Age: 14 years old, male
Weight: 55 lbs
Breed/Mix: I'm not sure, but husky x?
Sled dog name: Hopper
Age at adoption: 9 years old (March 2004)
Adopted from: Victoria SPCA, November, 28 2013
Coat - single/double: double coat
Likes: walking on or off leash, he leads the way
Dislikes: loud noises
Sleeping locations: during the day, on his loveseat or in the dog run looking at the street; at night, on his loveseat in the garage
Off-leash time: he has had some
Escaped or lost?: never escaped or got loose
Medical conditions: drop seizures, he takes medication daily
Spayed/Neutered at adoption: yes
Known history: raced in the 2006 Iditarod with Warren Palfrey
Anything else you'd like to add: Hopper has been a blessing.
More retired sled dog stories at: wendynesbitt.com/retiredsleddogs
photographed May 12, 2018
Hopper passed away June 18, 2018
I had thought I was done with part one of the project, but then I connected with Hopper's human and of course I would include him.
What is that saying again about the best laid plans?
I met Hopper in July 2013 when he arrived at the local SPCA. He was there for a few months awaiting adoption, but the right human wasn't coming along so quickly. But then Ed showed up and knew he had to adopt him... but that wasn't all... there was a second dog in the shelter that day that tore at Ed's heart so he adopted her too and they've been an intrepid trio since!
Hopper is one of the sleddies that felt like an old soul. He'd seen a lot, experienced a lot and knew so much more than he would ever share. When photographing him, I was amazed at the size of Hopper's feet - they were basically flippers, measuring as long as my size 8s!
On the evening of June 18.18 I got a text from Hopper's dad... he wrote to tell me he had just said goodbye to Hopper for the last time. He was crushed, completely heartbroken, but he knew Hopper would no longer be in pain.
I got goosebumps because just that morning I had been prepping this page to share the next morning. There have been more coincidences like this in my life that I now am no longer weirded out by them. It is now fuel for the fire that is speaking up for sleddies and ensuring they are not forgotten.
I am so grateful that I was able to connect with Ed, Hopper's human, and that he made the trek to my studio to help Hopper participate in this project. Ed wanted Hopper to be a part of the sleddie legacy, and although he would've been regardless of his participation in this project, being able to meet him and include him is now my privilege. Rest in peace and love dear Hopper.