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Miss November 2019 - Sasha
Dog on the run

hough possessing all the strength, skill, and intelligence of an Iditarod sled dog, Sasha, a Siberian Husky, has had to adjust to more thermally temperate pursuits: the soccer pitch and an indoor treadmill.

Jere Licciardello, Sasha’s human and primary trainer, said “Sasha is really an awkward family pet; Huskies are work dogs.” Janet Licciardello, Sasha’s other human and perhaps favorite trainer, spoke up, “and they are nomadic.” Jere added, “and high energy.”

For her intelligence, and her ability to adapt to activities and a home more suited to humans, TownDock.net names Sasha the November Pet of the Month.

Sasha Miss November
Sasha has the trademark Husky Blue eyes, with a bit of segmental heterochromia.

Jere ( pronounced Jerry) and Janet retired to Oriental from Tennessee some years ago. He was an oncologist, she a pharmacist.

“Jerry is from New England,” said Janet, “I am originally from North Carolina, so this is where we sought a retirement home.” Janet is Native American. “I was a Ransom before I married Jerry 31 years ago; Ransom is one of the original names of the Lumbee Indians.” The Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina live mostly in the Robeson County area. She and Jere now live at Windmill Point.

The couple never owned a dog until they acquired Sasha 5 years ago as a puppy. They might not have had Sasha, if they hadn’t met another husky first.

“There was a husky in our Tennessee neighborhood that didn’t seem to have a home,” Jere said. “We started taking care of her and took her to a vet to get her treated for heart worms. When she died, we decided we wanted a dog just like her.”

“My dad had hunting dogs when I was growing up,” Janet said, “but they were not pets. Jerry had had pets, but it was only 5 years ago that we got a pet of our own.”

Sasha Miss November
Jere and Janet Licciardello.

Sasha has her own floor under Jere and Janet’s elevated home. A major feature of that room is Sasha’s NordicTrack treadmill.

Huskies are high energy, work dogs, as the Licciardellos said. That’s where the treadmill comes in. “We have done our best to make her think she is in the Yukon where she can expend her energy even if it on a treadmill,” Jere said. “She runs on the treadmill in the mornings at level 8, or at 8 miles an hour. In the afternoon she runs at 2 miles an hour just before sunset. The morning session will last about 4 minutes but the afternoon session can last up to 45 minutes.”

Sasha gets her exercise.

Janet said that Sasha’s speed is a canter, not a gallop. “If she is unleashed on the treadmill, she just keeps going on her own.” Even if the garage door is open, Jere says she remains running on the treadmill.

Sasha is no slouch, either. “I tried exercising her at level five thinking it would make her tired,” said Jere. “It did not make her tired; it made her strong.”

Sasha Miss November
As the trainer, Jerry calls himself the bad cop. When Sasha is told to sit, she sits.

Sasha is true to her sled dog roots. Says Jere, “I could push her and then tell her she had done enough when she started breathing hard, but she will keep going. She is Iditarod ready.”

Janet said she never gets off the treadmill because she is tired. “She may be Iditarod ready, but we are not.”

While both Jere and Janet take part in Sasha’s training, the Husky does have a favorite. “Because I am her exercise trainer and coach,” said Jere, “I am the bad cop. When she was just a young puppy, Janet would walk her her at night and they bonded in that exercise, so Janet became the good cop.”

Jerry said that on occasion she will grab an opportunity to run run away and explore. “If she runs hard, she will disappear, but when I go look, I can see a little white spot on the horizon.” Janet said, “I usually go out and find her; I open my car door and she jumps in and sits beside me licking my face all the way home.”

Sasha Miss November
Janet is the ‘good cop’ trainer, according to Jere.

Before moving to Windmill Pointe, the couple lived in an apartment on Water Street. Jerry said, “When we lived there, “Sasha liked for us to take her out for long walks, but that became more difficult because of arthritis in my knees.”

To compensate for those missing walks, part of the yard has been fenced off as a soccer field for Sasha. The first of Sasha’s soccer balls had handles on them, for Jere or Janet to throw. Soon, they went missing; Sasha chewed them off.

Jerry has taught Sasha to return the ball with her feet. “I first kicked the ball to her and she went after it. She grabbed it with her teeth and brought it back to me. I told her, ‘no mouth, just feet.’ I kicked it again and she pushed it back to me with her feet. I think she knows more words than we realize.”

Huskies are known to be an intelligent breed; Janet believes Sasha has picked up words by both listening and observing. Jere added, “She likes commands but she also wants me to listen to hers I can find out what she wants to do.”

Sasha Miss NovemberSasha Miss NovemberSasha Miss November
Sasha and Jere at play in the yard.

“She is so high energy,” Jere said, “that just romping around she can destroy things by knocking them over and she enjoys chewing on things.”

But Janet says that even with that high energy, she has quiet times. “Ever since she was a baby, she would lie down for me to rub her and scratch her tummy. When I did that, I would sing Jesus Loves Me to her. Now she has graduated to She’ll be coming ‘round the Mountain. We call that ‘lay down, love’. We can say, ‘Sasha, do you want lay down, love?’ and she will just fall to the ground and wait for me to sing as I rub her or scratch her tummy.”

For her intelligence, her playfulness, and her boundless energy, Sasha is the November Pet of the Month.

Celebrity most resembles: Jillian Michaels, Fitness Trainer.
Sasha Miss November
Likes: People and endless exercise
Dislikes: Other dogs and short walks
Wants: To qualify for the Iditarod
Secret Talent: Large vocabulary
Claim to Fame: Has her own room & treadmill
Rule to Live By: Train hard, play hard

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Know a pet that is a standout? Send in some details and a photo to info@towndock.net. Tell why that pet deserves the coveted TownDock.net Pet of the Month Prize Package --- accolades, a pat on the head (snakes excluded) and a box of Milk Bones ( or snack suitable for the species).

We regret that we cannot offer a college scholarship to Pet Of The Month winners.

Animals caught near the HarborCam attempting to suck up to the judges will be disqualified.