Retired Sled Dog Abused, Authorities Investigate
After the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, the sled dog industry collapsed, leaving many sled businesses out in the cold. Dogs are not like normal business inventory, however, and must be fed and cared for by the owners, even without a positive cash flow. Robert Fawcett, claiming only to have harmed sickly dogs, slaughtered more than a half dozen sled dogs and buried them on his property. Whether cruelty or money was the motivation, more and more sled dogs are retired from this harsh job each year. Their superb strength and endurance are key factors that must be considered if you want to adopt a former sled dog.
Depending on the owner, many sled dogs retire at age nine, allowing them to enjoy their golden years. The dogs don’t necessarily have to be the biggest, encouraging normal residents to consider sled dogs for their family pet. They are full of energy, however, so any loving home should have a large yard for playing and running. If possible, prospective owners should take the dogs with them on walks, or even to work. Sled dogs enjoy the comfort of their owner, especially since they are used to a pack that maintains a social environment for most of the day.
The Psychology of Sled Dogs
Commonly thought of as protective, sled dogs can be very loving, but it depends on their upbringing. In the case of Fawcett’s remaining dogs, they were not trained for normal, everyday occurrences. Items as benign as sunglasses and hats appeared frightening. If you consider a sled dog for adoption, you should spend some time with the animal to see its reactions to common daily items. If possible, take the dog home for a sleepover. Although everything is new at this point, you’ll see their reactions, whether they are aggressive or scared.
Along with their exercise needs, be prepared for a healthy appetite. Sled dogs are used to a high-fat diet to combat cold and strengthen their endurance. Naturally, they will not be running 100 miles with a sled everyday, so their eating habits will have to adjust to normal, yard dog amounts. They tend to acclimate well to new habits, making them a valuable addition to the home.
Sled dogs are often adopted from the sledding business when they are not fit to run anymore. These special dogs should be stimulated everyday with ball games and jobs around the home. Picking up a thrown stick and fetching the paper makes the sled dog feel part of the pack. Keep that pack mentality to forge a lifelong relationship with a new friend.