I’ve always wanted a husky, at least since I was in the second grade. That’s when I read the Call of the Wild and I was hooked on the idea of a husky. About five years later, I got Snickers, a mix with mostly German Shepherd in him, and then a few years later, I finally got Ava. I spent a few years reading up on huskies and found out that they were much more than just really pretty sled dogs, but I found all of their weird quirks endearing – and I still do. I contacted some breeders, and because of that I learned that there’s a huge difference between a “good breeder” and a “breeder.” Because of Ava, I learned everything about the world of dog breeding, about holistic care, and even about good foods because, before I started researching for a husky, Snickers was eating Beneful. I was saving for a husky from one of three or four breeders (in fact, I dubbed my first bank account The Husky Puppy Fund). Then I spotted her on petfinder when she was 8 weeks old and that was it.
Two days later, my Dad took a few days off work so we could drive from WV to SC to pick her up since I’m so bad with directions that I’d never make it there alone. We finally made it to the rescue about three hours later than we’d planned – and four hours later than mapquest had said we would. The rescue was really based in someone’s house. He was a musher who had several huskies himself, as well as several rescued huskies up for adoption, including Ava’s two littermates and her parents, and a few wolves rescued from people who thought they’d make cute pets. It was storming so bad that we’d had to stop several times and we still couldn’t really see, so we had to run into the house where he already had her inside and waiting. He was cradling her when we came in and dried off a bit. We talked for a little while, although I don’t actually remember any of the conversation because I was locked onto her and resisting the urge to snatch her and cuddle her myself. He stopped midsentence, looked at me and smiled, then went, “Here, I suppose you want this?” and handed her to me. We stayed for about an hour, just talking about huskies in general before finally deciding to head home. She spent the entire 13 hour ride home curled up in my arms. Even the guy from the rescue said he’d never seen a puppy take to someone so fast and so completely.
And here’s the weird thing, or perhaps the perfect thing. As we were leaving to get her, I had the extreme sense of déjà vu, reminding me of a dream that I’d forgotten. In the dream, I had been going to South Carolina to pick up a small female husky puppy, with a red coat and blue eyes. And there wasn’t a single breeder in South Carolina that I’d considered going to.
When we finally did make it home, she immediately made herself at home and stole Snick’s bone while he was trying to figure out what the little ball of fluff was, why it was in his house, and why it kept wanting to chew on him. It took him about three weeks to completely warm up to her. First of all, he’s a pretty shy, timid big guy – really the epitome of a gentle giant. Secondly, Ava had no concept of the hierarchy of the house, so to speak. She moved right in like she owned the place and was absolutely merciless to Snickers when it came to playing. He was almost too nice to put her in her place, but he finally did.
Back when she was small enough to fit in the bathroom sink, she had her first bath. That was also the first time I heard the Husky Death Howl.
The next week, we had some family drop in with their min-pin mix, so he and Ava got to play while they were about the same size. This was also when she discovered that she loved to swim in the waterbowl outside.