Ansel, Our Photoshoot Dog

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.


Just in case you\’re not on our subscriber list, we thought we should bring you all up to speed on our latest photoshoot, appearing in the Jan/Feb issue of Western Horse Review. Through this publication, I truly believe we are changing the world in a perhaps small, but significant manner. Even via western fashion photoshoots.

One of the ways we are doing that this issue, is by bringing your attention to the Heaven Can Wait Animal Rescue Foundation out of High River, AB. WHR readers have probably noticed, fashion photoshoots have become an important part of our editorial over the last few years. This issue was no exception. The only difference this time was that we included “Ansel,” the Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute-mix, seen in the spread you can find starting on page 46. (Trust me, you\’re gonna want to renew your subscription if you haven\’t already:

A sneak peek of the Jan/Feb 2020 Photoshoot, featuing \”Ansel\” and \”Pickles\” the pony. Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

With a western winter and skijor theme, Ansel fit right in. He even made friends with “Pickles,” the pony belonging to my kids who casually walked inside the mansion we used for our shoot location, like she had done it a million times before. (Gotta love good-minded animals!)

Now here\’s the real story. Ansel is the survivor of an atrocious hoarding situation that occurred in Milk River, AB, five years ago. He was one of 201 dogs seized by the Alberta SPCA from a property occupied by April Dawn Irving, 59. Animals found there were malnourished and dehydrated, with parasites and filthy, matted fur. Some had broken bones and gaping wounds. Five dead dogs were also found on the property.

Heaven Can Wait provided emergency care for Ansel and three other huskies, as well as three Komondors and an Irish Wolfhound. All eight were brought to health – treated for parasites, vaccinated, spayed and neutered, groomed, and fed with supplements for weight gain and coat health. After being worked with and having their personalities assessed, they were adopted into loving homes.

Ansel is now thriving and was a pleasant addition to our photoshoot. Aged six, he lives with a Calgary, AB couple and a Siberian husky companion. He is affectionate and healthy, and loves his home comforts and outdoor adventures.

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

Heaven Can Wait is a no-kill shelter and serves a wide area of rural communities in southern Alberta including farms, ranches and acreages. It has approximately 40 dogs and 150 cats in its care. Many are available for adoption, although some are considered sanctuary animals due to health or behavioural issues. The rescue has an ongoing need for donations – its biggest expense is veterinary care. For information on how to help and details of adoptable animals, visit or follow their Facebook page.

We learned in December 2019 that sentencing in the Milk River case was delivered at Lethbridge Provincial Court. Irving was banned for life from owning animals in Alberta after pleading guilty to four counts of causing an animal to be in distress. Although issued $15,000 in fines, she did not have to pay due to time served in custody.


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