Stray dog finds new home on sled team
A stray dog found roaming the streets of Winnipeg is set to become part of a world famous sled team in Churchill.
Powder, a 10-month-old Husky cross, was picked up in December by Winnipeg's animal services department after being found without a licence.
She spent nearly three weeks at the dog pound waiting for a new home before Jenafor and Gerald Azure spotted her on a website, petfinder.com, where animal services staff post pictures of pets for adoption.
The Azures run a bed and breakfast and Blue Sky Expeditions, sled dog tour operation, in Churchill, a port town on the shore of Hudson Bay.
They recently made international headlines for another one of their sled dogs — Isobel.
The nine-year-old Siberian husky-malamute cross retired in January after running for the past five years completely blind.
Isobel's retinas had detached, possibly the result of a virus and doctors said she would not be able to work as a sled dog any longer. Isobel, however, had other plans.
Despite being unable to see, she ran lead for the team and helped beat other dog teams in head-to-head competitions.
Her indomitable spirit caught the attention of American television network NBC, which featured her story during NBC's coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Powder learning the ropes
Now it's Powder's turn to take a run with the Azures' team.
The Azures travelled to Winnipeg to meet her and were instantly taken by her enthusiasm.
"She was just happy-go-lucky, full of energy [and] loved you instantly," said Gerald Azure. "And I thought, you know what, that dog could work."
Powder spent some more time in the city, living in a foster home, until she received a clean bill of health, was spayed, and airline transportation was arranged to her new home.
Azure said Powder has been taken through some training and has passed some of the earliest tests.
"She had to have good hair and her feet had to be in good shape [and she has a] happy attitude," he said. "I let her off the leash to go play and when I called her, she came back right away."
Powder now lives with the Azures' 16 other dogs and is learning more about the ropes — and harnesses — of sledding life.