A SIBERIAN Husky who cheated death after being hit by a car has fought her way back to fitness to become a champion sled-racing dog.
Crystal the Husky ended up in a West Lothian rescue centre when her owners could no longer meet escalating vet bills after she suffered serious injuries in a car accident.
Racing has given her a new lease of life and in turn she has given us one tooThomas Edwards
Her fate seemed sealed – she would be put to sleep.
That was until Edinburgh dog owner Thomas Edwards, who already had two Siberian Huskies of his own, spotted Crystal at the Dogs Trust charity’s rehoming centre in West Calder.
“I knew the best thing for Crystal’s recovery would be to spend time with other Siberian Huskies for companionship,” said Mr Edwards.
“She is a little miracle. At first she wouldn’t entertain another dog, now she happily plays with dogs and loves meeting new people.”
Once Crystal had recovered from her physical injuries, Mr Edwards decided to see whether she would be able to enjoy sled-racing with his other Huskies Euro and Bracken.
Siberian Huskies are specially bred to have the physical and mental strength for running long distances, but Crystal’s new owner feared she may have been too badly hurt to take up racing competitively. “We worried that Crystal’s injuries would stop her, but we built up her strength and stamina with walks and swimming, and slowly introduced her to racing,” he said.
“She now runs a three-dog team, and they have so many rosettes we’ve lost count.”
Mr Edwards added: “Racing has given her a new lease of life, and in turn she has given us one too.
“She is a big part of our family now, and we love her to bits.”
Crystal, who will be three in August, was knocked down last October, and arrived at her new Edinburgh home in March, after operations and treatment for a broken front leg and serious lacerations to both hind legs.
Husky racing is increasingly popular in Scotland. Every year since 1984, mushers from across the UK gather near the Cairngorms for the biggest event in the UK sled-dog racing calendar – Aviemore Sled Dog Rally, run by the Siberian Husky Club of Great Britain.
The race, which is run on forest trails around Loch Morlich, attracts more than 1,000 sled dogs, with teams of between two and eight dogs pulling a sled around a trail up to seven miles long.
Along with Siberian Huskies, race dogs include Alaskan malamutes, samoyeds, Greenland dogs and Canadian Eskimo dogs – the pedigree breeds of dogs first bred to pull sleds in Arctic conditions hundreds of years ago.