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by on October 22, 2020

Call of the Mild

Call of the Mild

by Marco M. Pardi

The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs.” Charles de Gaulle. Entre Nous. 1967

All comments are appreciated and will receive a response.

Those of you who read my previous post, Older Adoption, may be wondering if anything came of it. Yes. After considering a few dogs, including one from a rescue group that failed to inform me of multiple self-healed injuries to a particular dog (I found these with a cursory exam) and a history of biting, I had come close to giving up. But, members of my family kept pushing. One sent a link to a Husky rescue group about 900 miles west of here, and I decided to file an application. Having had seven Huskies and one Samoyed over the years I was hesitant to consider getting just one as they are definitely pack dogs. However, the rescue group which had her produced an in-depth and credible background discussion indicating she would do well in a one dog household. That, and her estimated age of five years, swayed me to make the trip.

Driving that far gave me plenty of time to reconsider what I was doing. Since I spend so much time alone having a living and interacting being with me would be a plus for mental health. And, since I have an array of “aftermarket parts inside”, as the tee shirt my daughter gave me announces, being required to walk fair distances on a regular basis would be good for me physically. But could I provide a happy home for a remarkably sentient companion? I’ve never been one to simply subject a non-human animal to servitude; years ago I dedicated myself to ensuring my military dog had as happy and enriching an experience with me as possible. We worked as partners, not as master and servant. So, given the lifestyle I now have I chose to adopt a young to middle aged female, less likely to engage in the signature Husky trait: ESCAPE. Still, this would require fencing the yard, even ignoring the existing partial fencing on neighboring yards. Mine has to be Husky proof. And with a large, wooded and hilly lot a seriously competent crew would be required to install a six foot, double gated privacy wooden fence.

And, as soon as I could get her home and receive her medical records I would take her to my regular veterinarian, famously the most expensive around but worth it in my opinion. How would I register her? Of course, I considered Siberian names but those are typically difficult for many people to grasp and I dislike having to correct people multiple times. I also didn’t want the Regime’s Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) smashing down my door at night to arrest and deport her. Hmmm, Siberia’s status with Russia might endear her to the Trump Crime Syndicate. Oh, well.

I try to stay at one or two syllable names, even though she is purebred. No “Ice Queen Mistress of the Northern Mists” for her. One of my horses was a registered Quarterhorse with a name longer than his mane. But he answered to Hank. So, paleo-linguists will appreciate that I reviewed my understanding of Norse (the root language of Swedish and Norwegian) and chose Freya. Norse: Noblewoman. Pronounced FRAYuh. I Promise not to teach her Swedish; she will learn only English. Of course, she will take time in learning a new name and no one at the rescue group seemed to know her original name, or if she even had one. She was taken by a Sheriff’s Department in some arrest procedure and was bailed out by a Husky rescue group. There’s no indication she’s been charged with any crime.

So, especially given her circumstances, I checked her for submissive behavior, particularly toward males, and for aggressive behavior. Either could indicate a history of significant mistreatment. Her eyesight and hearing are excellent and I could find no evidence of hip dysplasia or esophageal malformation. Her teeth are excellent, suggesting a good diet history. And, she is neither paw or food aggressive. However, unlike other Huskies of mine, she growls demonstrably at some people. That’s unusual for a Husky; they usually give no audible warning. One of my Huskies, a male, strolled into a new vet office for the first time and swept the room with his ice blue eyes. Several other dogs of various breeds climbed frantically onto their owners laps urinating all the way. From that day forward the vet required me to call ahead so they could set aside a private waiting room for us. Some time later that same Husky stood still at the base of a tree and charmed a squirrel right down to inches from his nose. I convinced the squirrel to seek higher safety.

I don’t yet know how Freya reacts to firearms. Since almost everyone we encountered on the trip home and around the neighborhood displays the same response of wanting to come over and pet the “beautiful dog” I am cognizant of the strong traffic in dognapping. I happen to carry a licensed man-shredding handgun and hope I never have to use it on her behalf.

But, happy days and happy nights. I hope readers will consider adopting a rescue dog and providing a good home. Even without the crushing stress of living in these times, I’m sure you would find the rewards far outweigh any inconvenience. One day I’ll post some pictures.

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16 Comments
  1. Dana permalink

    Marco, let me begin by congratulating you and Freya on your new life together.  This is the beginning of a friendship and partnership that will be beneficial for both of you.  And I can think of no other person more competent to rescue a Husky with an enigmatic history.  

    The name you’ve chosen is beautiful and meaningful, and I’m looking forward to future posts about Freya as her personality unfolds.  No doubt she has a lot to say!  My only experience with her breed has been through all of the Huskies who have visited stores in which I’ve worked, and I’ve had some interesting conversations with them.

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  2. Mike Stamm permalink

    Congratulations! Sounds like you have acquired a great new partner, and I trust all will remain well. (Dognapping? That sounds like something out of Jack London…but I gather it does happen, particularly with dogs like yours.)

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    • Dana permalink

      Mike, dog abductions are something we don’t hear enough about. And sadly, one of the reasons can be theft for bait in dog fighting rings. I’ve tried to gently educate humans about this, especially when they leave dogs in a vehicle while they shop. A few have thanked me genuinely, but the majority become defensive and even angry. On most occasions I’ve left a diplomatic note rather than speaking directly to the human. Twice I’ve been forced to contact law enforcement to break windows on hot days. Direct confrontation with the dog’s human could probably put my personal safety at risk one day, so I’m making an effort to avoid putting myself in danger. It isn’t easy to avoid the discussion when I’m passionate about the well-being of non-human animals.

      Yesterday I was saddened to see three dogs in a vehicle outside my workplace, waiting patiently for their owner to come out. The windows were fully down. One of the dogs was small – a King Charles Spaniel. Small dogs can also be abducted and sold on sites like Craigslist. Spent most of my 45 minute lunch break waiting for the owner to come out. Because I’m an employee, I slipped away without saying anything to the customer, I was recently strictly forbidden from saying anything, even when dogs are left in hot cars for long periods of time. Our store is located in the heart of Atlanta where there is a lot of crime.

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      • Dana is correct on all counts. A King Charles Spaniel would go for a large sum and would be an easy theft.

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    • Thank you, Mike. Everything seems to be progressing better than expected. She really knows her new home.

      Yes, dognapping is a serious problem. I’m even hesitant to post pictures as it is too easy to determine where we live.

      Like

  3. From the Far North:

    Hi Marco

    I enjoyed your essay. In my life I have had the great pleasure of the company of 2 Samoyeds, both named somewhat uncreatively “Sam”. The first Sam was with my family from 1957 when i was 10 until his death when I was 19. Keeping a dog until they died was something my father avoided, I suspect in an attempt to shelter his kids from the experience of losing a friend. Unfortunately for my Dad, Sam 1 had other ideas. Dad gave Sam away to a good home, a farmer who lived a few miles from our home in town. Three times. Every time, Sam found his way home. And so he stayed until it was time for him to go. Sadly, I was away at school & missed all the fuss, which I was told was considerable. Sam had made quite a impression on our family!

    My experience with Samoyeds taught me that the breed was highly intelligent & very independent, but loyal to their “tribe”

    I hope your experience with Freya gives you as much pleasure as my Sams gave me.

    Today I live with 2 Shi Tzus, the third pair of this breed that have lived with us (until my wife’s death in 2018) I have been very fortunate – Shi Tzus, in keeping with their small size tend to be very vocal. But in our case, they have been well mannered & great companions. The current pair, step sisters named Lucy & Sophie have been good for me, especially after I lost my wife.

    I’m a little bit behind you in my life cycle at 73. The “girls” are 11, born 2 weeks apart in 2009. I expect, given our ages that these will be my last dog adventure. Like you I don’t want to subject my pet to someone else nor do I want to subject someone else to my pet.

    In addition to the examples I have related, I have had the pleasure of the company of several dogs in my life, &, while I didn’t agree with all President De Gaulle’s beliefs, ( Vive Le Quebec Libre comes to mind) I have to say I heartily agree with his comparison of people & dogs!

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    • Thank you for the remarkably interesting comments. I also had a Samoyed and agree with your assessment of intelligence and tribal loyalty. Living in the South I am hesitant to have another as I don’t want to subject them to this heat. I’ve never really bought into the claim that the coat works both ways: to keep them warm, and to keep them cool.

      Freya learned which house was hers on the very first walk. When she finished her business she led me right home. Since we had stayed in places on the long trip home I found that quite remarkable.

      Yes, being there at the end of life is really tough. I’ve had to do it several times. But I’m very glad you have the companionship.

      Like

  4. William Boyd permalink

    As kids, after a couple of cats and the move to a northern section of our hometown where kids and dogs could roam, we got a dog whom we saddled with the name “Scotty.” He palled around with us kids by day and every morning with dad, shod in the galoshes I inherited back in ’86. I’m confident that for dad those morning walks were joyful, reminding him of the fine times he had as a kid in Puerto Rico where he palled with his dog, Jackie.

    Family out near Saint Louis have two dogs, Sparky and Mosby, who love traveling with Mike and Sally. They’re a real joyful bunch.

    I have considered a dog here. But with the armistice still firmly in place, both I and the neighborhood groundhog are really OK no other quadrupeds.

    May you and Freya continue enriching each others’ lives.

    BB

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    • Thank you, Bill. Many of us enjoy reading about aspects of your life. Maybe one day you and Freya will meet.

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  5. Ray Rivers permalink

    Cute story – our current dog, a chocolate lab mostly, is a mature rescue (approx 5 years old when we got him) – he came with a full psychological assessment from the pound – he has some strange behaviour – when you open the door for him – he bolts then does a couple of 360’s, grabs a mouthful of grass, then calms down. Great with kids he only shows aggressive behaviour over his paws (possibly previous trimming trauma) and food of course (he’s a lab). But the most annoying trait is singing at even the hint of music – when I pick up my guitar case he has learned to take himself off to the bathroom to howl and hide. He’s a real treat when I have some folks over for a music jam – likes to join in and sing with the harp and electric guitar or keyboard.

    Ray Z. Rivers 445 Mountsberg Rd., Campbellville ON L0P 1B0 Home and Mobile – 905-659-2069 rayzrivers@gmail.com

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    • Thanks, Ray. Your lab sounds like a really fun loving dog. We don’t have much in the way of musical background going on here, but I’m planning on sitting with Freya on the back deck and trying to engage her in a howl duet.

      Her one remaining issue is learning to go upstairs at night. It’s a bit of a push, but she’s getting better.

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  6. How wonderful—for you AND for Freya!! Will look very much forward to photos!!!

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  7. Thank you, Marcia. I’ve been remiss in reading and commenting on your latest post. Will go to it soon.

    Like

  8. Congratulations on the attaining the newest member of your family. I shared my life with a shepard/husky for a time, and she was a delight. Freya is the Norse goddess associated with both love and war, so perhaps a more perfect name could not have been chosen. Rose

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  9. Thank you, Rose. I knew there was a more potent association for the name, but couldn’t think of it. Indeed, a perfect name. She is very protective of her pack – us.

    Like

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