On Saturday the SHCV gathered in the little town of Harcourt, south of Bendigo.
Harcourt, like many other country towns, has a fantastic autumn festival (I’m not sure why we don’t call them country fairs anymore?) called Applefest. It had a brilliant vibe, with an eclectic bunch of performers and locals, fantastic food (lots more than just apples) and drink (yummy cider!) and a range of stalls, rides and activities.
One of brilliant volunteers at SHCV organised two events at Applefest, one for members and one for the public.
Members had a “pet walk” - a social gathering to walk our huskies together as a group, catch up with friends and chat about our dogs, the upcoming sledding season, our dogs, the gear for sledding, our dogs, the family news... oh yeah, and our dogs! What can I say, we love our huskies!
And, since the sight of a group of about ten people walking along with about 15 huskies on their walking belts I’d quite a sight, we then spent a few hours at the festival, allowing members of the public to come and meet the dogs. (There were up to another 12 who didn’t walk, but stayed in the shade.)
It was lovely to see members of the public coming to interact with the dogs and ask questions about the breed. The questions are the same ones every time, but hopefully we can promote the idea of doing research and choosing dogs with a clear understanding of how a particular breed will fit with your lifestyle. I felt inspired to try and blog a bit more, to make sure that there is information about huskies out there for the casual google search.
Standing in the shade, with Bree, Dash, Czar, Frankie and Kenai lined up in front of me, enjoying the pats and tummy rubs, we had a great picture of the variation in size, eye colour, coat type and colour in the breed. From Kenai, a purpose bred, racing line husky, who’s purebred credentials are often queried by the public because he has a “non classic” colour and coat, to Dash, Frankie and Czar, who are very “classic” looking huskies (although Czar is actually too tall for the breed standard).
We also had a range of histories that show the range of lifestyles huskies can face: Kenai has been loved and secure in a large racing home since his litter was first planned, before he was even born; Dash was dumped as a tiny puppy, and was lucky to be rescued by an experienced dog home and raised to compete in Obedience as well as sledding; Czar and his littermate Ghost were bought by two young men in an apartment, handed over to a lady with no breed experience and a household full of small pets and birds, who surrendered them to SHCV Rescue where J first saw them; and Frankie who was owned by an abusive alcoholic and then another breed inexperienced household who overfed him to the point of abuse before ending up with SHCV Rescue and then J and Ishka.
People are often surprised when they hear that so many huskies have to be rescued, but the traits of the breed do make them difficult to manage -
- their need for company
- their behaviour when neglected
- their intelligence which can lead to boredom, misbehaviour and escaping
- their fluff levels
- their very unique metabolisms that make it easy to overfeed them
- their prey drive
Of course, the biggest reason that dogs (huskies or not) do get dumped or seized by rescues, comes from humans. There’s not a lot we can do about people who are more interested in $$$ or prestige than in the health and happiness of their dog, but we can do something about ignorance. And that’s why so many of us were happy to drive up to Harcourt to answer the same questions over and over again.