By John Ramos

BURLINGAME (KPIX 5) — A Bay Area animal shelter is seeing a spike in Siberian Huskies being returned that may have to do with the popular HBO series “Game of Thrones.”

Most who visit the Peninsula Humane Society shelter in Burlingame do so because they love animals.  But lately some have come here for love of a television show.

“Game of Thrones” is the wildly popular HBO fantasy series about warring families in a dark medieval world. One of the clans maintains a pack of huge vicious wolves known as “dire wolves.”

Unfortunately, now, life is trying to imitate art.

“People are wanting to adopt dogs that look like these dire wolves, and huskies tend to have a wolf-like appearance to them,” said Buffy Martin Tarbox of the Peninsula Humane Society.

The shelter has seen a surge in Siberian Huskies; twice as many from January as the past three years.  They had three of the dogs just this weekend.

It’s known as the “Dalmatian effect,” when people want animals simply because they see them on TV or the movies.

“It’s a fantasy. People like the fantasy without looking into what the reality of owning one of these dogs is like,” said Patty LaCava, a member of the Bay Area Siberian Husky Club.

LaCava says the animals may have a cool wolf-like appearance, but they can be a handful for owners.

“They are very high-energy.  And they’re not super trainable because they get very bored with training,” explained LaCava.

It takes commitment to own a Husky. That’s why so many are ending up in shelters as owners become frustrated with the demanding breed.

But many who come in to adopt a pet based on a craze don’t think about the commitment they are making.

“This is a match for life, not just for a short term,” said Martin Tarbox.

It’s a sad reminder that the pets will still be here, even after people move on to the next hot show.

Comments (12)
  1. idiots figures they are from Ca.

  2. This is a horribly written article. Are we sure this author was properly educated? He should have proof read it before release.

  3. MC PA Veva says:

    People don’t think of consequences of owning them until they are adults. My sister had a Malamute that tipped the scale at over 200 lbs. Luckily she kept him all his life..he was a good dog. I have neighbors who own Wolf Hybrids…not so good if not cared for. Our pounds are full of adult pit-bull mixes, Mastiffs and Shepherds… dumped because they had the “audacity” to become adults. It is a shame.

  4. abroad1 says:

    Such a sad example of how many totally ignorant people there are in the world/California.

  5. If you want a DIRE wolf – then breed a Russian Mountian Dog with a Irish Wolf Hound – that would give you a huge nasty looking dog. But look out, because huge dogs are a hand full to train if they decide they don’t like you, or you are the type of dog owner who thinks hitting a dog is OK – then expect this animal will turn on you, and rip your face off. Dogs remember abuses and neglect and keep score – Fair Warning. I had a Malamute in the 1970’s, and she was very difficult to train…plus once she discovered she could jump the four foot high chain link fence – and take off – I gave her to a guy who was into Sled Dog training and racing. I couldn’t handle her.

  6. Yet more proof that people are a**holes. Most dogs can be taught to do some very basic and essential behaviors just because they want to please their owner. But if you take on an animal, the commitment has to be to that animal and not to some future, well-trained version of that animal. Otherwise you do not deserve to have an animal in your life. If these dogs are bred for sled dog racing, then the breed should be allowed to die out. Sled dog racing is abuse.