Husky Haven of LA – A Founder’s Personal Story

by Rhonda Hallden

Many years ago, I found myself at what is now the SEAACA animal shelter in Downey in hopes they had my lost red Siberian husky. They had a dog that was almost the spitting image of my girl. Her name was “Liberty,” found in a drainage ditch – ghastly thin and not very friendly.

I walked away disappointed, but could not stop thinking of this poor dog. I called during the week to learn she was counting her days down to the last, with no adoption interest. They informed me she had not eaten all week, but the veterinarian could not find a cause. I had to worry if my other Siberian would accept her and if there was something drastically wrong with her health, BUT I could not leave her there.

She jumped in my car readily, turned around and looked back at the building and gave me a kiss. Thus, it was the start of my days rescuing Siberian Huskies. You can read the full story of the rescue of Liberty on the “About Us” page of our website at

Back in those years, I could place a dog in no longer than two to three weeks. Sadly, times have changed drastically due to the over breeding and desire of purchasers to obtain the beautiful looks of huskies.

We call it the curse of the breed. Everyone wants a blue-eyed husky puppy, and the addition of popular movies and television shows depicting sled dogs, dire wolves, and wolf type animals has catapulted their popularity.

The problem is statistics have shown ONLY one in four husky puppies remain with their purchaser for life!!! It is not uncommon for us to meet a 1½- to 2-year-old husky who has already been passed around through three to five homes.

Why is this? Siberian huskies are known to be a difficult breed. They are NOT for the first-time dog owner. When bored, their longing for exploration and adventure drives them to be escape artists with a knack for finding the smallest weakness in fencing and taking advantage of it.

The majority, with some exceptions, can possess a prey drive towards cats and small dogs under 35 pounds. Most will also view farm animals as their next meal, so placing them in and around ranches can be risky.

Some view their coats, which can be long-haired, undercoated and matted when not taken care of, as a drawback. But I remind them those black, grey, red, brown, white and other variations are what make them so beautiful. So, if you don’t mind a few stray dog hairs and remember not to wear all black, you’ll be okay.

They are a strong representation of the working breed of dogs which makes them great walking, running and hiking partners. They must be kept on leash, though, since their recall skills are known to be weak. This would fall under the “selective hearing” category, meaning exploration takes precedence over obedience.

They make great family dogs since they love nothing more than to be included in all activities. They are very intelligent, which means your patience will be tested to overcome and remain the master in charge.

They are also intuitive, emotional and expressive, which is easily read in their facial expressions and body language, making them a really fun, attractive breed to interact with.

With a few exceptions, they desire a pack setting. That may include their human family members or when wanting to act out their rough canine play style, in the company of other Siberians or canines.

Of course, being a lover of the breed, we wholeheartedly recommend adding one, or maybe even a pair. But we feel it is equally important to offer guidance on the right choice for your family and lifestyle.

At Husky Haven of L.A., we pride ourselves on such assistance and are proud of a very low return rate.

We have the largest selection of rescued Siberian Huskies in the entire State of California and would love to help you with the right fit.

We are a 501(c)(3) registered public charity and can use ALL the help we can get in the form of monetary donations (PayPal), gift cards to Costco (dog food) and PetSmart or Petco. We also can use volunteer help at adoption events and campaign collections for specific items.

We can be contacted at:

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 661-675-9065
FB: Husky Haven of Los Angeles