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Online newspaper of Altoona Area High School in Altoona, Pennsylvania
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The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

Fetching Kenai

The journey of an Alaskan sled dog now-turned family pet
Melissa Krainer
Smile. Kenai greets new student visitors in the library. “The [Alaskan malamute] breed was bred to be a family dog and a working dog. Their frame is large so they can pull heavy weights for short distances. At the end of the day, they come inside and are a family pet. What was appealing about the malamute breed is how gentle and docile they are with kids and their ability to serve as a working dog in Arctic conditions,” Love said.

Alaska: the 49th addition to the United States. Known for its breathtaking northern lights. Home to 17 of North America’s tallest mountains—and the Alaskan malamute husky breed. 

“Kenai is an 8-year-old Alaskan malamute who was born in Barrow, Alaska. For his first year and a half there, he was a sled dog,” Christopher Love, Kenai’s owner, said. “I rescued him in November of 2016 when he became our household pet. He has lived in Fairbanks, Alaska; Vancouver, Canada and now here [in Huntingdon, Pa.].”

Love and Kenai are a recent addition to the therapy dog visits taking place on Thursdays in the library. Their journey began when Love spotted a Facebook post about Kenai from a local rescue in Fairbanks, Alaska.

“I wanted to learn more about this dog and met him at the rescue. I think he was only there for about an hour before I adopted him because I just fell in love with this dog. There was something about him,” Love said. “So I signed the paperwork and rescued him that day.”

I’ve never had a dog that has so much personality. He is a goofball at heart.

— Christopher Love

Junior Abigail Rudy experienced a similar sentiment when she interacted with Kenai in the library.

“He made my day brighter because he was such a cute, fluffy husky,” Rudy said with a smile.

Alaskan malamutes were bred to be both a family and working dog. For Love, Kenai has become a sweet addition to his household.

I’ve never had a dog that has so much personality. He is a goofball at heart,” Love said. “[He] always gets into some type of mischief. That’s his nickname: Mischievous Malamute. He likes to open up refrigerators and steal your food, kick you out of bed and steal all the treats.”

Love is proud to have an entire malamute family. Kenai has a brother and two sisters at home, but Kenai was Love’s first malamute rescue.

“[Kenai] was my first husky in November of 2016. I have another Sled Dog Rescue and two puppies, both survivor rescues, from Gettysburg,” Love said. 

Love found out about the therapy dog visits at the high school through a news article. He had already certified Kenai as a therapy dog and was visiting the VA hospital, but he reached out to PawZone to learn more about the high school’s events.

“[My experience has been] amazing. Seeing everybody’s smile and faces light up,” Love said. “It’s the best thing in the world.”

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About the Contributor
Melissa Krainer, Reporter
Ciao! My name is Melissa Krainer, and this is my second year reporting for the Mountain Echo. I’m very excited to be a part of the staff this year as a sophomore! I’ve always been passionate about writing, and I can’t wait to help report on school and community events this year. In my free time, you might find me crocheting, reading, playing the violin or working on math puzzles. I speak both English and German fluently. This is one of my favorite quotes: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” - Mahatma Gandhi

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