Emma and Jacob were familiar with the Dumb Friends League and had been looking for a husky for some time. One day, Jacob noticed a husky mix on the League’s website and asked Emma if they should go “just to look.” For sweet Astrid (formerly known as Hazel), that “look” was everything in the way of a new loving home and family—especially after a rough start.
The Colorado Humane Society (CHS) works to prevent and investigate animal neglect and mistreatment and promote animal welfare throughout Colorado. It was a CHS case that brought the 2-year-old Siberian husky to the League. Astrid arrived malnourished, underweight and with heavily matted fur. She also had severe dental disease, requiring our veterinarians to extract several teeth, and she had cloudy eyes and was diagnosed with pannus, a condition affecting a dog’s cornea and impairs vision. Despite everything not in Astrid’s favor, this sweet and gentle soul loved treats, walks, quiet conversations, comfy beds, sunshine and lots of head pets.
When Emma and Jacob came to the League to meet Astrid, Emma recalled the pup was lying with her head down, only her eyes moving, on the floor in the middle of her kennel. “She looked very scared. (Knowing her as we do now, she was probably very uncomfortable being out in the open and wanted to hide under something.) She was beautiful and so sweet.” When the couple went into a separate room to meet with Astrid, she immediately went under Jacob’s chair and seemed very comfortable there. “There was no way we could leave her after that,” said Emma!
It took time for Astrid to adjust to her new home, which wasn’t unexpected, but Emma and Jacob took it slow. “She had obviously been mistreated and was very timid and scared,” said Emma. “Astrid had to be hand-fed at first, and we needed to have her tail and parts of her body shaved because of severe matting. We also needed to get her used to my cat—and she’s still afraid of the cat, big as she is, haha. Astrid immediately made herself a ‘den’ under our dining room table, which she has kept to this day.”
Astrid loves to be by either of her humans at all times. Emma said, “It took her about a year to really start playing, and when she did, it brought tears to my eyes. Even now, it’s kind of funny to watch; she doesn’t really know how to play with toys or other dogs properly and looks super goofy when she tries.” Emma and Jacob knew that huskies need mental and physical stimulation to keep out of mischief, and they were prepared for a high energy dog who needed constant stimulation and might try to escape their yard, but instead, the couple ended up with a “65-pound sweet fluff ball who would prefer to lay on a soft bed all day and sleep!” Astrid may be on to something!
Still on the timid side, it’s not surprising to learn that Astrid is a “very slow-to-warm dog.” But, now, when she sees the couple’s friends or other people she knows, Astrid gets so excited and makes this horrible crying noise that sounds like she’s dying. We all express our excitement in unique ways, right? “She makes the same noise when she tries to ‘play’ with other dogs,” said Emma, “and it sounds so awful that often their owners will call them off thinking she’s been hurt! I have to explain it’s just because she’s a diva and never learned how to play correctly as a puppy.”
Astrid enjoys the Colorado lifestyle with her guardians. “As lazy as she is, Astrid loves hiking and camping,” said Emma. “We were worried about how skittish she is about her sleeping in the tent, but the opposite turned out to be true. After walking all day, right after dinner, she demanded to go into the tent and didn’t come out until the next day!” Oh, Astrid!
In case you’re wondering about the eye condition that Astrid began treatment for when she came to the League, there’s good news on that front. Emma and Jacob took Astrid to a dog ophthalmologist, and Emma is happy to report that Astrid has been in remission since about last June. “It took a long time, and she’s going to need eye drops for the rest of her life, but her eyes are no longer as pigmented, swollen or teary,” said Emma. “As far as we can tell, Astrid doesn’t really have trouble seeing (other than maybe when all the lights are off at night) and gets around like normal.”
Life came full circle when Emma and Jacob welcomed another dog into their home. Now, Astrid tries to play with her new canine brother, and he’s the one who doesn’t know what to do. We think Astrid will be an excellent teacher!
“Astrid was so obviously loved and cared for by all League staff, many of whom stopped to say goodbye as we were finalizing things with her adoption,” said Emma. “Thank you for all the medical care you provided to Astrid before she came into our home. I would also say to other potential adopters to not be afraid of adopting a special needs dog (like Astrid with her history of maltreatment, eye condition, dental disease and major fur issues) as they can often be the most rewarding to have in your life.”
Visit ddfl.org today to find your new fluff ball and give a pup like Astrid a happy home and family!