I understand: seeing the Starks get their direwolves is jealousy-inducing. Not only do the Starks get lifelong companions, but ones who will apparently sit by their side even after they die and will wait patiently for their inevitable resurrection. Great dogs. But they don’t really exist—a fact apparently unbeknownst to a segment of hardcore Game of Thrones fans, who, having adopted direwolf lookalikes, malamutes and huskies, are now abandoning them.
It’s not a new problem. The UK’s Battersea Dogs and Cats home noticed a sharp uptick in abandoned huskies and malamutes coming through their doors right after the premiere of Game of Thrones. In 2010, just before the series aired, fifty-three huskies and malamutes were handed over to Battersea. In 2013, the number doubled to 116.
Image Via HBO
It makes some sense that fans wouldn’t keep the dogs. Huskies and malamutes require a tonne of exercise and don’t do well for long periods alone. They’re hard dogs to own in a city or if nobody’s home for a long time. It’s sad, though, that these fans have decided to display their fanaticism via dogs they were unprepared to own.
Tyrion Lannister actor Peter Dinklage recently spoke out against the trend, saying:
Not only does this hurt all the deserving homeless dogs waiting for a chance at a good home in shelters, but shelters are also reporting that many of these huskies are being abandoned — as often happens when dogs are bought on impulse, without understanding their needs.
Battersea reported that only seventy-four huskies and malamutes were left to them in 2017, which is a hopeful sign. The efforts to educate fans on the realities of owning these dogs seem to be paying off. In any case, this probably isn’t what George R. R. Martin intended to happen. And it’s probably best to remember the maxim: Adopt, don’t shop.
Feature Image Via Wide Open Pets