A dog is not a status symbol, toy or whim...a dog is forever ... no dog should ever go unloved, unfortunately it's only a wish...the sad reality is too many Malamutes are bought for the wrong reasons, by unprepared owners. Think long and hard before you bring that puppy (of any breed) home. They have feelings too - sadly, sometimes more than their owners.
A Malamute Story...
I wish I could've stayed small and cute forever ... but I grew up. They say Malamute puppies are the cutest and I'M a Malamute. I am so proud, mom says I'm the King of Dogs!!! My people did everything right too. They went to a well-known breeder, looked at my 5 brothers and sisters, but took ME home. They live in a beautiful house and like to show me off to their friends. I've even learned a trick! I get fancy treats and have lots of toys. Only thing is they yell at me because I get muddy feet on the carpet and sometimes have accidents when they forget to let me out. But at least they brush my fur so I look pretty and I get to sleep on my kid's bed.
I wish they'd tell me what the rules are. I mostly have to guess. Someone said I'm a "status symbol" whatever that is. They wanted a King of Dogs because I'm "pretty"- well, I know that!! My dog friend down the street goes to school! I wish I could go, but only my kids get to go. Sometimes they take me for walks - and I pull hard just like I my ancestors were bred to do. I don't know why we don't go for walks anymore, I am so good at pulling I know they are proud of me! Yesterday I was gardening and digging a big hole, just like they do, but they got mad at me. Then I ate a sandwich off the counter - I was hungary and thought they made it for me - but I guess not. Then they were really mad when I chewed up something that must've been important and had to go to the vet because it got stuck in my stomach. Then the baby poked my eye HARD and I told her "stop that".
After that, they made me live outside. I still get to come in to watch TV with the kids some but they forget to brush me and say I stink. Nobody wants to hug and pet me like they used to. I miss that. My kennel is ok. I have a nice dog house and all, and have made friends with a dumb squirrel, but it sure is lonely out here and it's not like sleeping on a bed. But hey, I'm a Malamute and we Malamutes are strong and hardy. I don't NEED to sleep on a bed (but it sure was nice). Sometimes when the kids forget, nobody picks up the poop and I have to smell it all day. The flies bite my ears and that hurts! They don't teach me anything anymore and I am so happy when someone will throw my ball. I overheard mom on the phone yesterday talking to someone about "finding a home for a dog". I wonder if they are getting me a friend so I won't be so lonely? But I heard her say there are no homes. She seems so sad.
Sometimes I sing to keep myself company, I know lots of songs - but they don't like that either. What's a nuisance? If I didn't sing I think mostly they'd forget I'm out here. Yeah, they feed me but nobody brushes me anymore. I'm a Malamute and they say I'm too big to be in the house, and besides they say I'd rather be outside. If they only knew! I don't have as many toys as I used to, so I play with whatever blows into my pen. My fur used to look pretty but now it's dirty and clumps are coming out all over because I'm shedding. I can't help it. I want to look nice, but need help and everyone is too busy. And the only car ride I get any more is to the vet once a year. I never have any dog friends or kids to play with. My ears hurt in the summer from the flies, and I used to like winter, but now it's just a lonely time because the kids come out to play with me even less. They say it's ok for me to be outside because I have lots of fur, but it sure looks fun in there - people laughing and talking. Wish I could hear what they are saying. Wish they would talk to me. Sometimes they even forget to bring my dinner until really late - Soccer practice or something! But I'm ok, I'm the "King of Dogs".
Today they are taking me for a car ride! Hurray! I don't care if it's to the vet - it's exciting. Hey wait, you forgot me here. The floor is cold and I don't like all these other dogs. They aren't Kings like I am! I'll just ignore them, or maybe growl a little.... I wonder when my people will come for me. It's lonely here, and scary. I want to go home. I heard a person here say my family thinks I'll get a new home and he laughed. But I don't WANT a new home. I love them. Why won't they come for me? Why aren't they holding me on this cold table? I want to feel THEIR hug, not a stranger, but I'm so sleepy...maybe when I wake up they'll be here for me. Can't I at least go to my breeders' house? I sort of remember it, I was very little, but they loved me once. Maybe they still do...can we ask?...maybe I can be clean and loved and play with kids again.........
This story is based on many real life rescues. The dog that inspired it was saved from the pound within minutes of being euthanized by some real angels, his name was Hootie. If you have a big heart, patience and some Malamute experience - please consider a rescue dog. The shelters are full of Malamutes who rarely get adopted. There were 771 give ups in just Michigan in 1997-98 (the last year we "officially" did Rescue). Very few were placed... many were eventually euthanized.
by Cindy O'Malley
Permission to reprint is given if reprinted in it's entirety and credit is given - All rights reserved.
©Copyright Cindy O'Malley August 1999
This appeared in the Winter 99-2000 issue of the Malamute Quarterly.
Maybe you can afford a dog - but should you own one? Nothing illustrates that better than this article by Jon Katz...
A Tribute to Rescuers Story...
Unlike most days at Rainbow Bridge, this day dawned cold and gray, damp as a swamp and as dismal as could be imagined. All the recent arrivals were confused and concerned. They had no idea what to think for they had never experienced a day like this before. But the animals who had spent some time waiting for their beloved people knew exactly what was happening and began to gather at the pathway leading to the Bridge to watch. They knew this was something special.
It wasn't too long before an elderly animal came into view, head hung heavy and low with tail dragging along the ground. The other animals on the pathway...the ones who had been at Rainbow Bridge for a while...knew the story of this sad creature immediately. They had seen it happen far too many times.
Although it was obvious the animal's heart was leaden and he was totally overcome with emotional pain and hurt, there was no sign of injury or any illness. Unlike the pets waiting at the Bridge, this dog had not been restored to his prime. He was full of neither health nor vigor. He approached slowly and painfully, watching all the pets who were by now watching him. He knew he was out of place here. This was no resting place for him. He felt instinctively that the sooner he could cross over, the happier he would be. But alas, as he came closer to the Bridge, his way was barred by the appearance of an Angel who spoke softly to the old dog and apologized sorrowfully, telling him that he would not be able to pass. Only those animals who were with their special people could pass over the Rainbow Bridge. And he had no special beloved people...not here at the Bridge nor on Earth below.
With no place else to turn, the poor elderly dog looked toward the fields before the Bridge. There, in a separate area nearby, he spotted a group of other sad-eyed animals like himself...elderly and infirm. Unlike the pets waiting for their special people, these animals weren't playing, but simply lying on the green grass, forlornly and miserably staring out at the pathway leading to the Bridge. The recent arrival knew he had no choice but to join them. And so, he took his place among them, just watching the pathway and waiting.
One of the newest arrivals at the Bridge, who was waiting for his special people, could not understand what he had just witnessed and asked one of the pets who had been there for some time to explain it to him.
"That poor dog was a rescue, sent to the pound when his owner grew tired of him. They way you see him now, with graying fur and sad, cloudy eyes, was exactly the way he was when he was put into the kennels. He never, ever made it out and passed on with only the love and comfort that the kennel workers could give him as he left his miserable and unloved existence on Earth for good. Because he had no family or special person to give his love, he has nobody to escort him across the Bridge."
The first animal thought about this for a minute and then asked, "So what will happen now?"
As he was about to receive his answer, the clouds suddenly parted and the all-invasive gloom lifted. Coming toward the Bridge could be seen a single figure...a person who, on Earth, had seemed quite ordinary...a person who, just like the elderly dog, had just left Earth forever. This figure turned toward a group of the sad animals and extended outstretched palms. The sweetest sounds they had ever heard echoed gently above them and all were bathed in a pure and golden light. Instantly, each was young and healthy again, just as they had been in the prime of life.
From within the gathering of pets waiting for their special people, a group of animals emerged and moved toward the pathway. As they came close to the passing figure, each bowed low and each received a tender pat on the head or a scratch behind the ears. Their eyes grew even brighter as the figure softly murmured each name. Then, the newly-restored pets fell into line behind the figure and quietly followed this person to the Bridge, where they all crossed together.
The recent arrival who had been watching, was amazed. "What happened?"
"That was a rescuer," came the answer. "That person spent a lifetime trying to help pets of all kinds. The ones you saw bowing in respect were those who found new homes because of such unselfish work. They will cross when their families arrive. Those you saw restored were ones who never found homes. When a rescuer arrives, they are permitted to perform one, final act of rescue. They are allowed to escort those poor pets that couldn't place on Earth across the Rainbow Bridge. You see, all animals are special to them, just as they are special to all animals."
"I think I like rescuers," said the recent arrival.
"So does God," was the reply.
~ Author Unknown