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Snow lovers.

Byline: Ann Piccininni Daily Herald correspondent

Snow and ambivalence go hand in hand in the suburbs, where the beauty of white-tipped tree branches vie for attention alongside slush piles and salt trucks.

When it comes to Siberian huskies, a dog breed that revels in pulling dogsleds through cold, frozen landscapes, the presence of snow means the difference between an authentic Arctic-style transit and a modified ride complete with wheels.

A pack of huskies will show off their skills -- almost certainly in snow -- this Saturday and Sunday at the Morton Arboretum when the Lisle museum presents its 17th annual Husky Heroes event.

Even the most committed snow-hater would have to concede that some white stuff adds to the event's appeal, an ideal shared by event organizers.

Having snow on the ground this year is perfect, said Noel Dagley, treasurer of Adopt A Husky, a nonprofit husky rescue organization that she runs with her husband, Mike. "It'll be the first for a while. We haven't had snow for several years."

The Dagleys will be joined by several husky foster and adoptive parents and their dogs for dogsled demonstrations.

"I've been here for a little over five years and I don't think we've had snow during this weekend in any of those years," said Gina Steele, the arboretum's special events coordinator.

Dagley said several dogs available for adoption will be at the event, where they can meet visitors, including potential adopters, and pose for photographs.

"We do get a lot of adoptions through Morton," she said. "We can get anywhere from five to 10 adoptions. It's one of our better events for adoptions."

Dagley said merchandise sales at the event help Adopt A Husky fund care for the dogs until they are ready to go to their new homes.

"We'll have some merchandise people can buy. It goes toward our medical bills. We've had several dogs this year that we've had to do surgery on for a variety of reasons," she said.

She said she and her husband became enamored with huskies decades ago.

"We got into huskies 21 years ago. We picked the breed because we liked it. We got our first, we got our second and then we were just kind of hooked," she said. "They're good with families. They're great pack animals. Their family is kind of their pack. They do like kids. They love people, they just like being around them."

She said the breed is not for everyone because huskies are high-energy animals that need exercise, space and a "job" to do.

"They're not a dog you're going to bring home and they're going to sit on the couch and that's that," she said. "I love how they're very intelligent and, along with that, they're also independent, so it's challenging to train them and get them doing what you want them to do. They kind of keep you on your toes all the time."

Steele said husky demonstrations will begin about 11:30 a.m. outdoors near the visitor center, with additional demonstrations scheduled for about 12:45, 2 and 3:15 p.m. Information about the breed will be available in the visitor center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In between demonstrations, visitors are welcome to take in the Morton Arboretum Photographic Society's wildlife show on display inside the Sterling Morton Library from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The arboretum's "Enchanted Railroad" model railroad will be on display inside the visitor center and snow shoes and cross-country skis will be available for rental, weather permitting.

"We also encourage visitors to continue the adventure by taking part in our troll hunt exhibit while on-site," said Steele, referring to an outdoor exhibit of wooden hand-carved trolls hidden in the forest.

Steele said between 7,000 and 12,000 people usually visit the arboretum during Husky Heroes weekend.

"People just get that cabin fever and they just want to get outdoors," she said. "Our visitors come bundled up expecting to spend a lot of time outdoors to watch the demonstrations and meet the dogs. Where else can they experience the excitement of the huskies as they gear up to pull the sleds?"
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Title Annotation:Neighbor
Author:Piccininni, By Ann
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Jan 25, 2019
Words:697
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