Five years ago, my sweet girl Aurora passed. She came to me at the boarding kennel I owned in 2001, as a rescue foster dog. The poor thing was nothing but skin and bones after having lived on the streets for goodness knows how long. She had finally been trapped and taken to the “pound” in Woodstock Ontario. They named her Allie.
The first time I saw her, she was in the bed of a pick up truck owned by a member of the Canadian Alaskan Malamute Rescue group. It was a chilly January morning. When Jim had lifted her to the ground and brought her to meet me, I’m sure the poor thing had no idea what was going on. As I knelt to be at her level, she just kind of gazed off into the distance. I could see and feel every rib bone. I petted her, stroked her fur, and spoke soft words to her. And I knew within those first few minutes, that I had to give her a chance at a better life.
So, with the help of a couple of friends who had experience with rescues and Alaskan Malamutes in particular, we worked with Allie, who I renamed Aurora. As she relaxed and realized that she was finally safe, had regular meals and a comfortable place to rest, we began to see her personality show. She gained enough weight to render it safe for her to have her spay surgery done. But she hated the vets! Did not like being held still for vaccines, have her nails trimmed, or any other types of procedures. When they took her in for her spay, they discovered a Grade 3 heart murmur. She was given heart medication, but I was told she may not survive the surgery. I was devastated!
But she did survive. She healed well, and on consequent vet visits, no sign of the murmur was found. I’m thinking that perhaps she had just gotten herself so worked up at the vets, that her little heart acted up. I told the vet that I wanted to run her on a dog sled and hike with her, but I was afraid of her dying because of her heart, he told me that even if she did die doing those things, she would be happier. So, after having her for 8 months and socializing her with my friend’s male Malamute Hudson, I took her to the Malamute Rescue’s fall Pac N’ Pull event. We played agility games, had a fun pretend dog show, she participated in the weight pull competition, and we hiked into the wilds of Northern Ontario. And for every Pac N’ Pull for the next 8 years, we were there. Hudson joined our little family the year after I adopted Aurora and also participated in the events.
Things weren’t always perfect. Malamutes can be stubborn, and as with many rescues whose past stories we can never know, have personality quirks. There were a couple of scuffles between the dogs. Small, furry things were prey (Malamutes have a strong prey drive), and she was stubborn! But I learned from my friends in the rescue group, received a lot of good advice, and never gave up on her!
Here are a few pics of my beloved Aurora. In the first photo, she is sporting one of her many gold medals for either agility games or weight pulling. She lived to the ripe old age of 15. Not bad for a rescue was was 24 hours away from being put down at the shelter. She also earned her WPD (Working Pack Dog) title, and WWPD & WWPDX (Working Weight Pull Dog + Excellent) titles. Miss you, Sweetie Petitie! Your story now lives on in our book. Many people will learn about you and how you touched my life forever!
For those interested in the book I’m referring to, you can get it on Amazon.com (.ca, .uk….) Choices For Change: Courageous Decisions That Continue to Change Lives
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