Superpower Dogs: Henry

Avalanche Rescue Dog


By Cosmic

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$8.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around June 4, 2019. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Join Henry, one of the stars of the IMAX film Superpower Dogs, as he emBARKS on a journey to become an avalanche rescue dog in this gripping true story, perfect for fans of Max!

In Whistler, British Columbia, dogs can be found riding chairlifts, perched on skiers’ shoulders, and even descending from helicopters–all in the race against time to save people caught in the path of an avalanche. Meet Henry, a lovable border collie, and the team of dogs and human partners he works with in the beautiful and sometimes dangerous mountains.

Through the action-packed narrative, informative and engaging interstitials, and eight pages of stunning full-color photographs, young readers will experience real-life rescues and gain a new appreciation for the bond between dogs and humans.




The border collie sat high atop the snow-covered hill, his wide triangular ears pricked forward and honey-gold eyes trained on a tiny figure dressed in red far below. When the person moved, the dog stood in anticipation. Watching, waiting. Listening. Then—

“This way!”

The command, distant but clear, sent a jolt of electricity through the dog’s sleek body. He burst into a full-on sprint.

One-two. Three-four. One-two. Three-four.

His big paws touched down in a steady four-count rhythm. His muscular legs stretched out and pulled back, the long strides propelling him forward over the crusty snowpack. His furry reddish-brown head bobbed in time with his footfalls. His curved white-tipped tail waved like a banner behind him.

One-two. Three-four. One-two. Three-four.

As he ran, he left a single skinny track in the fresh snow, like a pencil slowly tracing a line on a clean, white sheet of paper. Short at first but longer by the second.

One-two. Three-four. One-two. Three-four.

Rocks and boulders peeked out of the snow. The dog veered around one, dodged past another, and sailed over a third with a mighty bound, weaving around the obstacles but never straying off course.

One-two. Three-four. One-two. Three-four.

His shadow kept pace with him as he raced down the slope toward the figure in red. Mouth open, he tasted the crisp mountain air on his tongue and smelled the scent of snow, ice, evergreen, and rock with every breath.

Panting hard now. Tiring.

One… two. Three… four. One… two. Three… four.

Slowing. But not stopping.

One. Two. Three. Four. One. Two. Three. Four.

Every step bringing him closer and closer and closer until—

“Good dog!” The figure in red, a compactly built man with a salt-and-pepper beard and a mile-wide grin of delight, crouched as the dog reached him. He swept his pup into a bear hug and ruffled his silky ears with a gloved hand, then looked to the far-off hilltop where the border collie had begun his run. “Now, that’s what I call a long-distance recall!” He chuckled. “You know how many dogs would stay on task from way up there to way down here? Not many. They’d get distracted and wander off.” He stroked the white fur on his dog’s neck. “But not you, huh, boy?”

Still panting, the dog gazed at him with adoring eyes. The man gazed back and smiled. “You’re such a good dog, Henry,” he murmured. “Is there anything you can’t do?”



Henry tilted his head back, pink nostrils twitching. Newly fallen snow coated the ski trail in front of him. More snow was on the way, his nose told him. His whole body detected it, in fact, for exposed to the elements as it was, it registered even the subtlest changes in the weather.


Henry snapped to attention at the sound of his human’s voice. Ian Bunbury, professional ski patroller and a handler and trainer with the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association (CARDA), stood farther down the trail. His goggles rested on his forehead, his ski helmet snug over his graying hair, and his bright red ski patrol jacket brilliant against the white snow. Henry locked eyes with him. Then Ian lowered his goggles and pushed off on his skis.

“This way!”

Like an arrow released from a bow, Henry streaked after him. Without slowing or stopping, Ian widened his stance. Henry darted between his legs, his floppy red-brown ears streaming behind him and his paws churning up the new snow as they dug down to the groomed trail beneath. His lungs filled with fresh mountain air and his ears with the gentle whisper from Ian’s skis moving through the snow. As they headed down the slope, he felt Ian’s fingers brush the back handle of his red-and-black K9 Storm vest, but he didn’t break stride. They moved as a single graceful unit—Henry beneath and between Ian’s legs—curving in wide arcs down the mountainside.

Midway down the trail, Ian cruised to a stop, then skied off to inspect a large fir tree. The evergreen’s branches were weighed down by the previous night’s snowfall. They drooped to the ground and formed a tent that hid the area surrounding the tree’s trunk. More snow ringed the outside of the tent in mounds.

“That looks like a tree well,” Ian muttered as he withdrew his collapsible avalanche probe from his daypack. To Henry, he said, “Down.”

Henry plopped onto his belly as Ian snapped the probe into a single three-meter (ten-foot) pole. Jabbing the probe into the snow, Ian edged cautiously toward the tree. At first, the probe hit layers of old, packed snow lying just beneath the new layer of white. But when Ian pushed aside some branches and stabbed again, the probe buried itself halfway up to his hand.

Ian quickly backed away. The branches swung back into place, shedding snow in clumps. He pulled out his handheld radio. “Dispatch, I’m here on Bears’ Den, and I’m noticing the tree wells are starting to get pretty significant,” he said when the radio crackled to life. “If someone falls headfirst into one, it could be bad. Henry and I are going to check the rest of the trail, then come in.”

Ian holstered his radio, returned to the trail, and bent down. “Up!”

With one smooth motion, Henry leaped onto Ian’s back and settled like a scarf around his shoulders. Ian hooked a finger under the collar of Henry’s vest. “Ready?”


From his perch, Henry scented the air as they swooshed down the slope. The smell of humans, exhaust fumes from snowmobiles, whiffs of food—his super sensitive nostril receptors, three hundred million of them (fifty times more than humans have), detected them all. He switched from riding to running, sometimes between Ian’s legs and other times far to his side, away from the sharp edges of his skis, always dropping into a downstay when Ian stopped to deal with minor problems. A frayed section of rope in the rope-and-bamboo boundary fence. A trail sign turned invisible by a thick, icy crust. A plastic water bottle, its contents frozen solid, dropped or left behind by a careless skier. Another tree well.

At the slope’s end, Henry hopped up next to Ian on the chairlift. The padded seat was cozy, and Ian’s hand on his neck was warm and soothing. The lift ferried them high above the skiers to the Whistler Mountain alpine area, where they made their way to a large gray building with a bright red PATROL sign above the main entrance. Inside, Henry padded after Ian through the main room into the rescue room. Two kennels sat amid carefully stored emergency gear. Still wearing his K9 Storm vest, Henry went straight into his crate, turned in a circle, and laid his head on his paws. Familiar sounds washed over him—the murmur of human activity mingled with the hum of machines—and he let out a contented huff.

Then the sounds changed. Henry perked up, ears forward, listening.

Ian’s and others’ voices rose with sudden urgency. Boots hammered back and forth across the concrete floor. Then one set of footsteps thudded in his direction.


It’s early winter and the first snowfall of the season drifts down from the sky onto a mountain. The ground is frozen, so the flakes stick and coat the slope with a thin mantle of white. In the days that follow, other storms lay down more snow of different consistencies—an inch or two of light powder; a crust of sleet; a drizzle of freezing rain; and a heavy, wet snow that weighs down the others. A night of bitter cold freezes the top layers solid. Then—wham! An all-day blizzard dumps more than three feet of fluffy powder on top of everything.

That thick new blanket of snow is beautiful. But the snowpack below it is changing. A warming thaw follows a sudden drop in temperature, creating an unstable layer hidden deep beneath the powder. The top blanket clings to the snowpack… until suddenly, and without warning, the snowpack separates from the layers below and releases.

Like a kid shooting down a playground slide, the enormous slab hurtles downhill. In just seconds, its speed jumps from zero to forty, then to sixty, then to eighty or more miles per hour. The slab shatters like a pane of glass as it thunders down the slope, the pieces ripping up debris—rocks and tree limbs and frozen dirt and jagged ice—from the surface. The pounding wave of snow races onward until finally, the avalanche slows, then stops. A silence descends on the mountainside. A cloud of powder drifts away, revealing a widespread pile of debris-filled, concrete-hard chunks of snow.

These types of avalanches are known as slabs. Their size, speed, and suddenness have earned them nicknames such as White Death and the Snowy Torrent. The most catastrophic slab avalanches can bury a mile-wide expanse beneath more than one hundred thousand tons of snow. But other avalanche types are devastating, too. Loose snow avalanches, or sluffs, can be just as big and powerful as slabs. As they spread out in a widening fan shape from their starting point, sluffs can easily drag a skier through trees, over cliffs, or into other deadly terrain. Frozen waterfalls, known as icefalls, and snow cornices created by the winter winds can break free and trigger avalanches on the slopes below. And don’t be fooled by the wet, relatively slow-moving glide avalanches. If the heavy slush of these slides swamps your skis, you’ll be stuck just as if you’d stepped into wet cement.


On Sale
Jun 4, 2019
Page Count
144 pages


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