Back in July 2009 we received a call from our local pound about a Malamute
named Jasper who was in their care and in need of a new home.
Jasper had lived in a home with broken fencing, and being a typical Malamute he
would let himself out on a regular basis and frequented the local pub. The
rangers were regularly being called to pick him up, and the owner’s uncle would
come and collect him. Apparently this had happened more than 20 times over a
period of 4 years, so the
pound staff got to know Jasper quite well. Then came
the time when Jasper found himself in the pound and no one came to collect him -
the owner had a new baby and decided she no longer wanted him, so poor Jasper
had been abandoned.
The Nillumbik pound staff had come to love Jasper as he was such an easy going
Malamute – a gentle giant with an exceptional nature towards other dogs,
particularly considering he was an entire male. He had lived with a Staffy and
on one of their escapades through the streets the Staffy got in a fight with
another dog, yet Jasper did not join in. So, despite our local pound not being
for long term “inmates”, the girls at the pound had a soft spot for him and kept
him there in the hope someone would eventually give him a chance.
We returned from our snow trip to learn that Jasper was still at the pound and
that there had been no interest at all despite him being listed on the AMCV
website for some time. Ralph took a bit of persuasion, but eventually agreed to
bringing Jasper to our place on a trial basis to see if he might fit in. With
seven other dogs it can create problems when a new dog arrives, particularly an
entire male, and of course we had concerns about him trying to continue his
escaping ways so I must confess we were not overly optimistic.
So, after a month at the pound Jasper came into our care. Most of our other
dogs made alot of noise and commotion when he arrived, some of it not so
friendly, however being the only entire male at our place the girls all took an
instant liking to him. Luckily Jasper did not react at all to the grumpy boys
of our family, preferring to turn and walk away from conflict which made it all
so much easier.
We first tethered Jasper to Rob and Tash’s dog float while we sorted out who was
going where in our yards, and he took an instant liking to lying in it and
jumped in and out of the float and untangled himself like a pro – he was
obviously used to being tied up and sleeping in a confined space.
When we fed our dogs that night he looked at the lamb neck we gave him like it
was a foreign object, and was quite tentative as he realised it was actually
edible and started to chew on it. The same for breakfast - it took some time
and some extra meat in the bowl before he decided the mix of dry food, veges and
oats was actually fit for canine consumption, he now loves it.
Our next test was to take Jasper on a weekend of sledding. It started well,
with Jasper jumping straight into our truck (most of our others need to be
lifted!) and settling down in his cubicle for the trip – there was no fuss with
all the other dogs around him which can be a problem in such a confined space.
When we arrived there he was cabled to our truck with the others, which he
accepted as if he had always been a part of the family. Our cheeky young fellow
Gus tried to razz him up, but Jasper didn’t respond so they ended up with tails
wagging – things were looking more and more promising for Jasper.
Then we decided to give Jasper a go at sledding which was a totally new
experience for him, so we harnessed him up with no expectations at all. To our
delight and amazement Jasper took off and ran the whole way around the 2 km
course, passing other dogs without paying any attention and running out in front
pulling the scooter as if he had done it all his life. Jasper was certainly
doing everything right to win Ralph over!
And he wasn’t the only Mal to display the strong sledding instinct they have –
that same weekend Colin and Sharen’s foster girl Shelby did the same running
well in their team on her first time in harness. We always say that Malamutes
have a natural instinct to pull in harness, but still when we see it happen with
a completely inexperienced Mal it never ceases to amaze us. What an incredible
breed we have.
Jasper is not a noisy dog but rather “squeaks” when he wants to be closer to us,
so we joke that he needs oiling! We suspect he may have been either in the
house or on the back doorstep at his previous home, but over time he seems to
have got used to his new digs. Anyhow, Jasper has passed all the tests and will
be spending the rest of his life as part of our furry family.
We would encourage anyone thinking of expanding their Malamute family to
consider adopting a dog in need. Of course precautions need to be taken and a
trial is always a good idea before making any decisions, but with so many dogs
needing new homes it is very rewarding to be able to give one a chance.
would like to thank the girls of the Nillumbik pound for giving this lovely
fellow every chance – they do an amazing job which must so often be
heartbreaking and in very difficult circumstances.
But at least this time there is a happy ending for one dog - lucky Jasper!