The Sled Dog Story
June 22, 2016
Sometimes animals come to us having little and needing a lot. This
rang true for eight dogs transferred to our small rural shelter on a cold
Wednesday afternoon in January. All husky mixes, Gypsy, Dakota, Zola,
Elway, Jenna, Balto, Nana, and Willow came to us as a result of a cruelty
seizure in a nearby Colorado county. We had heard, prior to them coming
that they were in pretty bad shape, but nothing can really prepare
you for something like this. After several weeks of total neglect and
abandonment, without a consistent food source or clean water in frigid
mountain temperatures, these dogs were in bad shape.
As soon as the dogs got here, our team went right to work on getting
the dogs vaccinated and set up in kennels with water, while tending to
any immediate health needs. Some dogs were definitely worse off than
others. Dakota and Willow were in the worst shape. Scared and frail, their
bones easily visible from weeks without food, these dogs were slow to
trust and scared of everything. We knew we had our work cut out for us
in order to heal these special dogs from the inside out.
From the very first time we all had the chance to meet these eight
dogs, and despite what they had been through, not one of them was
ever aggressive towards us. Just, simply put, scared. We believe they
associated humans with abandonment and possibly harm, not love and
nurturing. Knowing that, we prepared for a long road ahead of patience,
love, and caring to be shown daily towards these wonderful dogs. With
the help of our shelter veterinarian, we formulated a plan of medicines,
special diets, handling, and exercise for each individual dog based on
their own conditions and needs. Unsure if Dakota and Willow would even
survive the first night, we paid special attention to their medical needs.
Photos, left to right and top to bottom: Balto on intake; Willow on intake; Dakota a few weeks later; Jenna enjoying the snow; Gypsy on intake.
It wasn’t long before all eight dogs started to come around, both
physically and emotionally. According to some of our Animal Care Techs,
these dogs have become some of the most tender and loving animals
they’ve ever known. While some are still unsure of going outside and new
places, they are all physically in a good place now and are so sweet. With
their health where it should be, they truly have a new outlook on life.
Dakota, who on arrival had to be carried in, now plays and runs outside
like a puppy! You’d never guess his age or his story.
These eight dogs have been through some horrible things. They have
been starved and some have even faced death. They’ve survived freezing
temperatures and snowy conditions with no shelter or relief. But through
the efforts of the staff at Ark-Valley Humane Society and the inner
strength of these eight incredible dogs to not give up, they have made a
remarkable recovery and are ready for adoption. Now each dog needs a
new hero. Someone to give each one a loving home. Will you come meet
these dogs and find out which one might just return the favor and rescue
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