SilverHas been Adopted
Approximate Age: 8 years 1 month Gender: Male
Rescued Feb 2014 Adopted Dec 2014
I received a call in February 2014 from a lady saying there is a man who has two young Sibes he is no longer interested in keeping. Both these dogs were permanently on chains and so it was imperative we arrange a rescue as soon as possible. Whilst in the process of doing this however, we received word that the dogs managed to break free and escape from the yard. Several days later we were able to eventually retrieve the male but sadly, to this day, never found the female.
And so began Silver’s journey with Husky Rescue. I was away at the time Silver was found and I arranged with good friends and mutual husky lovers to pick him up and foster him for me. He spent a number of weeks with them but then circumstances changed and they were no longer able to foster him for me, one of the reasons being that he had started fighting with the other males. I then placed him in boarding due to my concern that he would upset the delicate balance of my pack of 30 odd huskies that live in the same space together.
A couple of very long months passed before a possible home came up. I was not directly involved with the screening of this potential home, it was arranged by the people of the facility where he was housed. One week after he was placed, I did a follow up visit and immediately upon arrival, I had my reservations about the success of this home. The people were lovely but the environment was all wrong. Farm with palisade fencing and free range live stock and poultry was for me, an accident waiting to happen.
Sure enough a week later I received a call from the new owners saying Silver had escaped from their farm and killed 25 chickens on the neighbor’s farm. They are no longer able to give him a home. So back to the boarding facility he went.
I visited him regularly to take him out for walks. As each day went by it was becoming more and more difficult to get him back inside the kennel and his anguished howls as I walked away shattered my heart and soul. I was becoming desperate to find this boy a good home, but there was just nothing in sight. I then made the decision to try and integrate him at home.
So early one Saturday morning I loaded Ruby, one of the huskies in our care, into the car, and we left our farm in Cato Ridge and drove through to PMB to re-home her. After introductions went well and contract was signed, I rushed off to fetch Silver. Rushed back down to Cato Ridge, dropped him off and picked up another husky, Apollo, and took him to his new home. After the introductions and contract were done and dusted, I finally headed home. Re-homing Ruby and Apollo freed up some space for Silver to come home.
In the meantime my mom and Shannon, a husky volunteer, decided to integrate Silver into the main husky pack, and by the time I got home he was well settled in, thank goodness because, by then I was also dead on my feet.
The weeks went by and we had a few hairy moments and a couple of drops of blood spilt between Silver and our other big boys, but fortunately nothing unmanageable. But it sure kept us on our toes. And then finally, a breakthrough at last and a message on Face Book, which lead to an email, and Silver finally being adopted.
After an extremely long day on the 31 of December 2014 I finally received a message from Sandra and Nick saying Silver had arrived safely in his new home in Cape Town via a long wait and plane flight. The days that followed were filled with regular messages and photos from Sandra with updates on Silver.
Well, if there was ever a match made in heaven it certainly was with Silver, Sandra and Nick. The pictures speak a thousand words but here is also message from Sandra in her own words:
“Hi Charnell, I can’t even begin to tell you how much love we have for Silver. And him for us! He is so bonded to me it’s incredible. I can’t move a meter without him being right by my side. He has this uncanny ability to convert his dinner to rocket fuel. The task is normally done around 5 am then he takes off like a loopy. He loves to jump into bed with us and cuddle. It’s just too cute. He nestles into me and nibbles gently on my hand. I JUST LOVE IT!! He is like my own real life little bear. I take him for a walk every morning alternating between the park and the beach, swimming and jumping over waves. I’ve joined three leads together to give him more space and save me from having to swim each time too. Silver often looks back at me and smiles with thanks. It makes my heart burst. I want to borrow a Go Pro video camera so I can get a video for you. Normally after his walks he is out for the count, fast asleep most of the day. In the afternoons he always comes to tell me to play. He LOVES his toys. He’s even learnt how to collect them off the shelf and entertain himself. He is such a darling boy. Hope you and the babies are well. Xxx”
Silver waited 18 months to find his happy story.... 9 months on a chain and then another 9 months in foster care and boarding facilities. It was a long wait my boy, but it was worth it.
PS: Just when you thought his story was finished.... I received a whatsapp message from Sandra late in March... “Hi Charnell. I hope you are well. I have some bitter sweet news I want to share with you before you see it on Face book. We adopted a friend for Silver from the Swartland SPCA. I had hoped to get another of your babies but when I saw the post about her on FB I felt I just had to help her. She was so helpless and desperate. She’s a silver grey husky girl. Was picked up as a stray so they have no history for me. We took Silver to meet her last week and it went well. I could not have been prouder of my boy this morning when we brought Agora home. He welcomed her in with a wagging tail. He is patient and gentle with her and even happy to share his bed and treats. I think he is happy to have someone to play with. He is such an angel child. I will take some pics and share with you. Much love xxx”
Well done my boy.... I am proud of you...
Sandra & Nick's side of the story
I first saw Silver on a Facebook post from KZN Husky Rescue. Something about him caught my attention. At the time we were living in Brazil and there was no possible way we could adopt him.
A few months later he appeared again on FB and Nick and I were heading home to South Africa with our two huskies. I said to Nick, that when we return to SA , if he was still up for adoption, I would like to take him. There was just something about him, which made me keep thinking about him day and night.
Sadly, our two remaining huskies passed away, within weeks of each other, during our last eight weeks in Brazil. We were devastated – we arrived back to SA, without any ‘children’ or a home of our own.
Then one day Silver again appeared on FB again. I contacted Charnell immediately and explained that we were living in temporary rented housing until the renovations to our own home were complete. If she could keep Silver for me for another 3 months I would love to have him. The house that we were renting had no fence around it and there was no way I could have taken him at that time. Happily, Charnell agreed.
Nick then happened to be heading to KZN to visit family and an arrangement was made that he could go and see Silver in person. Nick knew at once that this was definitely the dog for us. We wanted a baby that was cuddly and at the same time fun and full of energy for life. One who could be calm and the next minute be bouncing off the wall.
Eventually after what seemed like an eternity, the house was done and it was time to make plans to fly Silver to Cape Town. The day arrived and I think both Charnell and I felt sick waiting for him to get to his new home. It seemed like ages before he was delivered to our house. When he got out of the van and into our yard, he ran around like a mad thing. It seemed that he remembered Nick as he would keep going to him. Eventually he relaxed and we were able to cuddle him and welcome him to his new family.
Every morning he jumps onto our bed with us and want cuddles. Generally, this means laying his impressive 34 Kg body (he’s a big dog) on top of me, and snuggling into my neck. He just loves to be held and stroked and kissed. Nick and I agree that is the best part of our day and if for some reason we don’t get our cuddles, all three of us have a terrible day.
Silver was the dream dog. He never did anything naughty – never dug holes, never ate plants or furniture, never messed inside. He walked like an angel on the lead – no tugging my arm off. We went for walks every day, around the neighbourhood or down to the beach. But I could see he was lonely. He would not want to go home if we hadn’t passed another dog on route. He always wanted to play with any other dog regardless of their size. So, after 3 months of being the spoiled, only child, the time had come where he now needed a friend.
My neighbour showed me a post on Facebook for a female husky at the SPCA up the West Coast. She looked so much like Silver, it felt destined. I immediately made contact with them. The kennel manager suggested we bring Silver along to meet her. The following day we headed off to Darling SPCA to meet Silvers new sister.
He was very friendly and happy to meet her. Sadly, she had just gone into heat and was a bit snappy. She seemed to be a sweet girl though very tiny and skin and bones. It was decided – we were going to take her. The next day, the home inspection was completed and the paper work done. We had to wait for her to be spayed and all her inoculations to be done before we could take her home
When Agora Agora (meaning now in Portuguese – as in her life begins now) finally arrived at her new home, Silver was overjoyed to finally have a sister to play with. He weighed twice what she did and it took no time at all for them to be playing all kinds of husky games and for him to be knocking her over with his brute force and doing his special bunny hops. He does this gorgeous bunny hop when he is happy – its the cutest thing to watch. The initial introduction was great – it was love at first sight for all of us.
By the second day things had started to change. Agora was very snarly and snappy with Silver. She would not allow him to come near me. I couldn’t cuddle him. She’s growl whenever he entered a room and she refused to play. It seemed to get worse as the days progressed. My poor little angel could hardly get to his mother without her snarling and biting him. By the 4th day I was at my wits end. Silver looked so miserable, I was unhappy, Nick was stressed. I have never contemplated returning a rescue dog in my life before, but this was now beginning to look like a possibility.
I decided to do a little research about integrating dogs. All my other integrations had been so easy. I had never experienced this before. Some of the things that I learnt in my research were that perhaps the problem was not with the dogs, but rather with me. This was food for thought. What was I doing that was perhaps upsetting the balance? After much thought about my actions, I suddenly realised that yes, it was me! I was trying to hold Silver in a place of dominance (top dog) as he was my initial baby, the bigger, male dog. To support this behaviour, I would pet him first, acknowledge him first, allow him inside first, feed him first etc. In actual fact, Silver is not a dominant dog at all. He is the most non-confrontational, submissive dog I have ever met. As soon as I changed my actions and began feeding Agora first and acknowledging her first things began to change and once again the house was filled with love.
Silver and Agora are the 5th and 6th huskies Nick and I have had the privileged of loving. Never before have any of our other dogs adored each other like these two do. They will lie with their limbs resting on one another. Agora shadows Silver’s every move. They are never apart. Even if one lags behind on a walk the other one will stop and wait. They are constantly kissing and sniffing each other. It is just the most beautiful thing to watch.
Since Agora’s arrival our little angel Silver has certainly learnt some naughty tricks. Together, they can almost pull me over when we go for our walks (their combined weight being more than mine). Digging holes is definitely way more enjoyable when shared with friends. And plants are a tasty in between meal snack. Does it matter? Would I change it? Not for a second. These two little creatures (together) are the love of our lives and bring a joy I could never describe.
My advise: If you are thinking of adopting – do it. Know what you are getting – the good and the bad and be prepared for challenges. The rewards are out of this world!
Sandra and Nick Hansen