A dog is not a status symbol, toy or whim...a dog is forever ... no dog should ever go unloved, unfortunately it's only a wish...the sad reality is too many Malamutes are bought for the wrong reasons, by unprepared owners. Think long and hard before you bring that puppy (of any breed) home. They have feelings too - sadly, sometimes more than their owners.

A Malamute Story...

I wish I could've stayed small and cute forever ... but I grew up. They say Malamute puppies are the cutest and I'M a Malamute. I am so proud, mom says I'm the King of Dogs!!! My people did everything right too. They went to a well-known breeder, looked at my 5 brothers and sisters, but took ME home. They live in a beautiful house and like to show me off to their friends. I've even learned a trick! I get fancy treats and have lots of toys. Only thing is they yell at me because I get muddy feet on the carpet and sometimes have accidents when they forget to let me out. But at least they brush my fur so I look pretty and I get to sleep on my kid's bed.

I wish they'd tell me what the rules are. I mostly have to guess. Someone said I'm a "status symbol" whatever that is. They wanted a King of Dogs because I'm "pretty"- well, I know that!! My dog friend down the street goes to school! I wish I could go, but only my kids get to go. Sometimes they take me for walks - and I pull hard just like I my ancestors were bred to do. I don't know why we don't go for walks anymore, I am so good at pulling I know they are proud of me! Yesterday I was gardening and digging a big hole, just like they do, but they got mad at me. Then I ate a sandwich off the counter - I was hungary and thought they made it for me - but I guess not. Then they were really mad when I chewed up something that must've been important and had to go to the vet because it got stuck in my stomach. Then the baby poked my eye HARD and I told her "stop that".

After that, they made me live outside. I still get to come in to watch TV with the kids somebut they forget to brush me and say I stink. Nobody wants to hug and pet me like they used to. I miss that. My kennel is ok. I have a nice dog house and all, and have made friends with a dumb squirrel, but it sure is lonely out here and it's not like sleeping on a bed. But hey, I'm a Malamute and we Malamutes are strong and hardy. I don't NEED to sleep on a bed (but it sure was nice). Sometimes when the kids forget, nobody picks up the poop and I have to smell it all day. The flies bite my ears and that hurts! They don't teach me anything anymore and I am so happy when someone will throw my ball. I overheard mom on the phone yesterday talking to someone about "finding a home for a dog". I wonder if they are getting me a friend so I won't be so lonely? But I heard her say there are no homes. She seems so sad.

Sometimes I sing to keep myself company, I know lots of songs - but they don't like that either. What's a nuisance? If I didn't sing I think mostly they'd forget I'm out here. Yeah, they feed me but nobody brushes me anymore. I'm a Malamute and they say I'm too big to be in the house, and besides they say I'd rather be outside. If they only knew! I don't have as many toys as I used to, so I play with whatever blows into my pen. My fur used to look pretty but now it's dirty and clumps are coming out all over because I'm shedding. I can't help it. I want to look nice, but need help and everyone is too busy. And the only car ride I get any more is to the vet once a year. I never have any dog friends or kids to play with. My ears hurt in the summer from the flies, and I used to like winter, but now it's just a lonely time because the kids come out to play with me even less. They say it's ok for me to be outside because I have lots of fur, but it sure looks fun in there - people laughing and talking. Wish I could hear what they are saying. Wish they would talk to me. Sometimes they even forget to bring my dinner until really late - Soccer practice or something! But I'm ok, I'm the "King of Dogs".

Today they are taking me for a car ride! Hurray! I don't care if it's to the vet - it's exciting. Hey wait, you forgot me here. The floor is cold and I don't like all these other dogs. They aren't Kings like I am! I'll just ignore them, or maybe growl a little.... I wonder when my people will come for me. It's lonely here, and scary. I want to go home. I heard a person here say my family thinks I'll get a new home and he laughed. But I don't WANT a new home. I love them. Why won't they come for me? Why aren't they holding me on this cold table? I want to feel THEIR hug, not a stranger, but I'm so sleepy...maybe when I wake up they'll be here for me. Can't I at least go to my breeders' house? I sort of remember it, I was very little, but they loved me once. Maybe they still do...can we ask?...maybe I can be clean and loved and play with kids again.........

This story is based on many real life rescues. The dog that inspired it was saved from the pound within minutes of being euthanized by some real angels. If you have a big heart, patience and some Malamute experience - please consider a rescue dog. The shelters are full of Malamutes who rarely get adopted. There were 771 give ups in just Michigan in 1997-98 (the last year we "officially" did Rescue). Very few were placed... most were euthanized.

by Cindy O'Malley
Permission to reprint is given if reprinted in it's entirety and credit is given - All rights reserved.
ęCopyright Cindy O'Malley August 1999

This appeared in the Winter 99-2000 issue of the Malamute Quarterly.

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