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Game of Thrones has sparked a devastating trend for abandoning husky dogs

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Megan Murray
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A Game of Thrones cast member has got a message for you.

The fandom surrounding some TV shows can be so powerful, it influences everything from audience’s buying habits, to the theme of their wedding.

Now, when this means investing in a new jumpsuit inspired by Fleabag or purchasing the exact shade of lipstick worn by Kiernan Shipka in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, it’s not a problem.

But if there’s one thing a television trend shouldn’t impact, it’s the wellbeing of living, breathing animals.

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As any Game of Thrones fans will know, all of the Stark children were gifted direwolves as youngsters, intended to be faithful companions to protect and comfort them as they ruled over the North.

With mystical silver-grey fur and haunting blue eyes, direwolves are undeniably arresting to look at, as well as you know, totally formidable.

So, it’s really no surprise that dedicated fans of the show have been keen to get a direwolf for themselves. 

Since the beginning of the series in 2011, the amount of husky dogs being bred, bought and adopted has steadily risen. But here’s the devastating part: so has the number of huskies being abandoned.

As we all know, looking after a dog (especially one as large and demanding as a husky) takes work and dedication, and a pet should never be bought without serious contemplation. But some Game of Thrones fans have tired of their husky shortly after buying it, resulting in the dog being abandoned at a shelter.

The situation has got so bad that animal rights organisation PETA has made a video with Game of Thrones star Jerome Flynn (aka Bronn), asking people to stop adopting huskies on a whim.

“If you’re a fan of the show, you’re also likely to be a fan of the direwolves on it. But sadly, their popularity has sparked an alarming trend,” says Flynn.

“More and more huskies are being bred and bought because of their resemblance to direwolves. I’m here today to urge you not to give into this temptation. While people may have good intentions, acquiring dogs on a whim has dire consequences.

“Animal shelters around the world are reporting a surge in the number of abandoned huskies, because the casual acquirer, drawn to the dog’s appearance, fails to take into consideration the amount of time, patience and money taken to care for these animals properly.”

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Flynn continues to explain that as many animal shelters cannot physically care for any more dogs, “some of the huskies like so many other wonderful dogs will have to euthanised because there’s too many of them, and too few homes.”

It makes for heartbreaking reading, but it’s sadly true. Last year, Blue Cross reported that 81 more huskies were abandoned across the UK in 2018 than the previous year. Their findings showed an increase of 71% in husky abandonment since 2010, the year before Game of Thrones started.

It goes without saying that adopting a dog is a huge decision, that requires complete commitment – if you know of anyone intending on breeding or buying a new husky, remind them how many are currently in shelters needing a new home. 

It goes without saying that adopting a dog is a huge decision, that requires complete commitment. So if you know of anyone intending on buying a new husky, remind them how many are currently in shelters needing a new home – and ask them to really think about whether bringing a dog into their home is the right decision. 

Images: Reuben Mcfeeters / Instagram

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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