Seppala Siberian
Karen-Liane Shiba is pictured with her complete sled dog team, including new addition Jason. Submitted photo

Ahwatukee Foothills resident Ann Calano, president of the Arizona Siberian Husky Rescue & Adoption, Inc., has fostered "Jason" for the past three months. Calano knew from the start that Jason was different, so she contacted a friend in California who helped identify him as a Seppala Siberian.

Calano got Jason from the Humane Society where he was taken after being treated for a huge gash on his head. She has no idea where he came from or how he got here, as Seppala Siberians are not common in Arizona.

The Seppala line is bred as a working dog, carefully selected for their strength, speed and smooth gait as well as a docile temperament with both dogs and people. Seppalas are bred with a very specific goal, not for the classic beauty of the Siberians we know as pets and show dogs. Because they are bred as working dogs, they are most comfortable when they are with their pack and when they are doing their job. Taken out of their environment, they are nervous and shy.

When Calano first took Jason for a walk this was evident, as he crawled on his belly and tried to hide under her dogs. Even as he became more comfortable, loud noises and strangers made him nervous.

Not feeling that Jason would be a good fit for the average adopter looking for a pet, Calano asked her friend to post him on her musher's lists in California. Within a couple of days, Calano received a response from Karen-Liane Shiba who has a team of five females, all very shy dogs that she rehabilitated and trained to run as a team.

On a business trip in Phoenix earlier this month, Calano arranged for Shiba to meet Jason. They were immediately comfortable with each other, so she made arrangements to bring her team of five to Phoenix to meet Jason and pick him up. Two days after arriving home in California, Jason was running in harness and booties with his new team and feeling right at home with them.

Arizona Siberian Husky Rescue & Adoption, Inc. is a very small volunteer-run 501(c) 3 organization. For more information, visit www.ashra.org.

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