In the spring of 2002 a dog yard was discovered in Fairbanks housing over 400 dogs with only two men responsible for their care, it was not enough...
Countless were on the verge of starvation, some had already passed on and all were neglected to the point of abuse. This situation was unique and not normal for a mushing kennel of happy, healthy running dogs. This was a rare large scale case of a dog yard gone very wrong.
A monumental effort began within the community as mushers, veterinarians, neighbors and dog lovers came from all areas to help. A temporary clinic was set up to spay and neuter the dogs who were healthy and friendly enough for a second chance at a new home.
Unfortunately, out of those 400 there were some who were so feral, sick and unsocialized that many had to be euthanized. Collecting the remains of those who had passed was a job that many of the volunteers could not handle but Raven was one of the few to step up to the plate.
Going deep into the thick of the dog yard was like a war zone. The living conditions were marginal at best with 50 gallon metal drums converted to dog houses for shelter and fecal matter so high that each dog lived on a raised platform of its own waste.
As the vets put the most dangerous dogs to sleep, Raven followed behind with a wheelbarrow and loaded each dog, one by one. Transporting dead bodies through a mass of fecal matter to an area where they could be disposed of in a safe and healthy manner. It was an experience that would forever become seared into her memory.
When the situation became tough it only gave her more motivation to keep going and to work harder, increasing the desire never to give up no matter how hard the job became. Day after day she came back to the same site to help in what ever way she could until the job was done. It was on one of those final days that three of the most neglected and starved dogs pulled on her heartstrings, Iggy, Ivy and Jupiter.
As these three dogs desperately sought the care she was happy to provide, the passion of helping others became her focus. Raven found that in changing the lives of Iggy, Ivy and Jupiter, she opened the door to help even more dogs in need.
Raven discovered a satisfaction she never knew could exist by saving one dog at a time. In following her passion she created the Sled Dog Sanctuary...