Thursday, September 20, 2012

The joy of owning snow dogs

For those of you that know me, or those of you that read this blog regularly, you know that I own three dogs, two of which are snow dogs.  Juneau is an Alaskan Malamute, and Sitka is a Siberian Husky.  While both breeds are bred to be sled dogs, the Malamutes are generally considered to be the "brawn" of the team and the Siberians are the brains! 
Both breeds are intelligent, independent thinkers.  They are stubborn, difficult to train, and require an owner who is willing to show them who's boss.  I'm pretty sure I fail at that daily!  I know this because right now Juneau is trying to look innocent as he plots how to steal the red vines (like red licorice) that I have sitting on the arm of the chair right beside me.  One time he snatched my mom's sandwich right out of her hand as she walked to her chair! 
Because both breeds have been bred to pull and run, they can never be let off leash in an unfenced area.  They are inveterate "runners."  If they get out of the yard or house, they will run.  Not next door, not one street over--they will run MILES!  Well, honestly, mine probably wouldn't--they'll run, but they're lazy in the Texas heat.  If I had video of myself chasing them in the few times they've accidentally gotten out, I could win America's Funniest Home Videos.  Even in a car, it's no contest. 
Juneau even got "dog-napped" one time when he got out.  I was experiementing with keeping them outdoors in my backyard several years back--an experiment which came to an abrubt end when Juneau got scared by a thunderstorm and broke out of the yard.  He had some time to roam, and at some point, someone stopped and picked him up.  They took him from Garland all the way to an apartment in west Dallas.  They next day they called me to come pick him up because they decided they were scared of him.  And beause he cried all night.  When Juneau has something to say, he is not shy.  Malamutes do not generally bark, but they are not quiet, as the video below shows.
If you ever consider getting either of these breeds, because--let's face it--they're gorgeous, you should also know that they raise shedding to an art form. 

This is the pile from one quick ten-minute brushing of Juneau.  Sitka doesn't like to be brushed, so she'd never sit still for ten minutes.  I tried to get Poquito to sit next to the pile for a size comparison, but he's a little alarmed by a pile of hair as big as he is.  I have worn out one Dyson vacuum, and I'm on my second. 
A lot of people ask if it isn't too hot in Texas for snow dogs.  Not at my house!  My dogs lay around in the air conditioning and have their own fans. 

Juneau would actually lay in the fan if he could. 
Because they are big, smart, crafty dogs, they are also a tad destructive.  I really thought I had some kind of a record going when they destroyed my old leather sofa.  After reading some other snow dog owner's stories, I realized I am not alone.  One of the funniest stories is the story of Frankencouch.  Check it out on The Thundering Herd.  Find the story here:  Frankencouch.  I laughed and laughed!  It's good to know someone else shares my pain.  And of course, who could forget this: 
That was Juneau's handiwork.  Sitka also destroyed my Louis Vuitton wallet and an antique silver trinket box--to name a few things.  And those are just from this year.
After all this, I'm sure you're asking yourself why I would want such "challenging" dogs.  I can honestly say that I've never loved any dogs more.  They are sweet and loveable, and my life is never boring with them around!