“Game of Thrones” fans are familiar with “direwolves,” the wolf-like beasts that appear in the blockbuster program. The show’s direwolves are mostly performed by Northern Inuit canines, a Siberian husky-like breed, with one being represented by an Arctic wolf.
Unfortunately, the program hasn’t been kind to other canines who look like direwolves in real life, particularly huskies. Since the first season of “Game of Thrones” premiered in 2011, a surge in surrendered and abandoned huskies, husky mixes, and similar breeds has been reported at shelters and rescue groups around the country.
Angelique Miller, president of Northern California Sled Dog Rescue (NorSled), an organization that rescues Siberian huskies, Alaskan malamutes, and other similar breeds, told The Dodo, “There’s been a rise over the last many years, and the last three in particular.” “We’ve noticed an uptick of almost twice what we would ordinarily see last year and this year.”
Miller has no way of knowing if this surge has anything to do with “Game of Thrones.” Because a lot of the dogs are named after characters from the show, such Sansa, Stark, Ice, and Ghost.
“This young couple was just strolling by and stopped at our adoption fair on Saturday,” Miller said.
“They glanced at our huskies, and the first thing the guy said was ‘direwolves.'” It’s also fairly clear since people come to the fairs and ask whether the dogs are wolf-like because they can’t tell the difference between a husky, a malamute, and a wolf.”
The issue is that many individuals who acquire huskies don’t do their homework, which leads to complications.
“They’re so cute in the shows,” Miller explained, “that a lot of people go out and acquire these dogs as pups without doing any study on the breed.” “This is not a breed for the faint of heart. The breed is quite energetic. They have a lot of energy and require a lot of physical activity. They have a strong desire to hunt prey. As a result, we will not adopt these dogs to anyone who has a small animal.”
“They’re also escape artists,” Miller noted, “so if they get bored, they’ll slip under your fence.” “They’re also pack animals.” They enjoy being around other dogs and humans, and they really enjoy being indoors with you.
NorSled now has over 40 dogs in its care, and its volunteers are having a hard time finding foster homes, much alone forever homes, for them all.
“Every year it seems like we receive more,” she added. “It’s a difficulty because we need to find homes.”
The Bay Area Siberian Husky Club is another rescue group that has seen an increase in abandoned huskies (BASH).
“In the last three months, we’ve had three dogs called ‘Ice,'” Randee McQueen, BASH’s treasurer and rescue coordinator, told The Dodo. “The majority of them are between the ages of 18 months and two years [old] when they come to us.”
Both McQueen and Miller expect to see fewer huskies arrive to their rescue organizations in the future, but in the meantime, they hope to find excellent homes for the ones they now have.
If you’re thinking about adopting a rescued husky, Miller recommends doing your homework beforehand and carefully considering a training program.