My Friendship with an Alaskan Husky
Dear Blog Visitors:
In recent months, I have developed a very special friendship with my next-door-neighbors’ Alaskan husky. Her name is Star, and I thought I would take this opportunity to write about the many ways this special friendship has enhanced my life.
Ever since I was a young child, I had a special love for animals. Due to my very busy schedule throughout my adulthood, it was not possible to actually have a pet of my own. However, I have always been drawn to movies that feature dogs and I never pass an opportunity to pet a dog or cat when our paths cross.
A couple years ago, my neighbors adopted Star, the Alaskan husky who was to become my very special friend. When she first arrived on the scene, it took me a while to introduce myself to her. She was a little shy at first, whereby I allowed her to sniff the back of my hand (time-honored way of introducing yourself to a dog). After Star got used to seeing me in the yard, she gradually allowed me to pet her. I then introduced Star to my wife (Brenda). Brenda went through the same ritual of allowing Star to sniff the back of her hand, which gradually led to petting.
As with the case of Brenda and me, our neighbors have very busy schedules as well, between their jobs and raising two children. So, this allows little time to take Star for walks. If you know anything about Alaskan huskies, they are very energetic dogs. If trained for sledding, they can run up to 80 miles per day. However, when raised as a house pet, a good energetic walk or run (or combination of both) each day will generally satisfy the husky’s needs.
After visiting Star in her backyard over a period of several months, Brenda and I finally asked our neighbors if we could take her for a walk. We quickly found out how much energy Star has. Our initial walk has led to almost daily exercise routines. I will generally go for a good run with Star, followed by a long walk. On days that Brenda accompanies us, she will generally run behind us and then take the leash once Star is ready for walking, as opposed to running.
Alaskan huskies are often described as being fiercely independent, while at the same time, not liking being left alone for long periods. They are also often described as being very gentle around people, but having tendencies toward aggression around other animals. So, when I take Star for walks, I tend to allow her to say hello to people, but will steer her away from other dogs.
This winter has been a new experience for me, thanks to Star. In the past, I have generally hibernated on weeknights and weekends, because I do not like the cold weather. However, since huskies love cold weather, I managed to take Star for walks on most days this winter when the weather cooperated. This has improved my physical condition, inclusive of dropping several pounds.
I learned from my friendship with Star (in addition to doing some reading) that Alaskan huskies rarely bark. However, I have learned to interpret her needs from both her facial expressions and her physical movements. I have also learned that huskies are very intelligent dogs, and I like to think that I have learned much from Star, just as I have tried to teach her to be patient with her curiosity while outdoors.
Star knows that following a long walk, either Brenda or I will give her a few treats (usually a couple pieces of salmon, followed by a couple biscuits). This has become a daily ritual that brings much joy to Star, Brenda and me.
Finally, I would have to describe my friendship with Star as highly spiritual. By this, I simply mean that I am indeed fortunate to have as one of my special friends, one of God’s four-legged creatures. I especially enjoy time alone with Star on Sunday mornings, when traffic is light and I can walk with her in wide-open spaces, where she and I can have plenty of room to run and walk in the midst of nature settings.
In closing, if you are in need of a special friend or companion, you may need to search no further than your neighbor’s back yard. Star is a wonderful friend who has touched my life immensely.
Peace to all,