I was laughing with a friend about my recent visit to the cinema to see a film entitled ‘Call of the Wild’. This looked beautiful in the trailer but I was surprised when the movie turned out to be, basically, about an animated dog! I mentioned that the main dog star was what I would call Heinz variety (meaning a mixed breed), there as a husky in the film. “Hey didn’t I tell you, we now have a husky that accompanies guests on our treks?” I was told. This definitely needs investigating.
I talked with Pradeep Guragain from Magical Nepal who explained, “I’ve had Fluffy since he was a small puppy. He is now one and half years. He is a Siberian Husky and I got him specifically for the outdoors, since this is where I spend a lot of my time.” I know that the Siberian Husky is bred for strength and endurance and that they come from a cold climate but I wondered how Fluffy fairs in Nepal.
I soon discover that Fluffy not only likes outdoors, he loves the mountains and has accompanied trekking clients on several treks. So where exactly has Fluffy been? I was told so far he has gone to Manaslu and Upper Mustang. Ideally, he prefers to run on snow but as long as the temperature is low he is happy with whatever trail he gets to follow.
And what do the clients on the trek think of having Fluffy along? “Clients just love to have Fluffy on the trek. He runs ahead and waits at forks in the trails as if he is really guiding them,” explains Guragain. “Somehow it makes the guests feel secure to have him along. You know, because dogs in other countries are used as both rescue dogs and as pets. People just feel more comfortable knowing he is there, and in the evening he loves being petted around the fire.” Seems he is a goodwill ambassador for Nepal!
From the pictures I was shown of Fluffy on Manaslu, I see he was at Larke Pass. With a height of 5,167m I wonder if he feels altitude the same way we do. Well, seemingly dogs can get altitude sickness, but it’s not as common as in humans. “Since our clients are going slowly for acclimatization reasons, Fluffy automatically goes slowly too. We just need to ensure that, like us, he drinks enough on the trip,” adds Guragain.
When not on treks Fluffy lives in Kathmandu with Guragain and a new addition to the household, Charlie, a nine-month-old Golden Retriever who although too young yet to go on treks, is a wonderful companion for Fluffy. Currently Fluffy accompanies Charlie on day treks around the Kathmandu Valley. Perhaps getting him ready for longer treks in the future?
I for one would love to have Fluffy on my trek and I’m sure the clients have lots of great stories and photos to take home of the time they went trekking in the Himalayas with a Husky!