Doc Watson: A primer on the Siberian Husky

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huskies winter walk 2016

Many of you have heard me talking about my Siberian Husky dogs on the air. Some of you have seen me walking some combination of them over the years in North Peoria. We have three currently.

Our oldest, Sky, is 12 years old and came into our lives when we purchased our first set as Christmas gifts for our kids in 2004. My wife’s mom was living with us, nearing the end of her 4-year battle with cancer, and we were too exhausted to Christmas shop that year! His brother, Dakota, died unexpectedly, a couple months short of his 9th birthday, due to a brain tumor that was pushing against his nasal cavity. We thought we would get Sky a running mate some months down the line, but only lasted three, sad weeks before re-upping with another totally adorable set of husky puppies, Vance and Saber, three years ago.

I tallied up the mileage from our 2016 walks recently and the total was 177.3 miles, about the distance from Peoria to Chicago. They are an active, lovable breed and like to be walked. That’s why I think they should be bought in pairs, so they have a buddy to play, run and wrestle with. Also, if you’re thinking about owning a husky, know that they are expert escape artists. Our first pair learned they could leap over our four-foot chain link fence like a deer, so we had to sleeve over it with larger poles and install a six-foot fence.

The other morning, with my jaw still emanating pain from having a molar pulled the day before, I was walking my three boys in zero-degree wind chill weather. One car pulled up next to me, wanting to talk. Usually, I’m chatty and an ambassador for Huskies and dog ownership, in general. Not so much this morning, as the wind ripped through my cheeks, drawing tears.

So, in the interest of saving myself from frostbite on days like this and not wanting to seem reticent, here are some common answers I give to questions fielded while walking the huskies, some borrowed from the website Indy Homes for Huskies,a Siberian Husky rescue dog operation in Indianapolis, just a four hour drive from here. If we ever want another dog, we’ll adopt one from there or our local Peoria County Animal Protection Services, formerly called PAWS, as we did with our first dog and cat we adopted in 1998.

Below are some common responses I give to Frequently Asked Questions about huskies

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Hope this helps. They are wonderful dogs, very adorable, and show just the right amount of affection. I wouldn’t recommend them unless you have a fenced-in yard. Our vets have said they should never be allowed out without a leash on, as they will run and run when they get loose. It’s frightening when it happens and our family goes into serious DEFCON recovery mode.

On one occasion, our original pair, Sky and Dakota, were not found by us. They ran across busy University Avenue, we’re told, and eventually crossed back and were discovered by a couple neighborhood young girls who had seen them on our walks. They returned them to us, but it was very scary!

About the Author
Doc Watson likes to say he's not a real doctor, "but I play one on the radio." A native of Allen Park, Mich., he became a transplanted Peorian in 1996 when he came here to start the Morning Mix TV/radio simulcast show. Now he's a jock with 95.5 GLO and is " happy to be playing the music of my misguided youth." Though known for his voice, he occasionally dabbles with the written word and does that pretty well, too.