A sled dog, dubbed “Gwennie” is recovering in a Yellowknife clinic after being rescued this weekend.

Dr. Tom Pisz found the emaciated dog cowering near his home.

“She was very scared, kind of lying on the ground, didn't want to move when we found her,” Pisz says. “I don't know how long she'd been running free. I hope she wasn't like that when she escaped from her original home."

Pisz says the dog’s ribs were jutting out and she had very little muscle. Pisz suspects the dog may have run away from its home and was malnourished.   

“For that kind of state, she must be off of food for several weeks," he says. "Or she wasn't fed properly in the first place and then got to this stage very quickly.”

Based on her behaviour and the condition of her feet, Pisz suspects she came from a musher, and lived outside.

He says short-haired sled dogs bred for speed aren't as prepared for cold weather as heavier-set breeds. And if they're not fed properly, dogs can run into trouble because they burn through calories much faster during the winter.

"They'll survive in the cold weather, but it seems to be a little bit on a side where we should support them with better shelter, a warmer place, even jackets and stuff."

Three-year-old Gwennie is now receiving nutrients intravenously.

Pisz says this is an extreme case... but he sees similar cases almost once a week, with dogs that are starving, and often filled with parasites and viruses.

For the next few days, Gwennie will be monitored at the Great Slave Animal hospital.

When she recovers, she may be available for adoption.