A former Krabloonik sled dog that had run away from its foster home has been caught and returned to Colorado Animal Rescue in Glenwood Springs.
Dasher, one of eight dogs seized by the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office during a search of the Krabloonik property in December, had been on the run for several weeks, moving up and down the valley before ending up on a mountainside in Woody Creek. Volunteers, shelter employees and the owners of the land Dasher came to call home had been trying to coax him out as well as providing food for him.
About two weeks ago, the volunteers set up a horse trailer in the pasture below the mountainside and were feeding him there. Dasher would visit the horse trailer to eat late in the evenings, when no one was around, and then return to the mountainside. Everyone involved in the rescue has said that the dog is very skittish around people.
Originally, the team was leaving open the wide door at the back of the trailer for Dasher. Then they left only the small side door open, hoping that if someone saw him enter it, they could lock the door and catch him. Finally, Aspen resident Ricki Smith Newman slightly closed one of the stall doors inside so that Dasher had to go around it to get to his food.
When Newman went by the trailer late Friday afternoon, she found Dasher there and shut the door before he escaped.
“It surprised me so much, because I went there Friday basically to just get his empty bowls and refill them,” Newman said. “I saw his head, ... and I just slowly closed the door.”
Newman said she began speaking gently to the dog to keep it calm and called the ranch’s owners and Tracey Yajko, from Colorado Animal Rescue, to come help.
“I rode in the back of the car with him to the vet,” Newman said.
Dasher was found to be in good health, and then Yajko took him back to Colorado Animal Rescue for a “much-needed flea bath,” Newman said. Newman has been visiting him at the facility, where he and some other dogs are being kept in the backyard so they have room to run.
Leslie Rockey, director of Colorado Animal Rescue, said she’s not concerned about Dasher running away from the shelter because he’s contained and he’s familiar with it, having lived there since December. Dasher ran away from a foster family who had taken him in to try to make him more comfortable around people.
Skittish behavior around people has made Dasher and another former sled dog, Dirk, very hard to find homes for, Rockey said. Four of the seized dogs have been adopted, and one died not long after being taken in.
“It’s just very disheartening to have such an outcry from the public but have nobody take an interest in these dogs,” Rockey said.
Rockey currently is working on an application for Dasher and Dirk to go to a sanctuary operated by Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, a no-kill facility in Utah. There, the dogs would have land to roam on and still be provided with shelter and medical care, she said.
The dogs would have a “very, very happy life” there, Rockey said. Colorado Animal Rescue would not be able to provide a good life for the dogs in the long run but could care for them until they go to Best Friends or another home.
The third sled dog still under Colorado Animal Rescue’s protection, whom the shelter has dubbed Banjo, is more outgoing, and Rockey is confident that a home will be found for him eventually.
After searching the property in December, the District Attorney’s Office charged Krabloonik owner Dan MacEachen with eight misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, one for each animal it seized. On Monday, MacEachen’s defense filed motions to suppress evidence related to that search from the case against him.
A trial is set for Oct. 8 to 10.