Zev is as adaptable as he is calm.

The 4,876 km that the boxer-husky rode in a car to reach Yellowknife from Waterloo, Ont. didn’t bother him. The -30 C temperatures of a Yellowknife winter are a good time when he runs outside with his owner, Brendan Hancock. And if others don’t share snacks with him, he might be disappointed, but he doesn’t show it.

“He really likes car rides,” said Brendan, who in October of 2020 moved to Yellowknife with his wife Payton, two cats and Zev. His name means “wolf” in Hebrew.

Zev goes for a frosty run by Frame Lake. photo courtesy of Brendan Hancock

“When we adopted him, that was the name that came with him. At first we were thinking of changing it and we looked up the meaning and thought it was cool. Seeing as he was already responding to the name, it didn’t make sense to change it,” Brendan said.

The pair received Zev four years ago from Taffy’s Legacy Canine Rescue in Waterloo when he was about a year old. They were told he was originally from somewhere in northern Ontario.

No matter where he lives, Zev goes through his daily morning routine. He hops off the bed and onto the couch, where he assumes his “belly rub” position.

“He can’t start the day without his morning belly rubs,” Brendan said.

Zev has settled into his new home in the far North, both in the natural environment and socially.

“He’s very calm and gentle and cuddly, but he’s also very active — loves being outdoors. It’s getting harder and harder to get him inside the house. He loves chasing squirrels,” said Brendan.

But his behaviour when he encounters other animals is rarely aggressive. When he sees horses, bison or bears while riding in a vehicle, he doesn’t bark, he just whines.

Yellowknifers have greeted him with open arms.

Brendan recalls taking Zev with him to the house boat cafe Mario’s Marvellous Movie Emporium in the dead of winter. While patrons sipped coffee and ate baked goods, they smothered the pooch with attention and rubbed him behind his ears.

“He doesn’t come across as aggressive or jumpy. He has a face that people want to pet,” Brendan said. “His eyes and ears tell a story. Where his ears are positioned, whether they’re down or perked up, can tell you what he’s interested in. And he’s very curious about what people are snacking on and hopes he can have a piece of it.”

Zev’s favourite snacks are cheese, pepperoni and scrambled eggs.

His popularity even extends into the online world of Instagram.

“We talked about it a year or two ago. We saw other people doing it, and a lot of people said he’s so handsome and good. People can follow his outdoor camping adventures and stuff.”

Since they set up camper_zev on Aug. 8, the Instagram account and its 11 photos have drawn 46 followers.

“He wins the hearts of everyone he meets, even people who don’t love dogs.”

Blair McBride

Blair McBride covers the Legislative Assembly, business and education. Before coming to Yellowknife he worked as a journalist in British Columbia, Thailand and Ontario. He studied journalism at Western...

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