Spirit Huskador: Notes on a foster dog

This playful, spirited  boy is just a pup and has not had much if any training, but we’ll get him settled down and teach him to be a Good Boy.

Last Updated: June 13, 2020

Base Info:

    • Arrival date: Apr. 30, 2020
    • Breed: Husky / Black Lab mix
    • Sex: Male
    • Age: Youth,  Adult, Mature, Senior
      Birthdate: November 2019
    • Weight: 24.3 Pounds
    • Neutered: May 14, 2020
    • General Health: Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor
    • Temperament: Playful, vigorous, affectionate
    • PetFinder Listing
    • Available for adoption?  ADOPTED
    • Departure date: June 12, 2020


Spirit was one of four dogs surrendered by a family claiming they were moving and they could not afford to support the dogs.  Spirit spent only a few hours at the Friends Animal Shelter of Cocke County before we happened by and agreed to take him.  The shelter manager knew he, being a Husky, would degrade quickly  in close confinement.  She also wants him adopted to someone experienced in handling Huskies, which she is not likely to find locally.  We are able to give him more comfortable accommodations and cast a wider net for a proper permanent home, so we took him with us.

Spirit’s Progress Summary:

Detailed notes on this foster dog’s progress are posted below the summary.

Relational Behavior

  • Relates well to other dogs: Some dogs.
  • Can eat food/treats near other dogs: No
  • Preferred style of play: RUNNING and nipping
  • Is affectionate: Yes
  • Is good with:
    . Men: Yes
    . Women: Yes
    . Children: Yes (Too rowdy for toddlers)
    . Cats: Unknown but probably not (Husky)
  • Jumps up on people: Likes to give hugs
  • Mouths: Yes, but doing better.
  • Walks well on a leash: No.  Working on that.

House Dog Training

  • Willingly enters his crate: No Yes
  • Is calm/quiet while in crate: No Yes
  • Understands going outside to potty: Yes
  • Alerts me of need to go outside: Yes
  • Is destructive of bedding and/or toys: Yes
  • Refrains from kitchen counter cruising: No Yes
  • Stays off people furniture: No Yes



  • Comes when called: Yes
  • Sits on command: Yes
  • Down / Off: Yes
  • Shake / Paw: Not yet
  • Kennels on command: Not reliably, almost


  • DA2PP: 04/30/2020 Friends Animal Shelter
    . Booster: 05/14/2020 (Cedarwood)
  • Bordatella: 04/30/2020 FAS
  • Wormed: Dates | Product | Dose | By
    .   04/30 – 05/02  Panacur  5ml  PMFC
  • Rabies: May 14 Cedarwood Veterinary
  • Neuter: May 14 Cedarwood Veterinary
  • Heartworm Test:
    .  May 14 Cedarwood Veterinary: NEGATIVE
  • Flea/Tick preventative:
    .  05/03/2020 Fipronil 9.70% 23-45 pounds
  • Heartworm preventative:
    . 05/15/2020, Ivermectin, .25 ml
  • Microchipped? YES (PetKey) Not yet registered.
  • NOTES:
    .  Thin and bony under his fur, working on that
    .  Carprophen (75 mg) given for 5 days after neuter.


4health Puppy kibble, 1½ cups AM, 1½ cups PM.  Retriever Beef Stick mid-day, PMFC Peanut Butter Cookies for compliance.


In chronological order, newest at the bottom.

Progress Updates

Progress notes are listed below, in chronological order, newest at the bottom.

May 3

Spirit has been with us a few days now and we’ve had a chance to evaluate his behavior.

He is a rowdy boy and tends to get wild when we interact with him.  But, when we catch a moment when he settles to pet him, he calms down immediately and will happily stand, leaning against our legs, enjoying his petting.  When he’s had enough petting he wanders off into the yard to play.  If we stop too soon he gets rowdy again.

Being a Husky he is vocal, but he is quiet at night.  He is playful, but a bit assertive with the other dogs.  I’m working on helping him learn his place in the pack.  Getting him neutered will help.

He does guard-food.  As skinny as he is that’s not surprising.  I would not feed him with other dogs yet.

He appears to be in good health.  He’s been wormed and saw no worms being ejected.  We’ll get his rabies, microchip, and a health screening as soon as we can schedule the neuter.

May 5

Being just a puppy, Spirit has an energetic, playful side. But he also has a sweet, attentive side. But, it would seem, no middle ground at all!

May 11

In the past I have allowed Spirit to play in the yard with some of the other dogs.  He did fine with Buddy: he intimidates lil Josephine, but she hunkers down and waits for him to lose interest.  Blondie will play with him sometimes and when he gets too rowdy she tells him off.  Generally he listens and runs off to play in the yard.  I don’t trust him around Callie.  Callie has been getting … reactive, to pushy dogs.  Best to keep them separate for now.

Spirit has started being hateful toward other dogs when they are in the yard and he is kenneled, especially Callie and Buddy.  I assumed it was because they were free and he confined.  The other day I let Spirit out of his kennel with Buddy in the yard.  Spirit was on a long lead.  He took off toward Buddy and I clamped down on that lead.  I burned my hand, but stopped him a couple feet short of Buddy while Spirit snapped and snarled at Buddy.  Buddy just stood there looking at him like, “What’s YOUR problem?”  I reeled Spirit in and put him back in his kennel.

Blondie is big enough to intimidate him when he gets too rowdy, I’m keeping him away from the Beagles for now.  He’s scheduled to be neutered later this week, maybe that will take the spit and vinegar out of him.

May 14

Spirit was neutered today.  He passed his Heartworm test, so I can put him on a preventative.  He was clear of intestinal parasites.  And he did well in his surgery.  He rebounded quickly and has been quite active and HUNGRY since he got home.  I am having trouble keeping a cone on him, being a Husky he is quite clever in finding ways to get it off (and chew it up).  This will likely be this cone’s last tour of duty!

May 19

Spirit has done exceptionally well in his surgery recovery and in his efforts to destroy the cone he wears to keep him from licking at his incision.

May 22

Spirit finds the cone he’s wearing frustrating and entertaining at the same time.  It impedes his free movement, limits his vision, and interferes with feeding and drinking.  He learned quickly to hold his head up while running so the cone does not dig in and send him into a somersault.  Eating and drinking are still a comically messy process because the cone tends to flip his dish over.

When bored, he does his best to eat the cone.  He has gotten out of it a couple of times, but he did not go straight to licking his incision.  That is still looking fine, and I will remove (and dispose of) his cone Sunday evening.  That will reduce his frustration level and make him more compliant again.

May 30

Spirit had a meet-n-greet with Alicia and her dog, Savage.  Savage is a full-blooded Husky and Alicia has done a great job of training him, he is a calm, gentle, patient fellow.  Alicia wants a play mate for Savage, but as we brought them together Spirit insisted on trying to nip Savage in the face.  I had Spirit on a lead so I was able to prevent that from happening, but he would not be dissuaded.  We eventually labeled this attempt a failure and they left.  I downgraded is rating for dog compatibility a notch.  I think he was trying to play, but it was inappropriate play.


We have had inquiries about adopting him.  As to “Is he housebroken?”, I have to answer: probably.

He was living with a family and three other dogs.  I do not know what their living arrangements were, but Spirit definitely knows what the door to the house is and wants in there.  When he needs to potty he does yell for me and if I’m quick he will hold it until released into the yard.

He plays hard and is destructive of blankets and toys.  Not in an aggressive way, just being playful.  I would crate him when left alone in a home for an extended time, at least until he learns the routine and rules of your home.

Why Limited to a Husky-Experienced Home?

Huskies are a unique breed in the dog world.  They are exceptionally smart, and as is typical of the smarter breeds, they tend to be … opinionated.  If you let them, they will dominate your home.  Heading that off is not difficult, it just takes consistency in making it clear that you are the pack leader.  Most Huskies also shed like crazy — this has not been the case with Spirit, but as a rule, they do.  Huskies tend to be vocal and like to converse with their owners, sometimes loudly.  Huskies are strong, energetic dogs with tons of stamina (sled dogs, duh!).  If any of this will grate on your nerves, you do not want a Husky.

Not long ago shelters worked through a glut of Huskies because people saw them on Game of Thrones and wanted one, only to find they were not prepared for Husky ownership and dumped them.  I know, I worked in a shelter then and saw it first hand.  It was heart breaking seeing these gorgeous, personality filled dogs being adopted because they were Huskies and then returned days later because they were … Huskies.

But, for those who will set and maintain boundaries; have the time, space, and energy to work with the dog; and own a good vacuum; Huskies are highly rewarding and entertaining companions.

On the Up Side

For a Husky, Spirit is not as vocal as most (usually), he hardly sheds at all, he likes to play in water, and he is quite a lover (all traits he gets from his Lab side).  And he is a gorgeous dog.  He’s really smart.  Small for a Husky, he’s easier to leash walk.  He will make a great companion … for someone who isn’t expecting him to be a lazy Labrador.

June 12, 2020

I love you, Mamma, take me home with you!

After quite a few inquiries and two false starts on adoption (both fell through after being approved), Spirit was adopted today.  His new Mom has lots of Husky experience, a fenced yard, and her references checked out glowingly and quickly.   She had all the information I needed and we don’t (can’t) do home inspections, so I saw no good reason to make her wait while we considered it.  I did call the other member of the adoption committee and discussed it with her, so it was still done “by the book” it’s just a smaller book than what rescues do.

Spirit looked a little confused at first, “Where are we going, Mamma?” But he settled in and once they got to hi new home had had TOYS to play with and gas to lounge in, an ladies to dote on him. He’s a HAPPY BOY!

Happy tails, Spirit!

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