Fans of the popular HBO series “Game of Thrones” love the show so much that they are apparently buying and adopting Siberian huskies that look like the fictional direwolves on the fantasy drama.
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But the problem is that many of the dogs are being abandoned after people realize what it takes to raise huskies, one shelter says.
“Huskies are a very high-energy breed,” Jodie Simard, the executive director of Wagging Tails Rescue in Las Vegas, told ABC Las Vegas affiliate KTNV-TV.
“They’re also very intelligent, so if you don’t keep them busy and keep them exercised, they can be destructive.”
In the past six months, Simard added, Wagging Tails has seen a “huge increase in the amount of huskies surrendered,” she told the station.
“Game of Thrones” star Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion Lannister, even got involved, pleading with fans not to seek the dogs unless they are prepared for a “tremendous responsibility.”
“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 wrote in a statement released by PETA. “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. Please, please, if you’re going to bring a dog into your family, make sure that you’re prepared for such a tremendous responsibility and remember to always, ALWAYS, adopt from a shelter.”
His co-star Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark, took on that responsibility, adopting the dog that played Sansa’s direwolf on the show.
“Growing up, I always wanted a dog, but my parents never wanted one. We kind of fell in love with my character’s direwolf, Lady, on set,” Turner told The Coventry Telegraph in 2013. “We knew Lady died [on the show], and they wanted to rehome her. My mum persuaded them to let us adopt her.”
Simard told KTNV she completely understands the craze because “Game of Thrones” is “such a popular show” and these particular dogs “are beautiful,” but she wants people to do their research before making the commitment to take one home.
“Really look at what it takes to provide the dog everything they need so that you don’t end up frustrated and the dog doesn’t end up homeless,” she said.