Superpower Dogs reveal working dog diets at film premiere

Avalanche-hero, movie-star dog eats gradually on the job

Henry’s heroics appeared in the IMAX film “Superpower Dogs.”

Occasional bites of nutritious food keep Henry the Border Collie fueled while he rescues people trapped in avalanches’ aftermaths.

Henry’s heroics appeared in the IMAX film “Superpower Dogs.”  The Border Collie may have been both a movie star and life-saving mountaineer, but he wasn’t above crawling beneath a few movie theater seats searching for a stray popcorn kernel at the film’s March 9 premiere in Los Angeles. His handler and trainer Ian Bunbury called Henry back as soon as he noticed the Border Collie stalking away under the seats.

Henry’s dietary adaptability was one reason Bunbury chose to train him for the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association. As an unfussy and adaptable Border Collie, Henry thrives on whatever nutritionally balanced, quality dog food that has been donated, Bunbury said chuckling.

“They are so maintenance-free,” he told Petfood Industry. “Put gas in the tank and away you go.”

On an average day, Henry gets two cups of dog food, along with kibble used as treats to reward good behavior. While they are on the job, those food-as-treat snacks become Henry’s main food source. While Henry scours mountainsides, Bunbury supplies him with a steady stream of fuel, but at other times, he may put on the brakes.

“I fast him regularly,” he said.

For example, Henry did not have breakfast the morning of the premiere.

“I knew that he was going to be in this environment,” Bunbury said. “So, I don’t want him sitting around with a big gut full of food.” 

Bunbury has trained three Border Collies in avalanche rescue. Along with dietary resilience, he believes the breed’s herding instincts, intelligence and work ethic make them an ideal breed for helping save people trapped in tons of snow and debris after an avalanche.

When he isn’t putting brandy-toting Saint Bernards to shame saving skiers on the slopes, Henry hones his herding skills in his hometown of Whistler, B.C., moving Canada geese and black bears out of conflict with humans.

Dog diet routines of Superpower Dogs film stars

The stars of the IMAX film “Superpower Dogs” walked the red carpet at the premiere of the 3-D movie in Los Angeles on March 9. From alpine rescuer Henry the Border Collie to therapist surfer Ricochet the Golden Retriever, the dogs lived heroic lives. The movie told their stories, while following the training of one Dutch Shepherd, Halo, from birth to certification as a disaster rescue dog.

To fuel their active lifestyles, the dogs ate a variety of diets, according to the people who accompanied them to the premiere.