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10 April 2023


Never Overlook the Underdog

The Ollie team heads to Park City, Utah, for quality pack time with dogs and people behind Rancho Luna Lobos.

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When our team comes together, it’s a sight to be seen: a motley crew from all across the country united by their shared love of dogs. We meet for the first time in almost a year in what could be described as the middle of nowhere, but for us, it’s the middle of everything — our reason for being together in so many ways. Rancho Luna Lobos itself is nearly indescribable; a rescue, a rehab center, a racing team, and a family like nothing any of us has ever seen before. The temps may be just below zero, but there is a certain warmth to this place that comes from being in the presence of dogs. 

To many, dog-led care sounds utopian, but at Rancho Luna Lobos, it’s very much a reality. What started as a family just rescuing a couple of huskies turned into a sanctuary for over 90 dogs, all with their own unique personalities, challenges, and stories. Walking through the pup-proofed gates of the ranch, we are immediately greeted by at least half a dozen of the Lobos themselves — a rag-tag squad of Northern breeds ranging from huskies to Great Pyrenees mixes to wolf hybrids.

We meet an 180-pound Alaskan Malamute who jumps up and down on his hind legs like a puppy. We meet a teacher’s pet named Lilly, who follows the ranch’s owner, Fernando, wherever he goes. We meet a lean machine named Heather, but while she looks like a determined D1 athlete, turns out, all she’s determined to do is lounge around the ranch looking for pats and kisses. And perhaps most inspirational of all, we meet Humberto, a blind pup who worked his way up to becoming a lead sled dog. Yes, you read that right: a blind dog leads the dogsled team. 

The family took Humberto in, assuming he’d just want to live a nice, relaxing life on the ranch. Humberto had other plans. He whined in excitement and jealousy as he heard the sled dogs racing their laps around him. Fernando decided to hook Humberto up to the sled line to see what happened. He thrived—and worked his way up to the lead position. The blind leading the seeing, because all it took was Humberto’s special heart.

Humberto teaches us so many things. He’s the epitome of never counting someone or something out. For both people and dogs, when you lean into what brings you joy and celebrate what makes you you, the sky is the limit. To know them is to love them.

Oh, and we also meet a St. Bernard named Daisy. And if that’s not the cutest thing you’ve ever heard, we don’t know what is.

Check out this video of our outing:

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