Winnie was the last of three Norsled adoption dogs we met that special day last year just before the 4th of July. Gail had warned us that Winnie’s energy level was off the charts, so we looked at the other two first as the safest bet. Before we formally met Winnie we got a glimpse of her in full animation mode when Gail treated her and the other dogs in their respective kennel areas to a raw chicken leg. Winnie almost levitated in excitement. She was high-tuned and supercharged, and according to Gail very intelligent. We met each of the first two dogs in a separate, get-acquainted area of the kennel. They were wonderful dogs and we were trying to decide which one to take home. Then Winnie came bursting in to meet us. She started licking us, looked at us directly in the eyes, and used all of her many charms to convince us that we were a match. She had no hesitation whatever. We were smitten and felt an immediate attachment. But we wondered whether we were up to the task of taking on Winnie and the challenges she had faced in her young life.
Gail had told us the story of Winnie’s background as a stray who was rescued with one of the worst ever cases of demodex. Although her fur was growing back, we could see the damage it had caused. She had undergone months of treatment to deal with the open sores and lesions over much of her body. Her immune system had been severely compromised, and her fur remained sparse and we could see the scabs underneath. Her poor tail was a scraggly thing (see picture attached). And then we had to consider how to handle that boundless energy. We decided to take a chance on Winnie. We could see that she was a special dog just to have survived.
Winnie arrived at our peaceful home and immediately made it her own. If anything, her energy level seemed to increase as she ran around the house as if it were an open field. We tried to calm her down but did not have much luck. We began to wonder if we had made a huge mistake and expressed our concern to Gail. “Don’t be overwhelmed by her”, Gail replied in a matter-of-fact manner that gave us some comfort that things would get better. We are so lucky to have gotten over that initial hurdle. Winnie has turned out to be the most wonderful dog. She still has energy to burn but now channels that it into daily hikes in the Berkeley Hills and visits to dog parks. She is always looking to play with another dog. She has a special skill at figuring out how to entice almost any dog — young or old, big or small — to play with her. She is so loving and sweet, giving us back much more than we can give her. We continue to be amazed at how well she has settled in to her new life. She is the sweetest dog by far that either of us have ever known
It brings a smile and a tear to our eyes when we think about Winnie’s past and the dog she is today. We had no idea that she could be so sweet and loving. And her coat is now fully grown in and she is absolutely beautiful (picture attached). We will be forever grateful to Gail and the foster moms that brought Winnie back from the abyss.Thank you so very much - By Alan Weiss
Well I’ve had Alfie for six months now and I thought this would be a good time to follow up on him. To start what a great, loving, energetic, caring and special dog he is. He has become a great addition to the family and the entire neighborhood. UPS, Fed Ex and the mailman love him as do all the dog walkers who pass my house. The quail have become thinner trying to avoid being eaten by his constant chasing. He had been quilled and skunked and avoids those critters willingly. He lives in the water in and out of the creek and the ponds. Being a surfer dog from San Jose he has adapted to Reno’s snowy winters getting the thickest coat I’ve ever seen. He has only escaped three times, once being in the great fire that engulfed Reno a few months back. I’ve reinforced the fence and so far containment. He loves riding in the care and chewing all my shoes..so he’s not St. Alfie but fun and exciting to have.
I have heard from previous dog owners that you will “know it” when you find your dog. Little did my family and I know that their advice was true. When a skinny and dingy looking Husky/German Shepherd mix named Luna (formerly Jewel) leaned against me and had shown her belly to me, we instantly fell in love with her. All those “requirements” you want in a dog were out of the door, we adopted her right there; regardless of the fact we did not know her history and had just received surgery. With LOVE, you take the GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY.
Now, if you are also a loyal dog lover then you know the saying, “A rescued dog will show you everyday how thankful they are.” Slowly we started to see Luna breaking out of her shell. From digging her first bone, taking a full week to play with a chew toy for the first time, and learning that there was a meal coming every night. With all this, she gained a healthy ten pounds; her coat became thick, lustrous, and gained new social skills with all the training our family had put in.
Two years after her adoption, Luna enjoys running daily at the local park, Oyster Bay. Chasing rabbits and befriending every dog…even those who aren’t highly social, which their parents are so grateful. If Luna isn’t running like a cheetah, she is playing like a puppy, and enjoying the many homemade treats we make for her.
I want to thank Norsled for giving another chance to the “happiest dog” and giving us another happy addition to our family. Luna really brings life into our house every day.
-Alma, Claudia, Diana, and Manuel
A two year old male malamute mix was once owned by a homeless drug addict. The dog was beaten and starved by his owner. The man ended up in jail, and the dog was taken in by Norsled. When he got out of jail, he wanted the dog back. Gail said, “NO!”, and he became a rescued Norsled dog.
I had a male husky and a petite female named Nana. She was a Norsled rescue. My male, Dakota, became very sick with end stage liver cancer, and we chose to put him down to keep him from suffering any further. Afterwards, Nana sat by our dog door, crying and whining for 3 weeks. I couldn’t take it any longer, so we headed for a Norsled adoption fair. There were 7 dogs there, all in crates. She walked up to each dog, jumped around, and two minutes later stuck her nose up in the air, as if to say, “Eh, not for me”. An hour later, a foster mom came walking up with the malamute. Nana made a beeline for him, and they jumped and played, tangling the leashes, for a non-stop hour. Bear in mind, this dog was HUGE! I hadn’t planned on bringing home such a large dog, but what was I to do? Nana was in love with him.
Friends and family came over to see him, and we debated for an hour, trying to find a name for him. I chose the name “Boomer”, and my vote won, of course. He is a very beautiful grey and white “wolfy” dog, with gold eyes. He immediately attached to me, and I became his best friend. He was so happy to be in a loving home, with good food, and no beatings. He seemed so grateful that it was touching. Boomer was very shy around men, running to hide if a man reached out to touch him. Undoubtedly a behavior he developed from being abused by a man. He wouldn’t let my husband get anywhere near him. But, he stuck to my side like glue.
That first night, I was leaning down to play with him when he knocked me over, and bit the back of my neck. He didn’t draw blood, but it sure did hurt. I have friends with small children who come to visit, so I thought hard about calling Gail to ask to bring him back. He also would jump on us, and nip our hands as he ran by. He was quite wild and crazed with energy. Apparently, Boomer had been played with very roughly. I was already in love with him, and decided to work it out and train him.
It took a full year to calm him down, and teach him manners. We went to training classes, and I worked endlessly with him. It was well worth the effort, because he has become the very best dog I have ever had. We’ve been together for six years now, and he is loving and sweet, always by my side no matter where I go in the house. If he gets scared of something, he likes to stick his head between my legs to feel safe. He’s great with people, and loves to be petted. He once saw a Yorkie, and picked him up in his mouth and carried him around. The dog was not harmed in the least, but the owner freaked out, of course. Boomer just wanted to have a little companion to play with and carry around. He just didn’t need one of those dog purses to do it, his mouth worked just fine. He couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about.
We take our dogs walking through Walnut Creek’s downtown, and can’t go 3 minutes without someone stopping us, wanting to pet our three Norsled rescued dogs. Boomer is a grey and white malamute mix, Rocky is a black and white husky with bi-eyes, and Bentley (our problem child and master escape artist) is a red and white woolly (long haired) husky. People grab their phones and take pictures, and ask us to take pictures of them with our dogs. Our three boys love it, and pose beautifully for the photos, and cuddle up to people to be petted. We should charge for this service…we would be rich. We are rich in our love of our dogs, and feel honored to be able to love and take care of them. They truly are our family, and we are so grateful to have found Norsled, with it’s wonderful volunteers, and amazing coordinator, Gail. Thank you Jane and Gail for all of your hard work and dedication to these dogs, whose lives you save.
Noah and Shelley
Noah Denali and Shelley Winters came into my life after I lost my great samoyed loves, Chance and Connor. The loss left a huge pit of sadness and the only way it could possibly start to fill with meaning was to adopt Northern dogs again. Noah turned out to be the gentleman of all siberian huskies, gentle, kind, loving, patient, yet joyously playful and physically strong. Shelley is a boisterous clown with a huge voice and a champion’s leaping ability, years later she still clears the floor like a kangaroo in ecstatic anticipation of food, glorious food. And she’s a great ball player, I think she likes spending as much time in the air as she can. Together, they’re a wonderful combination of personalities and attitudes, very close and cooperative. They hit it off the moment they met and we became a happy pack the minute as soon as we started our trip home. When I’m away from the “den” they hang out together and keep each other company, dreaming dog dreams of journeys and adventures large and small. I can’t imagine life without them, my sweet canine kids.
Susan and the furries
Bianca is doing well. She has gotten comfortable in her new home, knows the routine and has her favorite spots to hangout. She comes to work with me most days and usually sits outside on the large enclosed patio outside my office, watching the world around her intently. She used to sit by my feet at first, but is more comfortable now being on her own.
She is still on her meds which we refilled at the vet a few weeks ago. They have helped her steady out a lot. She is now ok, and under control if left alone in the yard or the house for a few hours at a time (though she scolds us most profusely when we come home!) She loves her daily walks, enjoys sitting on a chaise lounge for hours at a time watching the birds and the bees in the back yard, and hides out in her dog house when someone is using the hose! She does not eat much and as such is at the low end of her weight range, but seems happy and healthy. We have offered her dozens of types of dog food (wet and dry) but she turns up her nose at them. So, we’ve been feeding her cooked chicken and stir fried ground beef, with chicken strip chews for dessert.
She is still so pretty, has a sweet and gentle nature and is really well behaved and trained. She is quite beautiful to look at, and people stop on the street and visit with her. But her real love is for children, who love to pet her and she is so kind and gentle and polite to them they love her. I cannot imagine why anyone would give her up!
Hello, we have been meaning to write Avalanche’s success story for a while now, and every time we sit down and stare at the computer monitor we are flooded with the great memories that we have created and shared with him. And it seems like every time we are at the computer it gets harder and harder to try to decide which one’s to write down because they have all been very memorable.
For me, being his dad, the most memorable one has been, the night, when he literally saved my life. It was ten thirty at night and it was stormy and there was a strong wind blowing. I took him for a walk and then to his rest room spot, which by the way he didn’t want to go, and all of the sudden out of no where he starts pulling and trying to drag me as if I was a sled and he was mushing. All of this was strange to me, because to that point in time he had never pulled or tried to get away from me so I tried calming him down but to no avail. Then with one last strong pull and believe me when I say strong he yanks on the leash and pulls me like his life depended on it and little did I know that he was trying to save my life and that it was my life that depended on him because three seconds after he had pulled me this big and I mean BIG tree branch falls out of no where on the same exact spot that I had just been in. I looked at Avalanche and he seemed to have this expression on his face, “see you dummy I was trying to help you out and you were over here trying to tell me everything is fine thinking that I was acting up because of the storm”. I went home looked at my family and told them what had just happened and that I loved them. Ever since that night we have developed a strong bond and it’s the most amazing thing in the world.
My wife Juanita has a strong bond with him too, at first it seemed like he only wanted to be with me but little by little they started falling for each other. He waits for her by the door all day when she is at work. He walks her to the restroom and waits for her in the living room while she is taking a shower, brushing her teeth, or just getting ready for the day, oh and he helps her cook too, by cooking I mean eating the food that falls to the ground . Every morning he wakes her up with lots of kisses and the occasional jumping on her and sleeps next to her by her feet through out the night.
The first week he was home he broke out of the kennel while we were at work, and decided it would be a good thing to open the patio glass sliding door and get out to roam around Salinas. Luckily our neighbors down the street got him and gave us a call, I left work in a hurry and picked my baby boy up as fast as I could, hugged him and broke down upset thinking that he didn’t want to be with us, then he goes and saves my life boy was I wrong to doubt he wanted to be with us.
He is very unique, when we drove up to Vallejo for an adoption fair we really went in the hopes of adopting Natalia, Norsled had provided plenty of details on her on the website. However, she was quickly adopted and we were losing hope that we would find a dog that day. To our surprise our ‘son’ showed up in a mini van sitting in the back seat just staring through the window while the other dogs were jumping for attention. I looked at my wife and we said that’s him he’s our dog. He was raggedy looking but we had fallen in love with him. We talked to Gail and she said ok let’s have you guys fill out the adoption papers, while we give him a shower, and before we knew it he was in our Chevy Avalanche looking through the window and enjoying the ride back to Salinas.
When we adopted him we really didn’t know much about him, we didn’t know what his past was like and what he was like other than he had been picked up as a stray in Bakersfield. Now we know he likes to watch the Harry Potter movies, he is good with small dogs, we have three little Chihuahuas and they’re his best friends, go on a bike run every now and then, that he is extremely smart, and he is able to turn off light switches. Yea it’s hard to believe but he has learned to do that.
He is currently on his way to becoming a therapy dog. Norsled, thank you for giving Avalanche a second chance at life. We will keep you informed as to when Avalanche finally gets his therapy dog license and send you a copy of it as well. From the bottom of our hearts thanks to every one who is involved with Norsled and everyone who made this possible.
I know it’s been a while, but I wanted to share a picture of our baby. We adopted him in November 2009 from Norsled when his name was Takoda. Since our daughter’s name is Dakota, we decided to change his name to Kodiak…Kodi for short. We had an older husky (14 years) at the time and Kodi was so gentle with him. Unfortunately, we had to put our older dog down in June of 2010. It was really sad & took a while for Kodi adjust, but he’s done so well.
Kodi is super friendly and is always happy to greet visitors when they come into our home. Once you start to pet him, he goes belly up & loves to have his tummy rubbed. His energy keeps our family very entertained. He loves toys that squeak & likes to chew rawhides. The greatest thing about Kodi is that even though he came to us in need of some manners, he has proved to be a great companion. He loves kids & people in general. Although he has surpassed the 80 pound mark, he still thinks he’s a “lap dog” & won’t hesitate to do a somersault right in your lap when he wants some attention.
Bottom line is…we love him!!! And I’m pretty sure he feels the same about our family. Thank you, Norsled! The work you do is unbeleivable!
I felt drawn to Millie the first time I set eyes on her. She emotionally opened the doors for me to love another dog, since I lost mine seven years before. She has been my co-pilot ever since. My favorite part of the day is spending time with her hiking and going to dog parks.
My boyfriend and I spend our weekends taking her on road trips to the snow, dog beaches, camping, and even restaurants that offer dog menus! I couldn’t image my life with out her. I am thankful to Norsled because with out this organization none of this would have been possible.
Marcie has been with us for about two months and in that time, she has become another Norsled success story. With her playmate, Snowcap, she has energized our whole family with her playfulness, companionship, and love. After losing his companion to old age, Snowcap missed the love and friendship of his pal.
Marcie has re-energized him and the two of them are now inseparable. The images show them having a great time on a beautiful winter day on a dock at Donner Lake. They both love the snow and exhibit all the traits that sled dogs are supposed to show. We could not ask for a better addition to our family. Thanks again to the wonderful and caring organization and the people of Norsled that spend so much of their time and energy rescuing these magnificent dogs. Marcie and Snowcap want to thank all of you for giving them a wonderful life.
Loretta and I have been blessed to have Snowcap come into our lives since March, 2008. Woody, our Lab mix had passed and Patty his sister was alone and sad. Enter our new friend . He has made our family whole again and given us countless hours of love and companionship. He has bonded well with Patty and even his cat sister Sally.
He is always up for a new adventure and travels well between Yosemite and Lake Tahoe. He truly is in his element in the snow and just floats over it with amazing agility and quickness. We have had many dogs in our lives and Snowcap is the latest in furry friends that give to us far more than we can ever give to him.
Thank you Norsled for all you do and allowing Snowcap to become a member our family.
Best wishes,Larry and Loretta
After losing one of our beloved husky’s our family began searching to adopt. After months of browsing websites and driving to local shelters we found our girl, a young, stray named Mya recently rescued by Norsled. From the first photo we saw, it was obvious that she was the one for us. We contacted them immediately and began the adoption process.
On the day we met Mya at her foster family’s home, she was beautiful but seemed hyper, untrained and a bit unruly. She jumped up, scratched, ran aimlessly and displayed no desire to please. Until we got into the car…almost immediately, she lay down and rode quietly, head down and quiet. Upon arriving to her new forever home she somehow transformed into a respectful little lady. She quickly learned sit, stay, lay down and our other husky mix bonded almost instantly and romped around the back yard for hours. It took a few days for her to learn, but quickly adapted to being a very gentle companion to our young 17 month old daughter; who is now her best friend. They spend hours playing together each day and she is the most tolerant, loving dog imaginable.
Mya is a typical husky who is fun, energetic and eager to work. And although the husky breed is known for their mischievous inhibitions; if given the appropriate love and training they are simply amazing animals. She is the perfect match for us and we are so incredibly thankful to Norsled for their patience, guidance and endless breed knowledge.