This is our new baby, Max. He’s a Siberian Husky, around 11 months old, and we adopted him from a local animal shelter, Wayside Waifs.
Alex and I met him Saturday without telling the kids. Max has juvenile cataracts, which means his vision is impaired, and he wasn’t recommended for a home with small children. We were concerned about taking on a dog with a vision problem, so we wanted to check him out on our own. While we visited with him, we could see that he has adapted quite well to his vision, and he had no problem seeing us, the treats in our hand, or the ball we threw for him.
The vet at the shelter said he didn’t think Max would ever need cataract surgery, though it was something we could opt for if we thought it necessary, which supported the research I had done. Huskies are prone to eye problems, especially cataracts, but juvenile cataracts are different in that they often don’t progress over time and the dog can live quite happily as he is. That eliminated my concern about his health, and I was excited for him to meet the kids.
We made sure to talk to the kids beforehand about his vision, stressing that they would have to make sure not to startle him or come up to him from behind. We were told he had food aggression, so we talked about that too, and how we’d have to keep him separate during meals and have an adult feed him. We talked about his “mouthiness”, which is just him wanting to latch onto things with his jaw and play. As a result, our son, who is smaller and only 10, was a little tentative and hesitant, but couldn’t help but be charmed by Max. Our daughter was in love at first sight. The meeting was smooth sailing, and before long we were all smooshed in the car heading home. I sat in the backseat with my son and Max, and Max had no qualms about sitting, leaning, and laying on me. We also learned that he gives doggie kisses.
It took very little time for Max to adjust. His vision seems to be keeping him from going upstairs inside, but the stairs leading to the yard are no problem at all. A quick trip to the store meant he had new toys, and his favorites are the tennis balls. He’s perfectly content to throw it around and chase it all by himself, though the kids like it when he lets them play too. He’s got a nice backyard with plenty of room, and seemed thrilled when he caught the scent of a mole in the dirt!
Dinnertime was a sweet surprise: we put his food out while we had dinner, and he displayed no aggression whatsoever. He nibbled at his food, then came and watched us intently, but didn’t try to steal any bites and remained calm and civil. He’s more of a beggar than some people might like, but I can work with it, especially since it’s so much better than I expected.
We took him for a walk after dinner, hoping to make sure he was worn out for his first night in a new home, and again he behaved better than expected. He didn’t pull excessively and he didn’t bolt after the squirrels or bark at the other dogs. It’s really amazing how quickly he’s adjusted to being with us, and vice versa. He seems so happy to have a yard, and kids to play with, and people to love. I think he was just waiting for a family who understood him, and I’m so glad we’re that family.
He is gorgeous!
Congratulations! I’ve been a Siberian Husky owner for over 10 years & I’ve learned that this type of dog has a fantastic sense of humor, nurture that! They laugh with their whole bodies. I can tell Max is smiling & laughing…Also, when my dog was a puppy & he would howl, I would say, “good talking!” as he got older, all I’d have to say was, “talk to me” I fostered my new husky & then adopted her because she fit our family like a glove. I wish you many, many wonderful years with your stunningly beautiful Max. PS you may have to buy a new vacuum cleaner every two years or so. 🙂 Must take the good with the bad. You can see my husky, Nala on my blog. I hope you check her out & please post more of Max whenever you get the chance! ~amy
Thanks, Amy! Yes, we can definitely tell he’s smart–maybe too smart! There are so many wonderful things about huskies that they certainly outweigh the bad. He’s loving and affectionate with all of us, even if he sometimes shows it a bit energetically. Part of the reason we chose a young dog this time was so we’d have a better chance of having him in the family for a long time; it’s so hard to have a pet for just a short time and then lose them. So if we can keep Max from escaping, we should have many years with him. And we have all-wood floors, so I don’t vacuum…but I sweep a lot! I’ll go look for Nala now. 🙂
Hi Bonnie! I like getting young dogs too. I raised my first husky from age 4 months until he passed away last year at 10 years of age. We fostered Nala & fell deeply in love at first sight. They do escape, they are known to run until their pads bleed. That is what Blue did, once. He was so happy he found his way home, that he never tried to run away again. He was so sore that he couldn’t lay down for two days, I would find him asleep sitting up. The pound picked up Nala & her brother, I think they had been on the run for a week or so. She was skin & bones. The owners never looked for her, I guess they were done with having two huskies. I am rambling. I’m just happy to write to someone who owns a husky! Sorry. Thanks for your wonderful reply & I look forward to seeing more photographs of him. Be firm with him or he will take over. They really think they should be in charge. Smartest dogs…I don’t think intelligence should be defined by a dogs capability to do tricks. I think its pretty smart for my dog to look at the ball I though & look back at me & say, “you threw the damn thing, you go get it” 🙂 ~amy
Glad to hear more from a fellow husky-lover! My previous dog was a husky, so we are well-versed in their tendencies to escape and dig. We chased Samson a few times! Max is younger & faster so we’re definitely trying to keep him in line. He’s doing very well with training, though he’s still best with me. I need to work with my 14yo daughter so that Max will obey her too. Our biggest hurdle at this point is finding things to keep him occupied and happy when we’re not home. He’s a big chewer and can destroy most toys very quickly! -Bonny
Ugh, that is hard, when I raised Blue as a pup, I was also raising my toddler & baby as a stay at home mom. I have no advice or insight as to keep him entertained in your absence. I wish I did! Maybe keeping him in one room, will help him with stress, having the whole house, i’ve heard can be stressful. I wish you luck & i hope i didn’t offend you when I gave unsolicited advice! I hope to hear & see more of Max! ~amy
Nope, no offense taken! I’m a stay at home mom too, so Max gets to follow me around happily most of the time. It’s just the hour or so here & there when I have to run errands, or when we all go out as a family, that he’s alone. He’s getting better though! I found a few more durable chew toys, plus a big Kong ball that I put peanut butter in. The last couple of times I came home and he hadn’t gotten into any trouble at all, so I’m optimistic. Of course he gets on the couches when we’re not around, and I haven’t decided how hard to fight that behavior. He’s a handful but just delightful. He’s my baby now. 🙂 ~Bonny
Jealous me. I’m glad you’ve got a baby. He is a STUNNER! ~amy