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Sled Dogs as Pet Dogs: True Love Stories! (Part 2)

Now that you understand why a sled dog may transition to being a pet dog check out these adorable real life love stories! Each of the dogs featured below is a dog that once belonged to us, and now has a “forever home” with a new family. The photos and testimonials were given to us by each family, in their own words, through their own eyes. If you’re interested in adopting your own sled pet, check out this link on our website:

Zan Rowe holding a dog posing for the camera

Iceman & The Shaffer Family
“Adopting Iceman was an excellent fit for our family.  I was looking for a running partner and he was perfect for the part.  I was also interested in learning to skijor and he definitely knows how to pull, so I started running in harness with him. It was a great way for us to bond as well as adjust to our new partnership. As winter came, I worked on my skiing when I was not with him and ran with him until I was confident on my skiis. Stepping up into skijoring was easy after that.  We often receive compliments on his trail behavior when meeting or passing others.
In our time together when encountering an unusual circumstance where Iceman is nervous, I’ve appreciated how submissive and trusting he is towards me. I know this is the result of a loving upbringing and a bond with Jeff and KattiJo and now with me. I would get another dog from them in a heartbeat.
This is our third year together and Iceman is starting to prefer the retired life more than the active life. He enjoys napping and relaxing out on the deck with the cat. He is eager to please yet has a mind of his own, complimentary of his husky breed that we love so much. Moreover he is such a good dog and brings our family much joy. “
– MS

a person holding a dog posing for the camera

Colt & Kena

“I adopted Colt from Black Spruce a little over 4 years ago. And what an adventure it’s been! Colt is now 12 and has yet to slow down. He has been hiking, camping and gone just about everywhere with me. He’s my adventure buddy for sure! When I first adopted Colt, I wasn’t expecting what I got! I was expecting a sled dog who would have a hard time adjusting to being a pet, a dog who would bolt at the drop of a hat and take ages to get back. That’s what I was prepared for and I was ok with that. But what I got was totally different! I received a dog who likes laying in front of the wood stove, but would rather be in his house with fresh straw. He is an amazing family dog! When my daughter came over 2 years ago, he was so gentle and kind! He lives for her attention now! He also makes a great training aide when I am training dogs with Dog reactivity! He just sits there, no biggie. He’s so much more than I could have ever asked for! I am so thankful for being chosen to adopt this amazing dog! He has blended in perfectly with my family and life. I look forward to more adventures with my blue eyed boy! Thank you Jeff and KattiJo for my best furiend!”

– KJ

a dog is posing for a photo

Bella & The Woods Family
“Although initially timid, it didn’t take long for Bella to settle into our family. A sled dog at heart, she is stoic and protective, warm and proud, playful and loving. Her calm and quite nature mixed with her adventurous spirit and goofy personality make her a pretty unique dog. She can usually be found sitting atop her dog house, chasing squirrels through our property, or wrapped up in a warm blanket on the couch. We couldn’t be happier with her in our family, and the many faces of Bella keep us laughing.”
– RW

a little boy is sleeping in a dog bed

Simon & Caleb

“Adopting Simon has brought us unmeasurable joy.  From the moment he came home, he has been so affectionate, sweet, and truly makes us all smile every day.  It was so magical mushing with him and observing the excitement in his spirit – just ready to run!  His bark was contagious and always had all of us eager to get down the trail.  And seeing how Simon taught our labs Lily and Dakota the ropes was absolutely amazing. He quickly became the lead dog of our family….dogs and humans alike because he sure knows how to be first in the treat line and get the best seat on the couch! He definitely thrives on his time free running…and couch snuggling!  He has always been so gentle and has come along side Caleb giving him the confidence and courage that only a dog like Simon can bring.  And we know that a dog like Simon is the wonderful companion he is for Caleb, because of the love and care you gave him…and for that, we are forever grateful. After just two days of staying close to a dog bed when he first arrived, he felt comfortable enough to roam the house and make himself at home.  He transitioned to his new food with no problems and immediately understood he needed to go outside to do his business.  And after going to the vet for his annual check-up, she told us that he is in perfect health and is looking forward to seeing him back on the trail this winter!”

– KK

a dog lying on a bed

L to R: Panda, Ben, Wink

Keenan’s girlfriend, Juliette, adopted Wink from us a couple years ago. Keenan grew to love Wink so much that he contacted us last winter and asked if we had a dog for him, too! That’s how he got Ben. Juliette is not pictured here (I guess there was no room on the bed? 🙂 The third dog pictured is Panda – also adopted from us. Panda is Ben’s sister and now belongs to our mutual friend, Kailyn. The three humans and three dogs spend a lot of time together in various combination.

Ben & Keenan

Wink & Juliette

“I’m loving Ben; thanks again, KattiJo. He’s gone to a good home and made it better. He’s getting more comfortable in his skin and does great wearing a backpack. My family loves him and coincidentally he’s a total chick magnet, haha. He’s turned into a vocal character as well! He sits by my bed in the morning and yawns to let me know he’s ready to go out and that I need to be at work already. Ben and Wink have both been staying with me during work this summer and have been awesome to have around. They are both learning commands really well.. save for Wink sometimes wanders off to satisfy his affinity for fish heads, dead birds, caribou bones, basically anything that’s dead! They get along 100% now and you can totally see it when they’re apart. They have also been adopted by my coworkers here in the field and get lots of treats when I’m off working and bike rides and hikes when I get back. They have been keeping me healthier and happier.”

– KM

a person walking in the snow

Panda & Kailyn

“I got Panda when she was 4 months old. It was a super impulsive decision on my part; I was still finishing my college degree, had only been living on my own for 2 months, and didn’t own a car. Nonetheless, I adopted Panda. For the first couple months, our mode of transportation was me riding my bike with Panda cruising in a plastic milk crate strapped to the back – a true testament to the Alaskan Husky’s easygoing nature. (Eventually I did break down and buy Panda a car).

My job as a geology field assistant often takes me to remote areas of Alaska. From my first summer with Panda onward, she has been my trusty sidekick on these excursions. Whether we are crossing mountain ranges, glaciers, or rivers, Panda tackles the challenges with the enthusiasm that only a husky could. She’s aloof and energetic, but at the end of the day still demands a spot inside your sleeping bag (yes…inside). I can’t imagine a better kind of dog to share my life with.”

– KD

a man and a woman holding a dog posing for the camera

Blaze & Janina

“In May 2017 Blaze became our new family member. At first he was a little shy and confused about his new home. But very soon he warmed up to us and our other dogs. Right from the start he was so gentle and sweet to our baby, which really impressed me. Just as KattiJo and Jeff told me, he’s super nice and awesome with kids. My other dogs try to stay away from the baby, as if not really sure what to think / do with and about her. But Blaze is so sweet and checks on her couple times a day. After a few weeks I totally understood the decision to retire him and look for a new family, so he can be a house dog. Whenever we are outside of the house, and I call the dogs to come back in, he runs as if his life depends on it, leaving the others dogs way behind. I love to bike with my dogs, but some days Blaze doesn’t want to join. So he just sits in front of the door, as if to say “Hey Mom, I’d rather stay home today, ok?” Blaze captured our hearts by storm with his amazing personality and his incredible manners. He didn’t need to be potty trained at all. As if the other dogs told him?! After he settled in well, we can let him run loose around the house and on trails. He pulls our older daughter on her skates, and stops immediately when she falls or tells him to. KattiJo and Jeff do such a wonderful job raising, training and loving their dogs. I adopted retired sled dogs before, but nothing can compare to Blaze. We are looking forward to spend many more years biking, hiking, swimming and relaxing together!”

– JT

Lindsey Dreese

Croc & Lindsey

“I wasn’t looking to adopt a dog when I fell in love with Croc at Black Spruce Dog Sledding. He was a shy dog, who loved to pull and was unsure about new people. I decided the first time I met him that we would be friends and the rest is history. Winter of 2015, I finally decided to adopt Croc as my own. He has adjusted to pet life beautifully! He now loves sleeping on soft dog beds and going for short 3-5 mile skijoring runs. I work for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game seasonally in a remote field camp. Croc gets to join me and my crew on the Yukon river for 3.5 months every summer. Everyone loves having a dog in camp. I have a sneaking suspicion Croc loves it more than we do, though. He gets to eat fresh cooked salmon, run all over camp and still sleep on his soft dog bed at night. Adopting Croc from Jeff and Katti has been one of the best things I’ve done. It’s wonderful to have such a special furry, four footed friend in my life!”

– LD

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