Founded in 1998, all-volunteer Northern California Sled Dog Rescue (NorSled) has rescued over 2,700 Nordic breed dogs and mixes, and is currently placing about 200 per year in loving homes.
Past president Jane Cordingley explains that NorSled's vision was a bit different from the breed-specific husky, malamute and Samoyed rescues: they welcomed Nordic dogs of various gene pools, as well as mixes. And, crucially, they became the go-to place for overcrowded shelters with Nordic-breed dogs who had expensive-but-fixable medical needs that otherwise would amount to a death sentence.
Cordingley recently found herself driving to Delano to get a tiny puppy who'd been picked up in the middle of the street, suffering from horrible injuries, including a broken leg and another one nearly torn off, as well as lots of lacerations. Despite his pain, she says, Little Boy Blue just wanted to snuggle and be petted. The vets at Sage Veterinary Hospital in Concord went to work, and while the little guy, currently 2 months old, has a long recovery ahead, he's off to a loving foster home with other convalescing dogs until he's ready for adoption. (If you'd like to make a tax-deductible donation to help out with his considerable medical expenses, NorSled would be very grateful.)
Most of NorSled's adoptables come from less traumatic situations: an all-too-common tale is that people take home a cute fuzzy puppy, give him no training and are surprised when he turns into a large, rowdy teenager. Cordingley explains that Nordic-breed dogs don't have the personalities or needs of your placid household pet: besides having a strong prey drive, they're smart and independent-minded, which can save your life in mushing situations but be inconvenient in more mundane reality.
Thanks to a lot of fosters, volunteers and community support, NorSled keeps dogs safe and works with them, while seeking savvy forever homes with people who understand who these dogs are and what they need. After the adoption, NorSled stands ready to help with any adjustment issues that crop up.
NorSled holds adoption events weekly around the Bay Area; they offer an excellent chance to meet, greet and get to know the dogs, one of whom might be just perfect for you!