A Tribute to the Heroes of Whistler


“My intention is not to make people sad, but to remember the dogs in their natural state,” says Kristi Robinson. Photo: Gagandeep Ghuman


By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: May 25, 2013

Like everyone else, Kristi Robinson felt a giddy disbelief when she heard about the wanton killings of sled dogs in Whistler.

How could anyone murder such beautiful animals, she wondered, her shock giving way to anger and helplessness felt by many all across the world.

But the pain was sharper for Robinson.

She had been painting dogs for the past few years, spending hours bringing them to life on her blank canvas for pet owners who want their pets immortalised.

But even as Robinson’s hands painted dogs with happy faces, the sled dogs, abandoned by their owner to unspeakable horrors, weighed on her mind.

She wanted to honour their memory.

The result is the Hero Project, a painting that is a tribute to the sled dogs, and a reminder to all of us, a memory that is also perhaps a millstone around our collective necks.

“My intention is not to make people sad, but to remember the dogs in their natural state,” she said.

The painting posits a lone Husky, a symbol of sled dogs, against the natural backdrop of Whistler night

With a glint of innocence (or is it anger?) Hero stares loving, perhaps even defiantly, at a Whistler that failed to protect it.

Hero isn’t a fictious name; the dog belongs to Kristi’s neighbour, Louise Chamberlain, who was more than willing to lend his image for the painting.

Chamberlain says she felt honoured that Hero was chosen for the painting.

“He is a wonderful loving dog and possesses all the qualities that a sled dog has, such as intelligence, independence, and loyalty,” Chamberlain said.

For Chamberlain, Kristi’s painting evokes emotions of deep sadness for the sled dogs but also a feeling of strength, freedom and power.

For Kristi, Hero was a fitting symbol and a name for those sled dogs whose memory she wanted to honour.

“I wanted to capture the grace, the athleticism, and the beauty of these dogs,” Kristi says.

Kristi is now hoping to sell the original painting and donate 100 per cent of the proceeds to animal abuse shelters.

She hopes someone in Whistler, perhaps even RMOW, might be interested in buying the painting and use it as a public art installation.

Kristi says she want more people to see the painting so we can learn from this tragedy and wow to never let this happen again.

 She also hopes she would never have to do such a painting again.




  1. Jean says:

    How twisted is the world becoming to be, where the Hero,s of Whistler are Dogs!!!
    A dog is a wonderful companion and yes there are stories where Dog,s have saved people .. those are the Hero,s and lets consider those people maybe, that had build the Whistler Mtn and opened up the area to tourism and employment .. those are the Hero,s of Whistler not Dogs!!
    Remember Franz , Seppo, Doug,Jim, Sula,Leo,,,….. there are so many that I even have a problem remembering there names, but not there hard work and legacy they have left….. it would be time that somebody would research a bit and start calling those Hero,s….!!

  2. Dave says:

    So Jean, why not write another article about your Heroes?
    The one above was just a pleasant divertive article commemorating the Dogs, pure and simple. There really is no need to be negative and “twisted” about this , is there?
    One thing is for sure: The owners of those dogs were certainly no heroes!

  3. Joanna says:

    I think the painting is beautiful! It captures the emotion of how whistler (and others across the globe) felt when this story was revealed. I think it’s a brilliant way to bring light into this tragic story and hopefully make a positive difference in some way. Charity work can be very inspiring. Thank you, Kristy.