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Orphaned pup now enjoying family life 

Edited by Melanie Dziengo

A year ago, Mishka was an orphan on a reserve in northern Manitoba. Underweight and malnourished, survival was a daily struggle. Today, the 11 month old husky mix lives a happy life in southern Ontario. Mishka’s owner, Heather Lutz, talks about Mishka’s adjustment into her forever family, the process of getting a second dog, and the joy the dog has brought Heather and her family. 


We first learned about Mishka once we were approved by Niagara Dog Rescue (NDR) to adopt, and we were sent some pictures of Mishka. She’s from Garden Hill Reserve in northern Manitoba, and was found alone at 7 and a half weeks. None of her siblings or mother were found. Mishka hid in tall grass, and it took her rescuer from Manitoba Animal Alliance two days to capture her as she was very afraid of humans. She was flown from Garden Hill to Winnipeg, and spent time with her foster mother there. Once she was ready for transport, she went from Winnipeg to Marathon, Ont., and then to St. Catharines, Ont., where we picked her up from NDR. 


We adopted Mishka in June 2020 because my entire family loves dogs, and we had been thinking about getting a second one for a while. Since I would be working from home, we thought it would be a good time to get a new puppy.


She is the happiest and friendliest dog I have ever met. She loves everyone, and she genuinely seems to be so happy and appreciative that she was adopted and found her forever family.


At first, bringing Mishka in was a little difficult because our 15-year-old dog does not like many dogs. This is why it was important for us to adopt a female puppy — so he would be more accepting. It took him some time, but he seems happy to have her now.



Photo courtesy of @lmiskha_the_rescue_dog



Mishka adjusted very well to our house and family, and didn't seem to need much decompression time at all. The biggest adjustment was of us, having a puppy again, and slowly introducing and making our older dog comfortable with her. Mishka did not seem afraid of humans when we adopted her, but was (and still is) afraid of loud noises like lawn mowers and snow plows.


NDR’s adoption process was amazing. They were organized, efficient, and responsive. They gave us resources for training and followed up on how Mishka was doing. Also, there was a trial period, but it was love at first sight so there was no going back once we got her. 


As pet owners, what we've learned is how patient we can be going through the adjustment period of a new puppy. Our current dog is almost 16-years-old, so I have a new awareness of diet and training that I did not have before. We have met so many great people and dogs as part of the NDR family. I have an immense respect for the new friends that have adopted rescues coming with certain challenges and issues. The work and love they put into helping their dogs adjust and overcome fears is incredible! I'm learning along with them on how to help these dogs become successful in their new homes.


Photo courtesy of @mishka_the_rescue_dog

Adopting a rescue is so fulfilling! However, people do need to understand some of these dogs come with their own challenges and that an adopter needs to be patient and willing to put in the work to help these dogs adjust. They deserve the best life, and that requires time, patience, and training. 


Some advice I have for people looking to adopt a husky is they are a very high energy, talkative breed. They require a lot of exercise and attention and can be stubborn. They tend to be pack animals and would prefer to have company, and are also very fun, friendly, smart and lovable breeds. 

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