I am a huge dog lover. As an adult, I have always had a dog share my home with me. And I have a special place in my heart for Great Danes. I understand Great Danes, and they understand me. But when my last Great Dane, Newman succumbed to a soft-tissue sarcoma, I was completely devastated. So, my husband, being the kind soul that he is, said we needed two dogs, a Great Dane and a Golden Retriever (Golden’s are his favorite breed). We have had Mikey (the Great Dane) and Maxie (the Golden Retriever) for about 7 years now.
In January, a mother of one of my patients called me. She was wondering if I would like a Husky puppy (she knew I was a dog lover), as they breed Huskies. I spoke with my husband, who was hesitant, and my boys – who were completely enthusiastic, and we said Yes, we would love a Husky puppy.
I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. I read somewhere that the number of Husky rescues has increased dramatically since The Game of Thrones came out, I guess everyone is hoping to own a Dyer Wolf. But reality strikes several months into the raising of the Husky puppy, and people realize they have bitten off more than they can chew. Huskies are not easy to raise. Here are some reasons why.
They are destructive – Huskies love to chew, anything and everything. We have a lot of antique furniture at our house, nothing fancy, but it is old (I refer to our furniture as distressed), and we have owned it for a long time. Now most of our pieces have chew marks on the legs, the drawers and most of the corners. I came up with a concoction of Vaseline, mixed with Cayenne pepper, and spread it on the chewed parts. This seems to deter Gingy (that’s our Husky’s name) from chewing more. I think the thing that annoyed my husband the most, was when Gingy chewed the corner of the Ethan Allen bookcase, which is my husband’s favorite piece of furniture. I have it blocked off now, until I can find a furniture company repair place, to come in and fix it. Side note – I was horrified to find it appears to made with particle board, and not solid wood.
The hair is everywhere – Oh my gosh, I have to vacuum frequently, to keep the little piles of Husky hair that collect along the baseboards under control. It gets everywhere. We found a brush, the Furminator, which really does a great job of keeping the shedding under control. But if you cannot tolerate dog hair – do not get a Husky!
They will escape – I had read Huskies were great escape artists, but I had no idea how clever they really are. Gingy (with the help of Bailey – our rescue Great Dane) – ate a hole through one of the side fences, and went on many little walkies by themselves. We had to wait about 6 weeks to get a fence guy to come out and rebuild our fence. We spent many afternoons, while waiting for the fence to be fixed, reinforcing that side, with pots and trellises and huge bags of potting soil, just to keep Gingy (and Bailey) in. Thankfully, they are both chipped, and the people in the areas surrounding our neighborhood are kind, and nothing untoward happened to either of the puppies. Now that the fence is fixed, Gingy is looking for weak spots elsewhere. I always wondered why the people in up in Alaska keep their Huskies chained, next to their dog houses – and now I understand (although I still think it is kind of mean).
They do not appreciate flowers, or plants or gardens – my garden is destroyed. I have caught Gingy, proudly carrying an entire rose bush in his mouth, preparing to sit down on the patio and have a good chew. My garden is a total disaster. He loves to dig. I have huge holes in my flower beds. I fill them in, he keeps digging. It is so frustrating, because I love having a pretty garden.
They are very vocal – Unlike our Great Dane, who only says something when he is hungry, or if someone is at the door, or if he needs a lie down on one of the beds in the house, Gingy has something to say about EVERYTHING! When I come home from work, I can hear him from cul-de-sac, whining and barking at the front door. One cannot enter our house, or even approach our house, without Gingy having something to say about it. I suppose that is a good thing. We have a Ring camera on our garage, that triggers an alarm on the cellphones, and as soon as he hears the alarm, he is at the front door, and the cacophonic barking begins. It’s a good thing we don’t live in an apartment, and our neighbors are not too close to us, because they would truly hate all the ruckus which emanates from our house.
They are instigators – Huskies are very sneaky, and very clever. The other three dogs can be resting quietly, and he will bound in, pounce on them, and begin wrestling matches for no reason. He spent the first 6 months of his life here at our house, pretty much attached to one of poor Maxie’s ears, nipping and biting at Maxie’s face, making little Gremlin growling noises. Up and down the hall, growling, nipping – I don’t know how Maxie put up with it. I remembered, while looking through the photos this morning, we used to call him Lt. PAP (short for Little Tiny Punk Ass Puppy) – because he annoyed Maxie so much, which in turn, annoyed us.
They are incredibly active – One of the things Great Danes and I agree on, is not wasting energy. Huskies, on the other hand, are always on the go. The only way to tire a Husky out is to take him for a walk (which is really like a full-on run – and he better be in front of the pack, or all hell is going to break loose). Only after a good walk, or swim, will he rest. This summer I did laps in the pool, and he was right at my side, swimming back and forth.
Oh – and Huskies love water, any kind of water. So – if you tend to be on the less active side, and have carpet or flooring (or furniture, blankets, socks, water bottle caps) you care about, I wouldn’t own a Husky.
But – here is the plus side of owning a Husky. They are incredibly smart – this could be a good thing, or it could be a bad thing, if the owner is of average intelligence. Because a Husky will outthink his owner every single time (Gingy has fooled us many times, he is much smarter than all of us). Huskies are very independent – they enjoy being hugged and talked to, but when they have something else on their mind, that becomes priority, and their humans will just have to wait for hugs. Huskies are easily trained – especially when snackies are involved. And most of all Huskies are so darn cute, despite all of their little idiosyncrasies, one cannot stay angry at them for very long.
Bottom line is – really, really think about what you are getting yourself into, when considering sharing a home with a Husky, because you will be in for a very interesting and trying journey. I must say, now that Gingy is almost 11 months old, he is beginning to mellow out (not Great Dane mellow – but a tolerable Husky kind of mellow).
In March, we were called by one of our friends, who runs a shelter – a Great Dane puppy had been brought in. The puppy was found trapped in a cardboard box, the lid was taped down. Someone had thrown a handful of pinto beans in the box, and left the box in an empty field. Luckily someone came across the box, and rescued the puppy. Our friend knew we loved Great Danes, and that is how Baily came to our house, and why we have four dogs now. We have an armada of cute ass puppies. When I walk down the hall, with all the dogs in tow, I feel like I am in a puppy parade. But really, as crazy as it is to have four big dogs living under one roof, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am not so sure my husband would agree with that last statement, but he seems to be adjusting.