Action Figures: Zoya DeNure
Zoya DeNure, 31
Home base: Paxson, Alaska
Day job: Owner of a dog kennel
Why she's an Action Figure: At 25, DeNure gave up her modeling career, moved to Alaska, and opened Crazy Dog Kennel and Canine Rescue, dogsleddenali.com, a haven for homeless Alaskan sled dogs
Northern exposure: "Just as I was looking for my next adventure, I came across the Iditarod, the annual 1,150-mile dogsled race in Alaska. I'm obsessed with dogs and had always wanted to live that outdoorsy life. So, in 2002, I quit modeling, kissed my boyfriend goodbye, moved to a rural Alaskan town where I didn't know anyone, and got a job caring for dogs at a local kennel. That's when I started adopting abandoned ex-sled dogs one by one. After the 16th dog, I decided to open my own kennel."
Two fur all: "I try to place these dogs in homes with the help of my husband, John [a former competitive musher]. Together, we raise money for the kennel, which houses up to 50 dogs at any given time, and lead adventure tours in the Alaska Range. Also, I'm retraining the most energetic dogs to race on my own sled team. We're competing in our first Iditarod in March."
Cold streak: "Most days, I take my team of 12 dogs out on the sled for a training run through the beautiful backcountry. Once we're back home, it's playtime. They're so amped, they still wanna run! I keep up on my snowmobile."
Dog heaven: "There's no shortage of time or attention for each dog at the kennel, especially for those on my team. After any run, I give them massages, apply foot treatments, and feed them tons of food. I only use positive reinforcement to train them. I never lift a hand against any of my pups."
1. Throw a bone
Help satisfy animals' growling stomachs by pressing the "Click Here to Give" button at theanimalrescuesite.com. With every click, the site's sponsors pay for more than half a meal for an animal living in participating shelters.
2. Raise the Ruff
If you can't resist a four-legged beauty, consider adopting a homeless husky at a rescue center near you. For more info, visit the Siberian Husky Rescue Site at siberianrescue.com.
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