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