- 30th January 2017
Here at TRAKZ as part of our mission to make your pets, SAFER, HEALTHIER, & HAPPIER we are celebrating World Sled Dog Day on the 2nd Feb 2017- and are focusing on those amazing breeds of Husky, Malamutes and all mixed-breed sled dogs. Wouldn’t it be cool to use the advanced activity tracking that comes with TRAKZ to compare your dog’s activities with these amazing athletes of the canine world?
‘Original ‘huskies’ were Siberian huskies and Alaskan Malamutes, used by native peoples in Alaska and northeast Siberia for herding reindeer and pulling loads. Today, the term applies to other types of sled dogs as well. Many are mixed-breed dogs, bred for performance – not looks’. Sled dogs have been used for thousands of years as working dogs in arctic regions, hauling supplies and providing transportation in areas that were inaccessible by other methods.
Now in the days of snowmobiles the dogs are bred mainly for Sled dog sports and often have a prized heritage. Unfortunately sled dog racing is not recognized in the Winter Olympics, but in the annual Phoenix Winter Games, a sports competition between the four Help for Heroes Recovery Centres. Sled dogs were very much part of the action.
As the sport centres on riding a ‘rig’ pulled by a team of dogs – ‘…it is a great adaptive sport for post injury …wounded, injured and sick servicemen, women and veterans…’ to engage in, providing ‘…a sense of purpose that can be achieved… and it can really accelerate someone’s personal recovery journey’.
It isn’t just the thrill of the ride that is reported to help recovery though- it’s the bond developed between man and dog. John Binding, involved in enabling this experience for veterans explains ‘Alaskan Malamutes are a very family orientated dog and they can give a lot back; it doesn’t matter if you’ve had a really bad day, they can bring a smile to anyone’s face’.
One amazing use of sled dogs is a non- profit organization – Sled Dogs as Therapy, run by Shane Kennedy- along with his two pet Alaskan Malamutes Mishka, and Koda.
His aim is to provide animal assisted therapy and activities to improve mental health. Here he explains to our TRAKZ family th potential benefits of the human – canine relationship, ‘Using Sled Dogs in therapy is all about connection. Any dog can be an excellent therapy dog, but we find, especially with recovering service personnel, that individuals strike up a bond with the dogs.
The main focus of the dogs is in their use with Help For Heroes, and also in schools. We are part of the Rolling Recovery programme at Tedworth House, Help for Heroes. After a few visits staff approached us about putting something on for the Phoenix games. Individuals using our service do get a chance to get on the Rig, but as many actually get a lot out of having a cuddle!
Apart from the direct relaxing effect from being around these dogs, I find the biggest impact is when the connection occurs. Dogs have no agenda! That means you can build trust with them. This can be amazingly comforting to people.
We are very proud that our work with recovering service personnel, and schools are 100% free of charge. That is very important to us.
People do ask how they can help? Well like us on social media! Spread the word for us. We also accept donations. If you really like what we do, shout us a round of dog food!’
As always TRAKZ is asking our Trakz Furry Family & Friends to upload your pictures to our Facebook account of you and your pets- with a special request for all you Husky & Malamutes to share with us pics of you and your owners in honour of Sled- dog day.
Mush for now. Stay safe out there.
TRAKZ – keeping your pets SAFER, HEALTHIER and HAPPIER
1 – www.athropolis.com – 31/01/2017
2 – www.helpforheroes.org.uk – 01/02/17
3 – Shane Kennedy – 1/02/17
See our links to Shane’s Facebook page, website and video: