JoAnna Lou
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Game of Thrones, Twilight Creates a Homeless Husky Problem
Wolves in popular culture increase the number of homeless pups
A direwolf from the television show, Game of Thrones.
A direwolf from the television show, Game of Thrones.

Over the years various television shows and movies have been blamed for the overpopulation problem connected with iconic breeds like Chihuahuas and Dalmatians. It's unfortunate that people see these dogs in popular culture and feel the need to get a pet without doing any research.

The success of the HBO show, Game of Thrones, and fantasy films like Twilight, has spelt bad news for wolf-like dog breeds (fortunately for dragons, the fire breathing creatures are harder to acquire).

Game of Thrones features animals called direwolves that are played by Northern Inuit dogs on the show. Twilight has characters that shape shift into werewolves. As a result, fans have been buying breeds such as Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes, without planning for the level of energy these dogs have.

According to U.K. animal charity Blue Cross, this has led to a whopping 420 percent increase in Husky type breeds being abandoned since 2008, the year the first Twilight movie was released. Game of Thrones debuted three years later in 2011.

When I first watched the discovery of the direwolf puppies on Game of Thrones, of course I let out an “aww” and said that I wanted my very own direwolf. But a plush toy will have to suffice. It's situations like these that expose the root of our pet overpopulation problem—irresponsible ownership. People need to realize that pets require a great deal of time, money, and devotion. And not every dog is appropriate for every family and lifestyle. Animals are not disposable!

JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Photo by HBO.

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