Carla Donau isn't hurting for company. The 70-year-old retiree runs Siberian Husky Rescue out of her home, and the dogs there look well-fed and loved, judging from the group that surrounds her as she walks around introducing the brood. However, Donau says she could use some help. She has five dogs available for adoption; the others are with her permanently, because they aren't adoptable. If you want to help with food, vet bills or walking the dogs, give her call at 888-8644, or e-mail her at email@example.com. You can also check out a website a friend recently made for her at www.huskies.2freedom.com.
When did you decide you loved huskies?
It started when I lived in Alaska; that's where I began to like them. When I came back here, I discovered there were a lot of them down here, and they were being dumped at animal control and the Humane Society. They were hard to adopt, because it is not the climate for them, and they shed more in this climate than if they were up north.
When did you start rescuing huskies?
It was way back in the '70s. They are really friendly. That dog right behind you is the famous Snow. He was stolen a couple of years ago—he's the one that (KOLD) Channel 13 did a story on. He was gone 2 1/2 months. He was stolen by a man who had just gotten out of jail, and he stole him from me when I was walking him. ... He went to jail in Texas. Everyone thought the dog was in Texas, but later on, a very nice couple found him in Deming, N.M., half-dead, and they called me. About $18,000 later in vet bills, we got him back to health. ... I had to refinance my house in order to pay for all these vet bills.
Do you have a good success rate?
I have a good success rate on the ones we want to place.
How many are adoptable now?
Right now, there are two in foster care, and three here.
What about the rest?
Well, some of these dogs cannot be placed, because they came in with mental or physical problems, or age, like right here, Tiger; he's going on 11. He was at Edwards Air Force Base in California. He was 5 when he came in; in his first five years, he was in six homes, because everybody kept getting transferred to Iraq. The last person who had him was out of options. ... He said, "Would you take him, please? Or they are going to put him to sleep." He said, "I'll drive him over there," which he did. Well, this poor animal had been in six homes, and he was 5 years old, and I felt he needed to have a forever home, and I decided he should stay.
Who are adoptable?
That would be Glacier, and Roxy and Blanca, and then there are the two in foster care.
Tell me what it is you like about these dogs?
They are a completely different type of dog. They are very headstrong, very independent; they are escape artists and trick you every single time; and they are very, very loving.
Yeah, that's pretty obvious.
And they are just a completely different breed that you may either love or hate, because they have tremendous personality.
What do you need help with right now?
Always, getting dogs adopted. That's always the main thing—and to good homes. I do home checks. But I could always use help paying for vet bills. I'm on Social Security right now, and it gets hard. Food, and also help walking them—that would be great, too.
They are really friendly and nice dogs. They seem good-natured.
Oh, they are good-natured, and they are good with children. They are usually not very good with cats. I have had a couple that have been good with cats, but that's more unusual. They are very friendly; they are not good watchdogs: "Here's my ball; let's play," or, "Oh, you want the silverware? Well, it's over there."
Or, "What else can I show you?"
"Yes, but let's get something out of the refrigerator right away and have a snack first."