As the Alaskan Malamute rescue contact in Houston Texas, I have found that most people know very little about Malamutes and often confuse them with their smaller arctic cousin, the Siberian Husky. Such is the case with Charlie and how he found his way into breed rescue.
Late one Saturday evening, I received a phone call from Susan in Atascasita Texas. She was feeding a stray dog that had wandered into her yard the week before she called. Susan also discovered this same dog was a stray in an adjoining neighborhood during the prior three weeks. She tried repeatedly to find the dog's owner and now needed someone to help find him a new home. Susan named him Charlie and swore he was indeed an Alaskan Malamute.
The neighborhood children played with Charlie often and he enjoyed their attention. He was quite friendly and tried several times to go in Susan's house. But when Susan put him in her backyard.. he escaped through a hole in her old fence. When she tried to put him in her garage, he ran off before she could shut the door and refused to come back. So Charlie was living in her front yard and had dug himself a nice bed under one of her bushes.
Charlie was described as being filthy, flea infested, and so malnourished that he had little energy. He ate very little of the food she gave him and lay under the bush most of the day. Susan feared he was dying. I also feared the worst, since we knew Charlie had been a "street" dog for at least a month!
We made plans for my visit to see Charlie the next morning, but when I called to confirm the visit.. he was gone! That evening Charlie was back, but it was much too late at night for me to get him. He was gone again the next morning and did not return that day or the next. A child from the neighborhood brought Charlie back, but he was gone again just as quickly. We were both afraid that Charlie had simply moved on before I could help him. With no set pattern to his returns or disappearances, I could only tell Susan to call me the next time Charlie returned.
It was several more days before Susan called again to say Charlie was back! (Actually, he had quickly come & gone a few more times?) I told her to secure him any way she could, and I would come straight from work. We had played "tag" with Charlie for over a week now, so I was very determined to save him whether he was "my" breed or not. I made the hour long drive to Atascasita in record time, found the neighborhood, and as I pulled up to Susan's house.. there was Charlie!
He was not the Malamute I was expecting, but a Siberian Husky. He was not filthy and flea riddled, just a little dirty and remarkably clean for his known time as a stray. Nor was he dying of starvation, but he was certainly a little thin. I also found that he had a wonderful personality and gentle friendly attitude.
So I put Charlie into my dog crate and off we went! He spent the night at the vet clinic and had a full workup the next morning. Other than a few intestinal parasites and several pounds underweight, Charlie was a very healthy young boy! We gave him a bath, his vaccinations, heartworm prevention, and then neutered him the next day.
I let Charlie run loose with me at the clinic after hours and he was the perfect gentleman. He stayed off the counters and out of the opened dog food bags. He was also good in the dog yard and happily kept me company outside. He never created any trouble with our visiting dogs in the kennel and ignored anyone that was noisy to him. He once investigated a large cat staying with us, but after a growling hiss and a deftly swatted nose.. Charlie comically kept well away from the cat and it's cage!
Then I contacted Pat with Husky Haven rescue and graciously agreed to take Charlie into Siberian rescue. Charlie was then microchipped and made ready for his trip to Pat's house. We had thrown away Charlie's rusted chain collar and he now needed something new to wear. Luckily, I found a bright colorful collar to match his personality.
As I went through the box of leftover toys and spare collars, Charlie saw a stuffed squeak toy I had removed from the box. He very gently and deliberately took the toy from the counter and made off with it! If I took it from him, he would retrieve it. When he had it again, he would try to hide it from me... in a closet, under a desk. I felt that if he wanted this lost toy so badly, it was his. So Charlie went to Siberian rescue with something to finally call his very own.. his beloved "Binky Monkey"!
Charlie is a sweet and gentle boy. He is well behaved and good on a leash. He is sometimes picky with food, but never turns down a good treat and gently takes them from your hand. And although he is an escape artist, he will gladly stay home with a companion and playmate. Charlie is quite charming and possesses a wonderful personality. He is a dog that definitely deserves a new life and a good home of his own. I am very glad I met Charlie and was a part of his rescue!
6/99 Update! Charlie has a new home and is living it up as the resident "beach bum" of Galveston. He is doing very well, loved by both his new owners and all the neighborhood children. Charlie thinks he is in heaven! He will also become a world traveller when his new family moves back to England... and takes him with them! Woohoo!
2/00 Update! Charlie went to England with his new family. After spending the required 6 months in quarantine, Charlie was released to his family on Valentine's Day 2000! And yes.. he still has Binky.
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