Sweet Qanuk came into our lives early in October 2019. For many years, I had been curious about adopting a retired sled dog; however, prior to this I had only adopted dogs as puppies, so I wasn't sure what it might be like to adopt not only an adult dog, but also one that was so unfamiliar with a non-domestic lifestyle.
My misgivings were clearly misplaced. It's been so joyful to watch this fun loving and affectionate girl very quickly work her way into our hearts and assimilate into our lifestyle. From the day that I went to meet her at Caleb and Deanna's property in the mountains outside Salida, I saw in Qanuk not only a free spiritedness and curiosity about her environment, but also a desire to roll around on the floor, snuggle and unabashedly ask for a good belly rub.
The next day after that initial meeting, I came back to take Qanuk on a short hike on the Colorado Trail. While there was a brief adjustment with getting into my vehicle (everything has been so new for her!), and to being on a leash once we arrived at the trail, Qanuk responded very quickly to training with the treats that I’d brought along- she was obviously very food motivated and willing to learn from her years on a sled team. She responded quickly to praise, and by the time we finished that first short hike, she was readily heeling on a leash and focused on me. I let her off leash for a little bit of time, and she just fell right in line behind me on the trail. It was amazing and so much fun!
Now that we are home, she loves her new Border Collie pup friend Hugo and they have a great time going on daily hikes together. I think it's been awesome for her that we already had another dog in our home. I think she could've been OK without Hugo, but it seems like having another dog around made her feel really happy, she was used to so many other dogs being in her pack for the first eight years of her life. Qanuk is also a fantastic mountain biking buddy, and sometimes I think she's looking at me asking if I would please hurry up. We are super excited to try backcountry snowboarding and skijoring together this winter.
She continues to be great on the leash-honestly the best dog I've ever had when it comes to heeling. She's always looking to me to see what we're going to do next, and she's eager to please. Other skills like sit, stay and lie down are coming along very quickly for Qanuk, and in spite of what Deanna and Caleb warned me might be a bit of a transition, she's only had one accident in the house- such a quick learner!
On that note, it was also so easy to adopt from Deanna and Caleb; they've been incredibly helpful in the process and really prepared me for how adopting a sled dog is a bit different than adopting dogs as puppies or from a shelter. I'm so grateful for the things they've taught me that allowed Qanuk to ease into her new routine.
We are super excited to have Qanuk in our lives, and I'm already considering adopting another sled dog in the spring. If you are thinking about adopting from Monarch Sled Dogs, I highly recommend it. These loving Alaskan Huskies make excellent outdoor playmates, and terrific home companions.