Dakota, or "Koda" as I call him, will always be special to me. He is the first rescue Malamute that I ever had the pleasure of helping. I guess you could say I'm his personal "fairy dog mother"....

KodaKoda was found wandering the streets of Austin Texas and turned in the local shelter. In a last attempt at adoption, the shelter made him "pet of the month". He was finally adopted out, but returned within a few days! The shelter was told that the family's dog didn't get along with him. Koda was turned over to rescue just before he was to be euthanised.

At the time rescue took charge of Koda they were literally filled to capacity, with absolutely no room for him and no foster homes available. I volunteered to kennel him at the vet clinic where I work until there was a place for him to go. It was now time to put that plan into action.

Koda was picked up on a Friday by Austin rescue and delivered to a another volunteer to keep overnight. She stayed up late to bathe him as Koda was dirty and covered in fleas! Saturday morning the Texas co-ordinator picked him up and drove him to her local vet. He was boarded over the weekend and neutered early Monday morning. By very late that same day, he was handed into my care in Houston. Quite a long and confusing weekend for Koda, wouldn't you say? Sometimes it has to be that way...

My first impression of Koda was that he was one of the saddest looking malamutes I had ever seen! He was extremely thin, had a dull scruffy coat, and more than a little bewildered by the long ride & the residual effects of anesthesia. We got him settled in for the night and left him to rest until morning. The next afternoon, Koda received a full checkup. Other than a slight yeast infection in his ears and being twenty pounds underweight, he was in surprisingly good condition. He was later diagnosed as being borderline hyperthyriod and put on medication.

KodaSeveral times that week, I would take Koda for a short walk after work. He was rather mellow in the kennels, but would perk up to woo and do a little hop when "walkies" time came around. After our walks I would let him have the run of the clinic while I finished up little tasks. He would follow me around, always keeping me in earshot if not in his direct sight. Koda was very well behaved, but still missing that little "sparkle" in his eye that so many dogs have. He gained a little of that "eye spark" in the next week....

Koda's foster home had fallen through, as sometimes happens, and he was to stay with us at the vet clinic a little while longer. I had brought my young dog, Neko, to work with me for a checkup and they had been kenneled next to each other all day without any problems... (in fact my dog had been glad to see another malamute there!) So I decided to see how they would react to each other outside in the dog yard.Koda & Neko

With Koda fenced off in one side of the yard and Neko in the other, I stood back and watched them interact undisturbed. After ten minutes or so, I went through the gate to Koda's side of the yard. Wooing & hopping about he was the very picture of a Happy Dog! Once Koda decided that he was an accepted member of the "pack", his whole attitude changed! He was interested in the "goings-on" at the clinic and actually had some sparkle in his eyes. He turned out to be quite a character and a definite talker!

The time came all too soon to return Koda to rescue. It's amazing how attached you can get to one silly dog in a matter of a few weeks. Koda spent the next month in a foster home near Austin waiting to be adopted. His "house mates" were a younger male Malamute and an elderly female Keeshund. Although Koda is quite opinionated and talkative, he was a well behaved dog, not particularly interested in playing dog dominance games, and they all got along well.

face="Arial,Helvetica">The next month Koda was adopted! He is now back in Austin, the city where he was originally found, and is doing very well. Rumor has it that he even gets to snooze on a waterbed... Naw, he's not living a spoiled life at all !?

I am forever grateful I had the opportunity to help Koda as my first rescue. A personal big thanks to the Texas rescue and the staff at the vet clinic for allowing this rescue to happen. Koda is definitely a malamute worth giving a second chance at a good life.

10/99 Update! Koda and his owner moved to Colorado, and then later moved to Houston. During that time, Koda had several surgeries to remove damaged tissue caused by a recurring infection in his right rear leg. He has been to several noted specialists and undergone many detailed lab tests to determine the cause of the infection, but nothing definite was ever found. It is suspected that the infections began from a pellet found imbedded in his leg. John has gone to great lengths for Koda and is a very special owner. Thank you for all you have done and the love you have given Koda.

The year Koda returned to Texas, I took him to the AMCA National Specialty with me and we were in the annual Rescue Parade. In fact, Koda lead the parade! Koda was also the hit of the rescue booth and spent most of his time either socializing (or snoozing?) with all his new pals. What a hoot! He then spent several days at my home when we returned... amazingly, Neko (now an adult) still got along well with Koda and the two had a great time together in the house and yard. It was a very enjoyable week and one I am glad I spent with Koda. Koda is a very special boy...

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