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After several shelters reported an uptick in the number of husky dogs arriving at their doorsteps, a Game of Thrones actor is pleading with fans not to buy huskies, or adopt them without serious consideration about their longterm care.
The call comes after a San Francisco Bay Area shelter said earlier this month that it believed a recent surge in husky-type dogs up for adoption was tied to the popularity of Game of Thrones and the direwolves on the show. Any dog is a big responsibility, and huskies are no exception. In fact, huskies are known for being noisy, destructive, energetic, and heavy shedders. This means that they need to be consistently exercised, well trained, groomed, and given plenty of attention if you want a happy dog and an unruined home.
Many people buying huskies because of Game of Thrones hype don’t seem to realize the amount of work that goes into caring for a large, energetic dog. When that reality hits, some take their little Nymeria to the nearest shelter.
PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has put out a plea in collaboration with Game of Thrones own Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion Lannister, asking fans to stop irresponsibly purchasing these small “direwolves” unless they are prepared to keep them for life.
“Please, to all of Game of Thrones‘ many wonderful fans, we understand that due to the direwolves’ huge popularity, many folks are going out and buying huskies,” Dinklage said. “Not only does this hurt all the deserving homeless dogs waiting for a chance at a good home in shelters, but shelters are also reporting that many of these huskies are being abandoned—as often happens when dogs are bought on impulse, without understanding their needs. Please, please, if you’re going to bring a dog into your family, make sure that you’re prepared for such a tremendous responsibility and remember to always, ALWAYS, adopt from a shelter.”
Since the show began airing in 2011, many breed-specific shelters have seen their numbers double, according to PETA, and already overburdened shelters are forced to euthanize large numbers of animals each year. On top of this, smart breeds like huskies get attached to people quickly. When you invite them into your home only to abandon them, it’s difficult for the pet.
It is unsurprising that fans have gone on a bit of a buying frenzy following the popularity of the show, but dogs are not memorabilia, and new owners should be aware of their significant responsibilities.
Nahila Bonfiglio reports on geek culture and gaming. Her work has also appeared on KUT's Texas Standard (Austin), KPAC-FM (San Antonio), and the Daily Texan.