Trivet (bottom) lives in the Northeast of the country.  He wasn’t born there.  He was born in the wilds of Alaska.  He is one of the luckiest dogs ever.  Trivet was a trapline dog.  Pulling his owner over miles of ungroomed trails, through forests, over frozen rivers, always on the search for furs in the backcountry.  But his owner fell on hard times and Trivet ended up at our borough animal shelter.  The Second Chance League (sorry our pet finder link is broken at the moment and being worked on..) stepped in with help of foster Miriam and soon Trivet was on a plane heading east.  Bless Molly E. for taking a chance on him.  She had never met him in person but after many emails and calls back and forth we figured it was a great match so off he went.  And what a match.  Molly has worked with Trivet through the years and he is not only a Canine Good Citizen but a constant companion to her and his favorite friend Grace.

He learned quickly the joy of living inside, having lots of love and attention and mastering the soft begging look for his favorite brie.

Through the 7 years that Molly and Trivet have been together she has sent periodic updates.  Here are a few quotes:

“Trivet is a special guy.  His fur is so beautiful: thick, glossy and soft.  He has lots of admirers and a special girlfriend (a poodle mix!) in addition to his 2 Siberian sisters.  He’s a perfect joy in harness and a wonderful, affectionate pet as well.  Right now, he’s lounging in his fleece cuddle-bed keeping an eye on the cookie cupboard.” February 21, 2008

“Trivet enjoys the company of girls with big-hair and big-attitudes.   Every day is Valentine’s day.” this was with the picture above, February 10, 2014

“Amazingly, Trivet and I have a 7-year anniversary coming up on February 21.  He’s staring at me right now.  If I say his name, his tail wags a couple times — I never get tired of that.” February 11, 2014.

I always smile when I think of Trivet and Molly.  A match made in heaven.  And certainly heaven for a dog that came from a trapline to a home in the complete opposite side of the country.

Here is a picture taken by Tom K. several years ago of a very focused Trivet and his friend Wolfie ready for a run in New England.



Raja is a dog that we adopted directly from the shelter. We thought she was a young girl until her spay when the vet discovered mammary tumors and figured she was at least 10 years old. You would never know it from her energy and enthusiasm. She was a great skijor dog for several years until arthritis forced her into retirement. She would rather be out running and pulling, but with her in pain it is unwise to run her. She will be on pain meds the rest of her life and shots of adequan, but you would never know that anything is wrong with her! She is a total house dog but loves playing with Pixel, Izzi, Lichen and Leo. When she wants to come back inside she puts her feet up on the screen door and pulls it back and slams it. “Ok Raja! We are coming.”
We really don’t know how old she really is….could be anywhere from 11 to 14 years old. She is a joy to have in our lives.


I haven’t added a success story for a long time!  So will remember to add another dog periodically.

This is Kiche.  She came to us as a feral dog that hated to be touched, wouldn’t come up to you at all, was afraid of everything and would bolt if she got out of the fenced in yard.  It was ironic when we got her.  Kiche was in her 2nd foster home since being pulled into SCL along with her 4 puppies (that were not even 2 weeks old) and she had gotten away from him and had disappeared into the woods.  She was loose for 3 weeks.  He was putting out food for her but she would not go into any of the dog traps that were set up.

Well, one day my beautiful dog Venus, (only 7 years old but plagued by cluster seizures that the vet thought were caused by a brain tumor) decided that she didn’t want to be on this earth any longer.  We had her put down in the morning.  Well, that afternoon Kiche walked into the dog trap and was caught.  I just think that Venus had something to do with that!!  So we decided to be Kiche’s 3rd (and last) foster home and brought her to our house.

I often tell people that this kind of dog that was never socialized as a puppy and was pretty much feral, takes a longgg time to trust and have the confidence to not fear everything in their path.  It took Kiche pretty much years before she would trust us.  She hated to be touched and if we ever had to catch her….well, it just rarely happened.  She lived with other dogs and loved them.  She loved to play and we really worked off that to help her come around.

Just today (January of 2011) I was smiling at her trying to remember this dog that hated to be touched.  Now, she isn’t the most social dog, but this girl will weave her way into the pack and she LOVES pets.  Her neck, her front chest and recently has realized how good a but and hip rub feels.  She comes when we call her and we often take her on walks, still on a leash, but I know that we could run her off leash and she would stick with us.

So, if you ever end up getting a dog that is shy, spooky, untrusting with no confidence—realize that it might take years for that dog to come around.  But when they do, oh the smiles on your face.


I first saw Shaman in the corner of the euthanasia room at the Fairbanks shelter.  He had been confiscated with many of his kennel mates from an abuse situation.  He was totally unsocialized and one of the most fearful dogs that we have ever had.  In the room he was crouched in the far corner with his nose pressed to the wall, frozen and unmoving.  When I went over to him he barely responded to my touch.  I could tell he had probably never been petted before.  His fear of humans was strong but his distrust wasn’t aggressive.  He would move his eyes around if there was a noise or someone came into the room.  I could tell that deep inside he was a curious dog that had a bad start at life.  (and he was only 8-9 months old!)

An ACO (animal control officer) came into the room and said “it is time for him to be put down.”  I really didn’t want another dog but there was something about him that grabbed at my heart.  So out the door we went.  Don and I had talked before about not getting any more dogs.  We really wanted to concentrate on the ones that we had and not bring anymore into our pack.  When I got home I left him in the car and like a shy dog myself, crept into the house and went up to Don.  “uhhhh…guess what?” I asked with a sheepish look on my face.  He knew I had been at the shelter and said “What did you bring home?  Let’s go meet him.”  (thank goodness for a person in my life that loves dogs as much as I do).

We were both amazed and shocked at the true fear that Shaman emitted.  I had to hold on strong to his leash for he dove under the car and I knew that if I let go he would have been gone.  We started out very slowly with him.  He loved other dogs so that was a good start.  He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body and he lets other dogs pummel him, hump him and chase him (all of which he loves!)   As he has gotten more confident he can play just as hard and has become quite noisy in his play.  He would never come up to us for many months, probably a year.  It has taken him a long long time to feel at ease around humans.  He is still skittish at times here at home but as you can see from the pictures he loves attention and pets.  He follows us around the yard and just enjoys being part of the pack.

He is also a driven skijoring dog.   This dog loves to run and he is fast!  He never tires and is a good gee haw leader.  A big problem though is that he is still afraid of most people.  When I have taken him to the starting line in a race I have to tell people there not to touch him.  Once, someone did grab at him and quick as a flash he was out of his harness.  I was sure that he would bolt and not come back, but he ended up doing the whole race course, passing many teams and came back and flew under the truck where I easily got him.  whew.

It will probably take him another year before he trusts others.  We are working on this and he has accepted our friend Sara’s pet easily.  He is a happy settled boy at home and loves to be with his 3 girl friends in one of the freedom pens.  He is rarely ever chained up.  He is non stop energy and needs to run free to be satisfied.

Chance and Siren

Chance arrived at the shelter late in October, 2005.  She was brought in with 7 other dogs.  All of the dogs were in good shape and friendly.  The next day a volunteer noticed that Chance seemed to be “hiding” something in her dog house.  She wouldn’t come out so Leslie stuck her hand in there and low and behold there was a puppy in there!  Chance birthed a single puppy the day she came into the shelter.  It was getting quite cold so the shelter asked for a volunteer to take Chance and the puppy to care for them.  Up went my hand and Chance came home with her new baby about a week later.

Here is Siren at 6 weeks of age.  She was a big puppy.  Much bigger than Snickers (from Chiclet) and this little girl was a mischievous puppy that loved to play and got into everything!

It was hard for us to let Siren go to her new home.  We loved all of the puppies but realized that we could find her a better home than being in a larger dog yard with lots of dogs.  She found a wonderful home with a couple that had several other dogs and Siren continues to skijor, sleep on the bed and have the run of the house and the yard with her dog friends.

We did keep Chance and adopted her through the Second Chance League. She is the driving force (as you can see from her “flying” picture) on Don’s skijor team.  She is a wonderful dog with good social skills and a dog that we can let loose to run and she always comes to us.


Chiclet came into our lives several years ago when she was brought into the shelter with her 2 pups from a severe neglect situation. 6 dogs were found dead on their chain from starvation. 5 dogs were still alive but just barely. The day they brought in Chiclet she was emaciated and had no milk…she had given everything she had left to her 2 puppies. We don’t know if there were other puppies but these were the only 2 found at the scene. They were less than 10 days old as their eyes weren’t open yet. The pups probably would not have lasted another day.

They spent a day at the vets with IV fluids getting re-hydrated.  Once we brought Chiclet and the babies home and fed her tiny meals throughout the days, she milked back up again and the babies started thriving. They were covered in lice though, so that was another trip to the vet.

They arrived in November a week after we had gotten another mother from the shelter that had one puppy the day she was brought into the shelter. (This was Chance and that is another story!) So we had 2 mothers and 3 babies living in our warm dog barn all winter.

Here are the puppies:

Chiclet weighed 25 pounds when we got her. Over the weeks and months she gained weight and nursed her babies until they were nearly 8 weeks old. We had started them on solid food a few weeks earlier but we left it up to Chiclet to tell the puppies when she was done nursing. We named the puppies Snickers and Skittles, both females. They grew up to be the most loving dogs. Gentle but a bit crazy. They loved to play with the other single puppy (Siren) that we had and they liked both mothers. It was very interesting to watch the interaction. As the puppies got a bit older (Siren was a week older than the two girls) they would actually switch mothers occasionally to nurse. A real communal situation.

Snickers found a new home with a military woman and her civilian husband but a divorce forced Snickers back to us and a friend who took her for awhile and found a home in the lower 48 with a wonderful family. She is now called Emma. Skittles was hard to let go. We had her for 7 months before she found a home with a wonderful family in Anchorage. We get updates about both puppies who are doing great.

We kept both mothers and although Chiclet really doesn’t like being a sled dog, she is one of the most gentle and kind dogs that we have. She weighs near 50 pounds now (and could probably loose just a couple of pounds!) so she doubled her weight from when she was found.

CrackerJack (now Cracker)

CrackerJack, the day he came into our lives in April 2004, and before he dug this spot into a huge crater that to this day we have not finished filling in.

Cracker, confident leader, holding out the line as the team is hooked up in Kantishna, September 2007. Photo: Robert Drozda

CrackerJack is a dog that came from the shelter and was in the exact same situation as Misty. They were both in the back of the same ACO truck at the shelter waiting their turn to be euthanized. When the tenders opened the back of the truck and I had decided to take one dog I grabbed Misty…then I decided to grab a second dog and that was CrackerJack. (Why these two dogs grabbed at my heart out of 15 dogs, one never knows…)

He was terribly thin and very shy. But I could tell he was a kind and gentle dog. When I brought him home he pretty much ignored any advances by us for friendship but he LOVED to play with other dogs. He also loved to dig…dig…and dig as deep as he could until only his house was perched upon a mound of dirt. We started letting him loose every day and he would come for treats but what he really loved was to be with other dogs. There is not an aggressive bone in his body.

He turned out to be a good working dog but he was too slow for all the sprint dogs that we were putting him with. So he ended up at a distance musher’s home who then got out of dogs, so CrackerJack needed another home. Up goes Robert Drozda’s hand and Cracker ended up with Robert and Lenore, where they shortened his name to Cracker. For two summers Cracker has gone to Kantishna in Denali Park to be part of a small group of dogs that gives demonstrations to tourists. The summer of 2007 he really blossomed and was one of the main lead dogs.

His before and after pictures show his transformation. It was sad that he had to be passed around several times as I really hate to see that with sled dogs, but Cracker has ended up in a caring and wonderful home now. He is run regularly through the winter and has become part of a strong and bonded team.



Misty came from a severe neglect situation. When I took her she was in the back of an animal control truck with 15 other dogs that were all going to be euthanized. I took Misty and another dog (that has since found a wonderful home!) even though Misty tried to bite me. She was totally unsocialized and was missing fur on the majority of her underside, and was mangey and thin. The owner had been feeding only lard.

Misty in the summer of 2006

It took Misty several months before I could even pet her. I fed her some of her food every day from my hand (for the first 3 days she wouldn’t get near enough to take a kibble out of my hand!) and soon she began to trust me. Once we harness broke her she progressed in leaps and bounds. Seemed like she had found her “calling” and she had a job that she loved. She soon progressed to living in the house. Her coat came back and is luxurious and thick white. She loves to run and pull and runs lead. She has turned into a real snuggle bunny and loves to cuddle.