Siberian Husky Rescues: A Heartfelt Mission to Help the Homeless
Thinking of getting a beautiful Siberian Husky? Did you know you can help save a Husky’s life by learning all you can about the breed, and then adopting or fostering one from a rescue?
Rescue Takes a Village
Shari Baillargeon, also known as “Mama Shay” in the Husky rescue world, has been voluntarily helping homeless Huskies since 2003. “I never actually decided to help Siberian Huskies, they decided I needed to!” she happily says. With her Georgian door always open to help Huskies in need, Shari volunteers with MUSH Rescue of Atlanta, and is currently fostering 10 dogs. “I am so blessed to have a huge following on our Buddy, the Christmas Husky Facebook page from all over the world. We have friends from just about every country that make up a huge support system. I could never have taken care of Buddy (an abused, sick, and abandoned Husky found and saved on Christmas Day by a good Samaritan before Shari came to forever foster him), or so many others without our Buddy Family supporting us both through messages of encouragement, much needed items, dog food, and, of course, monetary donations.”
Finding the Right Home for a Husky
According to Danielle Lahmeyer, creative director and Lorraine Healy, president and founder of Husky House Siberian Husky &Fellow K9 Rescue in New Jersey, they look “for a home that is going to be able to dedicate time, energy, and love; and people who understand the Huskies’ traits. The household should be able to provide them with a high level of activity they require. A secure home should also be provided to help keep them safe. This can include escape-proof fencing, exterior doors, and gates. For Huskies under one year old, families with prior purebred Siberian Husky experience is required.”
Advice to New Husky Parents
“The best piece of advice we can give to any Husky owner, new or seasoned, is to be consistent with training and allow them to have plenty of exercises!” offers Sarah Garcia, a volunteer with Free Spirit Siberian Husky Rescue in Harvard, IL, which has their own sled dog team of rescue Huskies, and is celebrating their 20th year with more than 3,000 Huskies saved! “Siberians will become mischievous when they are bored, so they need constant brain stimulation. Training is a great part of that... They need daily exercise with walks and/or runs. As many of us a say, 'a tired husky is a happy Husky.'”
Snow Dogs in Warm Climates? Absolutely!
“Huskies can certainly deal with the Florida weather!” states Janet C., the social media coordinator for Siberian Husky Rescue of Florida, Inc. (SHRF), who has been working in rescue since 2005. In warm climates, keep your Husky indoors in the air condition, advises Janet, who says, “If it is too hot for you, it is too hot for your Husky.”
Janet mentions that Huskies born in Florida can adjust easily into a new home, and relocated ones from colder climates can also adapt well; but she emphasizes, “You cannot leave them outside.”Early mornings and when the sun goes down are the best times to go out. But, says Janet, “They adjust!”
Huskies Are Family Members
Advises Janet, “Read the educational section on our website. Get some books. Educate yourself on the breed. Sometimes the reasons people dump their Huskies is typical Siberian Husky behavior they should have known before making the Husky a part of their family. You have to be willing to look at your dog as a family member, and to commit to it and to training, and also if they have medical issues. Whatever you do for your child you should do for your dog. If you cannot treat your dog properly, do not have one in the first place. They deserve the love and respect you give your kids.”
Adopt, Don’t Shop!
Steph Konz, executive director of Taysia Blue Rescue in Nebraska states, “Adopting a dog is great, just due your homework and make sure it's the right dog. And, please, don't buy dogs! Please share with people when you adopt and why it's better than buying a puppy. Puppies are a lot of work and I can usually find a dog with the look you want that is house trained and kennel trained and doesn't chew on your shoes.”
Fabulous Foster Families
“Foster families are our lifeblood!” proclaims Steph. “Without fosters, we can't do any of what we do. They provide a safe, loving, low-stress environment for dogs coming from shelters. It helps the dogs to learn to live properly in a home, and it helps with… training. Sometimes people are thinking they want to add another dog or maybe they aren't sure (these) are the right breed for them, so fostering gives them a chance to try it out without making the lifelong commitment to the dog.”
Jodi Klein, vice-president of Tails of the Tundra Siberian Husky Rescue in Pennsylvania, has fostered more than 25Huskies for over 15 years, and offers some sage advice, “Ask a lot of questions from a seasoned foster home. The most important factor is being open-minded, knowing your own household and what will fit in it, and being committed to learning while helping.”
Notes Danielle of Husky House, “There are thousands of homeless Huskies and mixes sitting in shelters on death row right now. By fostering… you are making room in our shelter for us to help more dogs.”
And who knows? Maybe the situation will even become a “foster fail” — a term of endearment that means the Husky being fostered became adopted by the foster family!
Dorothy Wills-Raftery is an award-winning photojournalist and author of EPIC Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy; the FiveSibes™ Tales children’s books: What’s Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy and Getting Healthy With Harley: Learning About Health & Fitness; and Buddy, the Christmas Husky~Based On A True Holiday Miracle books (ArcticHouse Publishing), as well as the FiveSibes.com, an online encyclopedia for the Siberian Husky breed and Canine Epilepsy information, as well as her international award-winning FiveSibes blog, based on the lives of her five Siberian Huskies. Her work has also appeared in American Pet Magazine, Ruff Drafts, The Sled Dogger, and Hudson Valley Paw Print Magazine. Dorothy is the writer and host of "The Sibe Vibe” Dog Works Radio show.
Dorothy is a 9-time Dog Writers of America Association “Excellence” nominee, winning the prestigious Maxwell Medallion in 2017 and 2016 for her writing, photography, and design. Her book EPIC Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy received the 2018 Independent Press Award for “Excellence” in the Reference Book category and 2017 NYC Big Book Award for “Excellence” in the Animal/Pet book category. Dorothy was also named “Best Author” in 2015 & 2016 by Hudson Valley Magazine and all four books named “Best in Print” by American Pet Magazine, An official International Purple Day® for Epilepsy Ambassador since 2012 and a volunteer case manager for The Wally Foundation-Canine Epilepsy, Dorothy is the creator of the FiveSibes #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Awareness campaign and partnered with The Anita Kaufmann Foundation for #Paws4Purple Project, both inspired by her own epileptic Husky, Gibson. In addition to her Siberian Huskies, Dorothy shares her home with her husband, daughter, son-in-law, and grandson. You can follow Dorothy and her FiveSibes on Facebook at FiveSibes: Siberian Husky K9 News & Reviews, on Google + , Twitter, and Instagram(@FiveSibesMom).