Our rescue received information that a malamute was seen at the local Humane Society. I drove out the next day to evaluate the situation - Baby and her Samoyed companion puppy were turned in at the shelter because the owner was moving. Baby was listed as a "Husky" but the lady in charge swore that she was indeed a Malamute. "The one with the blue eyes?" asked one volunteer, "No, the fat one.." said the other. Aww, geeze? I had no idea what to expect! At six years old and in the shelter for almost a month, Baby was certainly close to the end of her life when I first met her.
Baby turned out to be a gorgeous malamute, if a bit overweight! Off she went to my vet's clinic for an exam and kenneling. We put her on a diet and treated her for a urinary infection. Very loving and attentive, she woo-wooed while dancing in circles shaking her head from side to side. She became one of the "characters" of the kennel and several of us spent many after hours with her in the clinic dog yard or around the neighborhood!
I also introduced her to my young male, Neko. Potentially a touchy situation as Neko can be dominant with other northern breeds, even though he is generally good with other dogs. But after a few days of fenced meetings and blatantly ignoring each other except to see who could "mark" the fence better... then we caught them secretly playing when left alone together. Oh, the expressions on their faces! After that they readily played in "public".
Baby had to spend a second week at the clinic, as no foster home or rescue space was available yet. So I decided to take both dogs out to Bellville for a visit. Baby was afraid of the rear height of my SUV, so I put her in the back seat and crated my dog in the rear. Oops! Mistake #1.. apparently pack order begins at the front of the truck! Mistake #2.. a quick side trip home and hubby came out greeting Baby first and making a HUGE fuss over her. Neko was so insulted he actually refused cookies & attention! Mistake #3.. when we arrived, Baby was let out first and we fussed over her so much that Neko was left ignored in the truck for several minutes! Needless to say, Baby had a great time with her day out and new friends. Neko sulked and had his "nose out of joint" a few days from all the insults!
The second weekend we tried another visit to Bellville. As Baby hopped in the truck, Neko jumped over the top of her to "claim" his favorite window seat. Both seemed satisfied with the arraignment, so after a "test" drive around the block, we headed down the road. All went well, and both dogs were tired but happy on the return trip. Since it was late, I brought Baby home to spend the night. Well, she ended up spending most of the week.
Baby turned out to be an easy keeper. She was easy to control, left the cats (relatively) alone, and integrated well into the house. She did not want to be crated and complained much the first night. Soon she readily went into the crate without complaint at night and while I was at work. After a few days both dogs were eating their meals within several feet of each other without problems, although I must confess that I usually stood between them just in case. She is a quick learner who is eager to please and would make a good obedience or therapy dog.
None of this is to say that Baby is the perfect lady as she definitely provided entertainment - Malamute style. She stole cat food plates and tried to hide them in the crate with a "Who? Me?" attitude, a plate still hanging from her mouth. She "fence fought" with the neighbor's Cocker... but at least now he no longer barks at us through the fence! She found an old bone to chew on which led to both mals taking turns trying to out smart the other into leaving the bone... and more than one "race for the bone" when the deception was realized! She counter surfed, and although never took anything, the nose was always searching. She's also an excellent table beggar... not the ordinary sit next to you & "in your face" type. Her technique is the mournful peeping from across the table, gentle paw laid on your knee, or if all else fails the roll on your back and woo...
It was a very hard thing for me to take Baby to rescue for the last time. And it was a very long and lonely drive back with nothing but my own thoughts to keep me company. The house was strangely quiet except for my own dog's restlessness. I still miss her dancing woos as she would greet me, her quiet breathing as she slept at my feet, her inventive "mooching" techniques, or the sly gentle creep onto the sofa to be next to me.
Baby was adopted out several weeks later. She had not really warmed to any of the other adopters that had visited her, but this lady was different and Baby took an instant liking to her! Apparently the Carol was just as charmed by her as I had been and gave Baby a new home of her own. I forever wish them well together.
Baby is now called Nikita. Her life is going quite well as both she and her new owner are very happy together. They frequently hike in the woods and recently traveled together visiting relatives during the holiday season. As an interesting note, Niki prefers drinking her "hiking water" from a bottle... something we taught her to do at the clinic!
You can visit Niki at her own webpage to see how she's been doing lately. She is also a "postermal" for the Ohio rescue & can be seen on their front page! Way to go, Baby! (Erh, I mean Nikita...)
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