photos, they were sitting on my hard drive, edited, but not shared.
Does that mean they existed?
They were taken in May 2019, and I believe Heather holding her hands up in the first photo is illustrating that she dropped Chester's leash and let him walk without tether... although his leash was still attached to his collar... just in case.
I realized there are more photos of Saru the Shiba, Chester's brother, than the other dogs. Going beyond his photogenic-ness, maybe I was trying to show him some extra attention as we were all so smitten with Chester and his ability to figure out jumping logs (it took him a few moments to figure out what to do!) and the fact he didn't run away.
There's even more of Saru than my own dogs, Mister Coco + Bella Boo.
It was a peaceful walk with four very different dogs all at various stages of their lives, just getting to be dogs.
My first written magazine article and cover photo in one!
I came across Wunderdog on Instagram when they put out a call for submissions to the first issue of their new magazine. So I did some research to see if I thought it'd be a good fit for my story following former sled dogs since the 2010 Whistler sled dog cull, and I really liked their messaging, so I submitted.
Nina, the editor, and I had some back and forths to flesh out how the story would fit and in that time the first issue was launched. I thought maybe they'd moved on, but Nina reached out again and we got to work... the best part about the delay was then getting the cover!
I'm not gonna lie - condensing the last nine years of this project into 400 words was tough. I'm not a writer so I agonized for days and weeks trying to include a mix of everything I've learned and photographed over this time. I submitted a whole bunch of photographs and let them choose - I just couldn't. And the cover... it was tough to decide about using an existing photo or getting something new, but we went with new (and it was an excuse for me to visit and photograph Chich again!) I had no idea which image they'd choose, but am in love with the one they did. This wee dog with the big eyes and perky ears not only draws you in, but when you learn she was a sled dog, it's an opportunity for learning about sleddies.
Thanks to Wunderdog Magazine for helping share the plight of sled dogs as well as sharing the stories of the sleddies on an international scale!
This magazine is just beautiful to hold and it holds so many interesting stories from all over the world featuring pet art therapy to what rescues are doing globally during the pandemic - and the paper it's printed on is thick and matte and showcases the photographs perfectly.
It's a piece of art in and of itself.
Wunderdog isn't available in Canada, but you can order direct from www.wunderdogmagazine.com.
For more on former sled dogs: www.iwasasleddog.com
Started 2020 off with some forest bathing, mud bath style... a walk in the woods with dog friends and human friends...
As part of my on-going advocacy work for sled dogs, the full photo set can be found on my sled dog blog!
My friends Heather + Chris adopted Chester, the greyt earlier this year and recently began fostering another retired racer, Lincoln.
I got to meet him yesterday.
He came bounding into the room - all legs. There was no hesitation, no fear, but lots of awkwardness in his gangly movements!
He's sort of the opposite of Chester, who, although can be silly, is a bit more reserved and sensitive.
Saru, my main buddy and snuggle partner came to hang with us for a bit too.
Then we went outside and Lincoln sort of fetched the ball, Chester chased Lincoln and then they got all amped up and Lincoln started barking at me. Then the two minutes of energy expending was over and they were done.
Lincoln (sporting the red collar) is adoptable through the Northwest Canadian Greyhound League.
Fingers crossed someone I know adopts him so I can come visit him again!
Photographing the same subject for so many years - adventure walks with my sleddie friends - has made me want to try different ways to share my experiences. I usually pick my favourite photos in the hopes that you will get the same feelings I did while I was on the excursions. So this time I've decided to share a few successions of photos so you can hopefully get more of a sense of not just one moment in time, but a few moments. To give you a sense of the movements of the dogs bodies - their ears, tails, legs, eyes - taking treats and the gong show that is the self-timered group photo.
The last photo is a photobomb featuring ChiChi. I was crouched down readying to get a shot of Tica zooming back to the group and Chich appeared... to know her is to know this is very like her. She will appear seemingly out of nowhere with those expectant big eyes, convincing me to give her all the treats in my pocket. If I had any this day, I would've.
Sleddie roll call: ChiChi, Jasper, MaryKate, Niv, Roo along with their buddies, Tica and Saru.
The commercial and sport dog sledding industries are alive and well in Canada. And as long as they exist, their cast offs - dogs like ChiChi, Jasper, MaryKate, Niv and Roo - will need homes. Please visit I Was A Sled Dog to learn more about dogs leftover from this industry.
If you're looking to adopt a sleddie, both MaryKate and Roo are awaiting their perfect match through the Victoria Humane Society!
For more information and to get involved:
Sled Dogs film
The annual new year's day sleddie walk ~ January 1 at Francis King Park.
It's sort of like a changing of the guard... while the dogs from Whistler who started me on this journey are getting older and are passing on, new dogs are coming into care. The survivors of the 2010 Whistler 'cull' though are leaving a strong legacy. One of caring, of remembrance, and of love.
And as this remarkable community continues to grow, new faces come on board to show they care about the lives of sled dogs. People who will speak up for them, adopt them, foster them, and ensure they get the mental and physical care they need. Who will do the work to help these deserving dogs transition into family life. Who will love them for who they are. It's pretty cool to witness.
Thanks to everyone who came out to this walk and did their best to stand still for the group photo! There are many shared below because to get all the humans and dogs to stand still and look towards me and my camera (no matter how many silly noises I tried) in the woods near the start of a forest adventure walk is pretty near impossible... fun, but pretty difficult!
Sorry to the humans of the doggos that I missed photographing on this adventure... next time!
Sleddie roll call: Apex, Arwen, Calli, Daisy, Fiddle, Flash, Jasper, KC, MaryKate, Niv, Pluto, Roo, Santana + Sassy
Bella, Candy + Jewel = beautiful, sweet gems!
I met these three lovelies through a photo session I donated to the silent auction at the Man + His Dog Fundraiser I photographed in November!
A frosty December morning was perfect to meet this crew!
What a fun night!
There were not one, not two, but THREE puppy petting stations, incredible donations for the silent auction, delectable treats and a super fun fashion show - where four-legged friends - both adoptable and those already in loving homes - escorted designer-clad fashionistas down the runway for a great cause... the Victoria Humane Society.
VHS spokesdog, Gus was in attendance sporting his new bow-tie and even got to romp with his bestie (and VHS alum), Dova and at the end of the night, Gussy helped cart some purchased auction items to the cars!
(don't worry, he didn't *really* pull it for more than a second and it wasn't heavy and he was paid in Gus-friendly snax)
This is my third time volunteering to photograph this event and it just gets more and more fun each time... thanks to everyone who helped make it such a success!
Check out the photo gallery HERE!