It all started December 25, 2017 when Grandpoppa said “Let’s go to Alaska.” If we hadn’t gone to Alaska, Ian would have never know what he was missing. But we did go to Alaska, and while there, he discovered that his life just isn’t worth living without a husky to share it. And thus began Ian’s obsession.
Ian’s pack of plush dogs grew alongside his fascination. Every day he found more opportunities to remind his parents how much he wanted a husky of his very own. Brinn and I presented a united front early on, but our resolve eventually began to weaken. Well, mine did. And Brinn just kind of went with me.
Eventually we found ourselves conducting a lot of research, then looking at local options. We ended up calling a breeder for more information, and she invited us to come and view her litter to see if we wanted to put down a deposit on a pup. We planned to let Ian pick one out Easter evening, but the breeder called us that morning to share that the pups were ready to wean, and if we wanted, we could pick one out and take it home that day. Nana helped with the cost as this pup would be Ian’s birthday present, so we cut short our family camping trip, packed Ian and his bike up, and took off to pick up his early birthday surprise.
Ian knew Balto was his as soon as he laid eyes on him. When we pulled up at the breeder’s home, Brinn convinced Ian to close his eyes before he got out of the truck, and he carried him around to the back yard where the puppies were kept. Ian kept his eyes jammed shut until he heard the mama dog bark. His eyes flew open as puppies bomb rushed him, and he immediately scooped up the cream colored male. Ian discovered love at first lick, and knew that this was his dog. We tried to convince Ian to play with the other pups, and for 30 minutes Brinn tried to persuade Ian to consider taking home the adorable grey female, but Ian wasn’t having it. He knew exactly which puppy was for him, and thus the cream pup was christened Balto.
We brought Balto home and began the process of helping him adapt to his new life. The first evening was rough as he missed his brothers and sisters. He tried to curl up beside Mogwai and Chaco, but they weren’t thrilled to have a little brother. After taking Balto out for a last potty break, we shut him in his crate which we’d placed in Ian’s room. As soon as we left the room he started crying, and he proceeded to cry for the next two hours. We thought he had finally cried himself to sleep, but when we peeped in to check, we found that he had a new source of comfort. With our exhaustion combined with the cuteness, we just let it ride. This became the routine for several nights until Balto became more comfortable with his crate and sleeping on his own.
Balto had moved in with us right in the middle of stage 3 of barn building. He quickly had to evolve from husky pup to barn dog. Originally Grandpoppa had been strong with us on our resolve to hold out on waiting to buy Ian a puppy. He also supported the opinion that we did not need a husky in hot, humid middle Tennessee. Grandpoppa is usually the first one to cave to Ian’s wants, but on this one he was staying strong…until he actually met Balto. Not only did Balto take to his life as a barn dog, but he also attached strongly to Grandpoppa, who has grown pretty fond of the pup.
Ian spent his summer falling more in love with Balto. I don’t think there has ever been a more wanted husky on the planet. They’ve had quite a few adventures already as Ian has stayed busy teaching Balto to hike, kayak, play in the creek, drive the gocart, and work the farm. It hasn’t been all smooth sailing, as Balto’s favorite chew toy seems to be human flesh, but Ian listened closely to the vet’s training advice and stuck with the program. Balto’s biting has decreased, but we still can’t break him of his pickpocket habit where he steals your shoe right off your foot without you noticing. I’m not sure if he loves my house slippers or hates them, but he puts quite a bit of effort into tracking and attacking them. Oddly enough, Balto doesn’t really destroy shoes or toys. He enjoys chewing, but doesn’t completely destroy objects the way Mogwai does. I’ve never seen a dog take better care of his toys!
Balto. Fluffy. Shark Teeth. Sharp Tooth. Fluff Fluff. Fluffernutter. Fluffy Teeth. Fluffy Shark. Nutterbutter. Pup Pup. No Bite! When Ian brought this many-named dog home, he only weighed 6 pounds. Now the 6 month old fluff ball weighs a whooping 60 pounds!
Every dog should be so lucky to have his very own boy. I’m sure Balto heartily agrees.