Adoption Update with Husky Hero, Benalli
Your name and the name of your beloved husky hero!
My name is Claire Smeaton and I adopted Benelli… the white dog.
How many seasons did you work for Snowy Owl Tours?
I came back for a couple of shifts this season which would be my fifth year in a row, but I worked for Snowy Owl full-time as a guide for five seasons full time including three winters and two summer seasons, and part-time another winter season.
When did you adopt your retired sled dog?
I adopted Benelli officially a year ago! May of 2022.
What motivated you to adopt a retired sled dog/ what made them stand out from the rest of the pack?
Some of the dogs at Snowy Owl need daily medication, and in my first year I was doing the medication in the morning, and of course, it’s a winter position so it gets cold out. I would do the medication for some of the dogs and then get to Benelli, who needs eye medication twice daily, and she would come out of her house for her eye meds in the morning and roll over onto her back for belly rubs and I would warm my hands up on her belly and give her her medication and then go do the meds for the rest of the dogs that needed it. All dogs are great in their own way, and as a guide, you give a lot of your love and effort to the dogs, because they work hard for you and they deserve it, but sometimes those really special dogs will give it back as much or more than you give to them, and that’s what it felt like with Benelli. She was a really reliable lead dog up on-site, where we would cuddle between tours, and during free run she would always come to me when I called her name, and those were the moments I knew it was love.
What do you love most about having an adoptee sled dog join your family?
Benelli adds an element of both comfort and chaos to my life. She is much more cuddly than my other dog, always willing to nap on the couch and watch a movie. But will also occasionally jump off a small cliff at Quarry dog park or find a porcupine in the woods and make me have to take out 50 quills from her face. I love that she is just as adventurous as me but also willing to take it easy when I feel like it as well.
What 3 activities does your adoptee enjoy the most?
- Benelli’s number one is sleeping on the couch.
- I also found out she has a love for chasing birds, and will always be on the lookout for them.
- Benelli loves meeting new people and is always eager to interact with strangers at the dog park.
What new skills did your husky hero learn since living with you?
She’s also learned all about backcountry camping and pulling someone up a mountain instead of in front of a sled. Benelli also learned to sit for treats, and only for treats, not just for anything. We’re currently working on the skill of looking majestic for photos, with mixed success.
Did adopting a retired sled dog meet all your expectations?
Absolutely not, I did not expect Benelli to be this crazy. Whether it’s booking it up and down hills chasing birds, finding porcupines in the woods and getting a face full of quills, or just vaulting over the back of the couch cause she is so eager to cuddle, you can take the sled out of the dog but you can’t take the dog out of the sled.
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