Krabloonik making strides
September 2, 2011
I am very pleased to see the new improvements being made at the Krabloonik dog-sledding operation (“Krabloonik dogs get a taste of freedom,” Aspen Daily News, Aug. 23).
The photo of the dogs freely socializing with each other and volunteer Rebecca Psigoda shows a huge difference in emotional health from last summer’s photos of the tethered dogs with sad, bored faces. Yes, I realize that it takes more work, more staff and more volunteers to make off-tether exercise for the dogs during off-season safe, but that is what’s necessary to give these dogs a quality life when not working, and helps to prepare them for easier adjustment to being adopted as pets after their working days are over.
This is what other dog-sledding operations in Colorado have been doing voluntarily for years (with no compromise to their dogs’ performance values and with successful adoption programs), and what the Aspen Animal Shelter has found necessary to do when working with retired Krabloonik dogs to enable them to be adoptable.
If Krabloonik insists on being the “largest sledding operation in the lower 48 states,” then they’ll have to expect that this part of the dogs’ well-being will be a huge job also.
I know Mr. Courtney is still contemplating whether the off-tether exercise is necessary or not, but I hope in making his decision, he will carefully weigh his quotes; the compassionate, “There’s a sense of enjoyment in it you can sense,” (while watching the dogs freely exercising) with the more business-driven, “The proof is in the sledding,” (wondering if the dogs will perform faster or slower, or behave any differently when going back to work). Other dog-sledding operations in the state are making it work very well for their businesses and their dogs.
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And as a reminder to Mr. McEachen and Mr. Courtney, many of us who have asked for change at Krabloonik for the dogs have, and are still willing, to volunteer to help out.