Friday, August 18, 2017

The 'Game of Thrones' Effect

"Game of Thrones" star Peter Dinklage is urging people not to buy huskies which have been made popular due to the breed’s similarity to the fearsome and protective direwolves portrayed on the popular HBO show.

The actor, who plays Tyrion Lannister on the fantasy drama, said Tuesday that fans are purchasing the dogs, known to be intelligent, independent and difficult to train, and then giving them up once the novelty has worn off.
Independent and difficult to train? I wish I had known! Oh right, I did. And we got a second one anyway.

The phenomena is often referred to as the “101 Dalmatians” syndrome in which fans of the Disney film or others like “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” succumb to the lure of the movie pets and go out and buy one only to discover that in real life the dogs are not as alluring. The demand causes puppy mills to churn out the canines who often end up languishing in shelters.
 Good on Peter.
“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,” Dinklage said in the statement released by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

“Not only does this hurt all the deserving homeless dogs waiting for a chance at a good home in shelters, but shelters are also reporting that many of these huskies are being abandoned—as often happens when dogs are bought on impulse, without understanding their needs.”

According to SFGate, one group that takes in abandoned huskies began to notice about three years ago that the dogs were coming in with unusual names on their microchips.

Since Skye is now 8, as estimated from the age given to her when we adopted her, it is unlikely that Skye is the result of the "Game of Thrones" effect, unless her original owner was a reader. We do wonder about why she (and a brother supposedly) we given up for adoption at 6 years old, after spending hours to train her.
A closer look revealed that the canines were being named after popular characters that populate the show’s Seven Kingdoms where the mythical creatures are the symbols of the House of Stark.

The Bay Area Siberian Husky Club, as well as Northern California Sled Dog Rescue, reported that the numbers of unwanted huskies has doubled since the show debuted in 2011.

The same thing is also happening in Britain where one animal charity reported a 700 percent rise in abandoned huskies, SF Gate reported.
We get a lot of comments about how good looking Skye is when we walk her, and a lot of kids especially say "that's the kind of dog I want" or something similar. We have a pretty standard spiel that starts with "Do you like to walk a lot? Because they need a lot of exercise!" and goes quickly on to "And shed? Boy do they shed!"

Wombat-socho has both "Rule 5 Sunday: OUTRAGE!" up on time and within budget.

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