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The Alaskan Malamute HELP League F.A.Q.
You wanted to know......
What types of Malamute are available for adoption? All kinds! Our dogs come in all shapes and sizes. Most of the dogs we work with are between one and four years of age, but we have placed eight week old puppies, a ten year old retired show dog, and everything in between. We have males and females (all are neutered or spayed, of course). Some are registered purebreds, others are unregistered and a few, while obviously mostly malamute, are of less certain parentage.

Where are your Malamutes rescued from?
Most come to the HELP League from shelters. Some have been surrendered to the shelters by their owners and others have been picked up as strays. As a rule, we only accept dogs directly from their owners under exceptional circumstances (for example, the owner's serious illness prevents them from caring for their pet).

How much do you know about each dog's background? dakota_pr.jpg (1983 bytes)
This varies considerably. In the case of dogs who are surrendered by their owners, either to a shelter or to us, we have quite a bit of information about their life. Strays are a different matter — we have no information about their pasts. In any case, each dog is carefully evaluated by our experienced volunteers, usually for several weeks, before they are made available for adoption. This allows us to learn about each dog's personality, level of training and about any behaviour or training problems which may need to be addressed. Then, we work with each dog to resolve minor training problems while choosing the best possible new family for them. Of course, we also provide the new owners with lots of information and ideas to help them to help their new pet make a good adjustment in the new home.

Do your rescued Malamutes have any problems?
Just like people, no dog is perfect. Many of the dogs who arrive at the HELP League have not received much training or attention during their lives. However, the vast majority are friendly, outgoing Mals who respond beautifully to loving, affectionate attention and firm, consistent training. During their time with us, we try to teach them a few basic rules of good behaviour. Then, we provide information and support to their new owners to help them to teach their new pet to be a welcome member of their family and community.

A few of the dogs we rescue have more serious problems. We do not place these dogs unless we have worked with them extensively, and are certain that they are ready for placement with experienced owners. We will not knowingly compromise community safety, just to place a dog!

What about Health Issues?
mal_image9.jpg (4116 bytes)Most of the dogs who come into our care are in excellent health. All are evaluated by a veterinarian, receive any necessary preventive care (including having their immunizations brought up to date) and all are spayed or neutered before they are placed in a new home. If any minor, treatable problems are identified, the dog receives whatever care is necessary. Occasionally, a dog suffering from a chronic disease will come into our care. If the disease is something which can be controlled easily and will not have a major impact on the dog's quality or length of life, then the dog will be made available for adoption. In any case, prospective adopters are provided with complete information about the dog's health status, and about any treatment or preventive care it received during it's stay at the HELP League.

How do I adopt one of your rescued Malamutes?
We are always thrilled to hear from people who want to adopt one of our Malamutes. There are several steps to take if you are interested. First, try to acquaint yourself with the breed. Our brochure, So You Think You Want A Malamute?, is a good place to start. If you can, meet some malamutes and talk with their owners and/or breeders. Next, if you decide to proceed, obtain approval to adopt a Malamute from the AMHL by completing the online Application Form to Adopt a Malamute from the AMHL.

Once your application has been approved, one of our volunteer Rescue Coordinators will respond and he or she will have lots of questions, geared primarily to establishing what type of dog would best fit into your lifestyle. We believe strongly in placing our dogs in the best possible homes — we do not encourage people to make quick decisions, and we will not allow a dog to go to a home which is clearly unsuitable. The right dog exists for each home, and it's well worth the wait to be certain that you've made a good match! Once you've found your new fur-kid, our volunteers will make arrangements for your new pet to go home. Each case is different: some Mals make the transition very easily, while others require a longer ajustment period to get to know you and their new environment.
You will be asked to sign a written adoption contract and will be provided with all veterinary records and any other documentation in our possession. Official Vet records must be obtained by your Vet from the Vet who treated the Mal, in the case of re-homing. We will provide information about training and behaviour, along with suggestions about resources in your community. We encourage our adopters to keep in touch. We love to hear about our charges? successes in their new homes, and we are always here to help if you run into any difficulties, big or small!

Do I have to pay anything to adopt one of your Malamutes?
More complete and current fee information is on the online Application Form to Adopt from the AMHL. We ask for a $300 donation for each healthy dog aged seven and under or $75.00 for dogs over the age of seven. This helps to defray the cost of feeding, housing, microchipping and providing veterinary care (checkup, vaccinations, spay/neuter, any necessary treatment) for each rescued Malamute. In the case of an out of province adoption, the adopter is responsible for the additional cost of an airline approved crate and for flying the Mal. In some circumstances (for example, an elderly dog, or a dog with a chronic illness), we may opt to waive the adoption fee. Of course, any donation would be welcome.

How long will it take for my new pet to adjust to a new home?
Each dog is an individual - just like people are different, so are Malamutes. Some walk into their new home as if they have lived there always; others are more uncertain and proceed a bit more cautiously. Your new pet will need some time to learn what is expected of him or her and to get accustomed to all of the new sights, sounds, people and animals who form part of his or her new life. However, it is very important that you understand the unique needs of your new pet and follow the advice and instructions of the Malamute's Rescue Coordinator, who will be working with you, and who knows the Mal best. On average, adoptees will be completely comfortable in their new homes within three to six months.

What if I'm ever not able to keep my adopted Malamute?
Our adoption agreement, signed at the time of adoption, stipulates that if the adoptive owner is ever unable to keep their dog, for any reason, they must return the dog to the HELP League.

Do you have any special activities for me and my new Malamute?
Yes!! We have plenty of ways for you to spend some fun time with your dog. We offer workshops teaching the basics of sledding, skijoring (having your dog pull you on cross country skis) and agility (a fun sport — sort of a canine version of equestrian show jumping). We organize overnight backpacking trips, have a fun weight pull every fall as part of our Pac'n'Pull weekend, and have a series of four "mostly for fun" sledding races each winter. Most important, all of these events are opportunities for you to get together with other malamute enthusiasts and their dogs to enjoy some good fun and companionship, and raise some money which will allow the HELP League continue to rescue unwanted malamutes.

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