All across San Francisco, animal shelters say they’ve started seeing a troubling new trend: surrendered huskies with “funny” names.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, those names include Lady, Ghost, Nymeria, Grey Wind, Summer and Stark. To some people, they may not mean anything. For fans of the hit HBO fantasy show “Game of Thrones,” the connection is obvious.
Direwolves are the pet wolves of one of the series’ main families, the Starks, and while on the show they have been portrayed by a combination of Northern Inuit dogs and actual wolves, fans of the show have apparently attempted to get other breeds just like them.
For the most part, according to the Economic Times, this has resulted in a boom of new dog owners looking for Siberian huskies and other breeds that resemble wolves.
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The problem is that huskies and other large dogs like them require lots of exercise, according to KRON — up to seven or 10 miles of walking per day. On a five-star scale, Dogtime.com rates Siberian huskies as a five-star breed in their need for exercise and energy level. The website also gives the breed one star for their compatibility with novice dog owners.
“They were bred to pull sleds for hundreds of miles. They’re not barkers, but they do talk a lot,” Patty LaCava, a member of the Bay Area Siberian Husky Club, told KRON. “And they’re very demonstrative in what they have to say.”
In 2014, the Independent reported that there had been a 700 percent increase in the number of huskies abandoned over a five-year period in the U.K. One shelter in Martinez, California, reported a 300 percent increase in surrendered huskies since “Game of Thrones” began airing in 2011, per KGO.
According to some shelter owners that spoke with the San Francisco Chronicle and KRON, this is not the first time a movie or TV show has featured a breed of dog, resulting in an increase in ownership. “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” and “101 Dalmatians” were both cited as examples.