You are a great looking dog! You look so much like our Tigs, are you sure you’re a Husky?
Yep, I am a genuine, happy, fun-loving husky. And, I have been described as quite mellow, an easy keeper, and I don’t get excited too easily (unless I see a squirrel!)
Do you really live in Alaska?
You bet I do! I live in Alaska, in what we call the Interior. The nearest town of any size is Fairbanks which is a full 140 miles off. We also have a piece of land in Fairbanks, but only camp out there now, nothing built on it yet. My Human has to work in a far off place, so I am a regular at my boarding kennel- lots of fun and friends there, it’s great! Plus, when I’m there I can use the computer and visit with my friends around the world.
How did you get your name?
Ha ha! Not a very imaginative name, is it?
Well actually…we haven’t heard that name before.
When I first showed up at my forever home, I was just called “Red Dog”…when it was apparent I was here to stay, some thought was given to a ‘real’ name. “Rufous” is an orangish-brown color, so we went with that. My Human thinks I look like a “Rufous” anyhow, so the name stuck.
We like it. Did you know Rufous is also the name of a hummingbird? Maybe that explains why, well, no that doesn’t explain anything.
How old are you?
I came into my current home as a stray, so they estimate my age around 12.
Yes, a stray. Back in July 2003, I found myself homeless; I had been dumped off along this very rural stretch of road to fend for myself.
Oh no, that doesn’t sound good.
It wasn’t, but then one day my Human was driving along and saw me. I followed him back to the homestead and he took me in and fed me; he figured I was lost, so spent quite some time looking for my owners. He had an older husky named Ace, who was in poor health and wouldn’t be around to see another winter. He didn’t realize it at the time, but I was sent to help him deal with the pain of losing his old friend – it wasn’t until Ace was gone he decided we needed to make it permanent.
Sounds like things were meant to be.
What’s it like where you live in Alaska?
We live on a remote 40 acre homestead- there are no close neighbors. There is no power, water, septic, or other services many take for granted in the lower 48 states.
Wow, sounds like you’re roughing it Rufous?
No, not really. We have learned to adapt, and don’t miss town life at all. It is mostly rolling hills; we live on a pretty steep hill with a creek down at the bottom. There was a large wildfire that went through the area several years ago- almost all the big trees were burned, but we saved our cabin and outbuildings.
That must have been awful, I’m glad that you were able to save your home.
Who makes up your pack?
It’s usually just me and Dad at home, but we sometimes bring a foster dog home to visit with us. My kennel takes in fosters now and then, and we like to take them out to our place for a fun vacation (I told you it was a great kennel!).
That sounds great, I bet the foster dogs enjoy some time away with you.
Are you really a husky?
Yes, I am an Alaskan Husky- a rather loosely defined breed. We are not recognized by American Kennel Club (AKC) but are quite common up North.
I know that your homestead is dog-friendly, but what’s it like in the city areas?
I’d say Fairbanks, Alaska is fairly dog- friendly, not a lot of problems with breed bans or anything like that. There are definitely a LOT of dogs in town, including dog mushers who may have dozens of dogs in their lots.
Any dog parks?
Yes, there are 2 dog parks in Fairbanks, we go visit when we can, especially if we have a foster dog along.
What’s it like for you at home?
At home I am given the free range option, so I can go exploring any time I want. I like to walk up and down our 2 mile driveway, looking for rabbits or squirrels to bark at.
That sounds like something we’d enjoy too.
In Fairbanks, are dogs allowed in restaurants?
I don’t know about restaurants, maybe service dogs can…sometimes we go through the hamburger joint’s drive through and I get a burger!
Are dogs allowed on transit?
No, not that I am aware of.
Do dogs in Alaska generally wear clothes?
Many of the breeds that are not used to cold weather wear jackets when outside in the winter. We huskies are built for the cold. I can be outside at 40 below without a lot of discomfort.
Do most people have dogs there?
I would guess about half the people do… some (such as the mushers) have LOTS!
What is the climate like there? Is it ALWAYS winter conditions?
Well, this is subarctic, less than 100 miles from the Arctic Circle- winters can see temperatures of 50 below or colder. In fact, it’s not unusual for it to remain below zero for weeks in the winter. We do have summers though and they can be quite hot. It can up to the 90’s, but usually 60’s. We don’t get much rain, less than 14” a year, but summer thunderstorms not uncommon.
And is it dark all the time?
No, it depends on the season. We only get 3-4 hours of daylight during the darkest part of winter. But then it is light 24 hours a day during the middle of summer!
What is your favourite local treat to eat?
I love salmon!
What do dogs up in Alaska do for fun?
There is lots of fun stuff for dogs!
I like to chase bunnies and bark at squirrels, or sometimes at the occasional moose or bear that wanders by.
Moose or Bear? Did I read that right?
Yes you did!
Then in summer I love to go for swims in our pond. I also love road trips, and have been lucky enough to have traveled all over the state. My best times are just spent lying on the front porch, watching the world go by.
Thank you SO much for sharing your world with us Rufous. You aren’t really so far away from us here on Canada’s west coast but your world is entirely different from ours. It was really great to learn about Alaska!