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Washington Animal Rescue League Provides Refuge to Neglected Canadian Sled Dogs
November 24, 2009
(November 23, 2009) Washington, DC – The Washington Animal Rescue League (the League) is providing refuge to 13 mixed huskies surrendered to Canadian authorities by a man who said he could no longer afford to care for the dogs. Altogether, the man had nearly 100 sled dogs, whom he used to pull sleds for tourists and kept on chains in the woods of Quebec when they weren’t working. Eleven other animal shelters in Canada and the U.S. also took in some of the dogs.
The 13 dogs at the League range in age from 1 to 8 years. One has heartworms (a parasite that inhabits dogs’ heart and is spread through mosquito bites) and many of the dogs are thin or emaciated. The largest challenge that the League faces in rehabilitating these dogs, however, may well be the job of acclimating them to life in civilization.
“These dogs are friendly, but they are not terribly well socialized,” according to Sabine Hentrich, the League’s certified dog trainer and behavior specialist. “As far as we know, except for their dog houses, many have never been inside before they arrived here. The floors, doorways, artificial lights—everything is new to them and a cause for anxiety.”
The dogs are currently being evaluated by the League’s veterinarians and behavior staff. Some may become available for adoption as early as the week of November 30. But given their past lives as outdoor sled dogs, the adoption staff cautions that these dogs are not for everyone.
“Those who are thinking of adopting one of these dogs would do well to spend some time researching huskies and sled dogs,” recommends Mary Jarvis, the League’s chief operating officer. “These dogs are very independent and their need for exercise and their ability to escape can be a challenge to anyone who lives with them.”