By Lauren Rogers
Monday, January 20, 2014
They were bred to cope in Arctic conditions and freezing temperatures, but today’s Siberian huskies are popular pets.
And blue-eyed Bolt, who is believed to be the first husky in the UK working as a registered therapy dog, looks quite at home on Great Yarmouth’s golden beach.
Bolt was rescued by Yarmouth man Thomas Marriot last year.
The white husky had been neglected by his previous owner, left alone for hours on end, rarely taken for walks and never fussed.
“He was basically left alone inside a flat,” said Thomas, who has just set up a dedicated husky and German Shepherd dog (GSD) rehoming charity.
“He was given food and water once a day, but other than that he had no human contact.
“I asked the owner if I could walk him every now and then.
“I thought something was wrong because he was underweight and he would get so excited when I went round.
“Eventually I said the owner, let me take him because you clearly aren’t able to cope with him.
“My partner and I had just had a little girl so we had to take that into consideration, but Bolt is such a brilliant dog. He’s got an amazing temperament. He’s calm and friendly.”
As a therapy dog, Bolt spends two or three days a week with people, often children, with learning difficulties or disabilities.
“They’ll take him for walks where they are clipped together and walk side by side,” said Thomas, who like his grandfather before him has been a GSD foster carer.
Thomas, of Malakoff Close, officially launched Bolt’s Norfolk Rescue for Huskies and GSDs on December 31 and has been bowled over by the response.
In just over two weeks, the charity has helped rehome seven dogs.
He has signed up foster carers around the county and is working with volunteers in Kings Lynn and Colchester to find forever homes further afield.
“It is a 100pc non profit organisation,” said Thomas. “We just want to help as many dogs as possible.
“I had no idea it would get so big so quickly, which is why we desperately need more help.”
Thomas is hoping Bolt’s story of survival will inspire people to donate time or money to the cause.
It costs approximately £320 to rehome a dog, covering the cost of vet checks, mircochipping and flea vaccination.
If the huskies or GSDs taken in by Thomas show signs of mistreatment, malnutrition or behavioural problems, he will work with foster carers to rehabilitate them before matching them to a new owner.
And while would-be owners would ideally have previous husky or GSD experience, Thomas said he would be on hand to offer help and advice to anyone else able to offer a home.
“Ideally it needs to be someone who loves walking because it’s important they are exercised,” he explained. “Above all, it has to be someone with a lot of love to give.”
Anyone who would like to help with fund-raising, fostering, food donations or volunteering should call 01493 856694 or search Bolt’s Norfolk Rescue for Huskies and GSDs on Facebook.
The charity is currently organising a fundraising talent contest. Eastern Idol will take place on February 22.