...she had made a den under her dog house and was determined to hide whenever anyone came near.
Gemini came to us after we had brought her sister Hera home from the same sled dog kennel. Hera was not taken in as a rescue case, and at first Gemini wasn't either. After we had taken Hera home we had notified another person who was looking for a husky that there were a few beautiful blue eyed babies left in the litter. Contact information was exchanged and Gemini was soon on her way to her new home. All was well at first but the person who took her in did not know the ways of huskies, especially the shy ones like Gemini was turning out to be.
From the start Gemini was what we like to call a "dog's dog" which is one who prefers the company of other canines over the humans who take care of them. Right from the start Gemini did not bond well with people and instead of the new owners working with her on this issue, especially at her young age when she would be the most impressionable, they decided to focus more on their other husky who was easier to work with.
It wasn't long before Gemini was written off as a lost cause. Because of the blood relation we had in her sister Hera we naturally felt a bond with Gemini. Hera showed many of the same shy traits and as we worked through them we had a good idea of the kind of home and care Gemini would require. We called up to check on her and arrange a visit to see how she was doing.
As with most requiring rescue it was a sad case, she had made a den under her dog house and was determined to hide whenever anyone came near. It was only when other dogs stopped by that she would cautiously venture out of her hiding place to meet them. It was immediately clear to us that Gemini was not in the right environment and we posed the question to the new owners if they would like to give her up to a home where she might feel more comfortable. The owners, having felt they were well out of their league with such a shy husky, naturally agreed. Arrangements were made over the next few days to take Gemini to her new home within the Sanctuary.
When she meet up with her sister again the two hit it off right away while Gemini slowly worked up the courage to meet all the other dogs in the kennel. Over time she settled in and made so many friends that we had no issues with her running loose with anyone in the yard. She got along so well with the other dogs that when ever she was set loose in a play group she would be mobbed by all the others as she delighted in all the extra attention. When the affection of the others became too much she would take off through the yard leading the whole group on a merry little chase.
Gemini worked within our sled dog team for many years often saving us a long walk when we lost control of the team. Letting go of the handle bow on the sled was a rare occasion but a few times on the trail, when times were really tough, the team would get away from us. If Gemini was along for the run we had little fear the dogs would get far. Once she realized no one was driving from the rear she would sit in the trail and use her body as a drag through the snow until the entire team stopped.
These were no small teams either. Often we would be running ten to twelve dogs in one string! One dog stopping a team of that size is very rare but being a big girl Gemini always had mass on her side and a very strong determination in mind that we all will travel together no matter what.
To this day Gemini is still stand offish with strangers, though she will tolerate us when we feed, brush or trim her nails. She is a very sweet girl but will always prefer the company of other canines who she can connect with the easiest. Like most dogs with severe shyness issues we don't expect Gemini to change but as she advances into her twilight years she remains one of the gentlest dogs in the Sanctuary.
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Read more about her in the January/February issue (2014) of Mushing Magazine...