After it was reported that more Game of Thrones fans are adopting huskies only to abandon them later, one Game of Thrones actor wanted to make a difference. Peter Dinklage, who plays the dwarf Tyrion Lannister on the hit HBO show, partnered with PETA to release a statement urging fans to consider animal welfare before adopting a dog.
“Please, to all of Game of Thrones‘ many wonderful fans, we understand that due to the direwolves’ huge popularity, many folks are going out and buying huskies. Not only does this hurt all the wonderful homeless dogs waiting for a chance at a good home in shelters, but shelters are reporting that huskies are being abandoned as often happens when dogs are bought on impulse, without understanding the dog’s needs.
“Please, please: if you’re going to bring a dog into your family, make sure you’re prepared for such a tremendous responsibility and remember to always, always adopt from a shelter.”
One animal rescue said they’d seen a marked increase in the number of abandoned huskies, while another noticed the number of abandoned huskies increasing along with the popularity of Game of Thrones. PETA commented that the canine stars of Hollywood movies and TV shows often leads to an increase in the breed’s popularity. But people aren’t always ready for the commitment of a pet.
The direwolves in Game of Thrones are huge, computer animated wolves. Early on in the series, when they were puppies, they were portrayed by actual dogs of a breed known as the Northern Inuit Dog. These dogs are crossbreeds of Siberian Huskies bred to look more like wolves.
After filming Season 1, Sophie Turner learned that her character’s direwolf didn’t have a home to go to after filming. She adopted Zunni, who played the direwolf lady on the show.
But many people rush into adopting a dog without understanding the time commitment or amount of training it takes to properly raise one. After the report that more people were adopting and then abandoning huskies, Peter Dinklage wanted to remind people that owning a dog is a big commitment.
Huskies and other large and energetic wolf-like breeds have particularly high exercise needs. Bred to pull sleds over long distances, they need far more exercise than the average TV show binge-watcher can give them. Huskies are also a particularly noisy breed fond of barking and howling.
As cute puppies mature into rambunctious adolescent dogs, many people find they can no longer control the animals. Instead of buckling down and making a bigger commitment to training, they might just abandon the dog. Because many of these end up in shelters, Peter Dinklage also asked those who are seriously considering the responsibility of a pet to go to an animal shelter. Prospective husky parents can go on Petfinder.com and find huskies near their area that need homes.
[Featured Image by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images]