It has only been 11 months since Malaski, the five-year-old Siberian Husky cross, was rescued by the SPCA, but he’s come a long way from his sad past. The sweet giant furball now greets everyone with bright, friendly eyes, and is always up for a good belly rub or scratch on the head, but things weren’t always so happy.
The handsome hound’s plight came to light when a video of his owner abusing him made the rounds online. In May last year, a concerned neighbour peeked out of her window when she heard a dog’s heartrending yelps and whines. Upon witnessing Alan Chiam, 42, an active dog fosterer and rescuer, hitting a black and white Siberian Husky, she recorded a video of the abuse and uploaded three separate clips on Facebook where it went viral over the following weeks.
The videos were hard to watch. It showed Chiam forcibly yanking the defenseless Husky up by his collar, leaving him visibly gasping for air as his hind legs struggled to touch the floor. The pooch was then hit in the side with a pole, punched on the head, and kicked multiple times. Chiam has since been fined $8,000 for ill-treating and abusing the dog.
Then known as Sparky, the canine was subsequently surrendered to the AVA, and then passed on to the SPCA for rehabilitation and rehoming. Renamed Malaski, the Husky’s new moniker marked a new beginning for him.
A fresh start
Nobody is more familiar with Malaski’s ways than 54-year-old operations executive Mohan Veerasamy, who was the dog’s primary handler and caretaker during the first two crucial months of rehabilitation at the SPCA.
There’s no doubt that Malaski and Mohan share a special kinship, especially since Mohan was the first person the pooch began trusting again after his abusive ordeal. However, because of Malaski’s traumatic past, daily activities such as afternoon walks, mealtimes, and even weekly showers were challenging for the experienced handler, who has been working at the animal shelter for the last 27 years.
“His renaming was also part of giving him a fresh start,” explains Mohan. Thanks to his Malamute-like size and his Husky mug, some staff gave him the nickname ‘Malaski’—and the name stuck.
The first two months were a roller-coaster ride—Mohan had to not only earn the gentle giant’s trust, but teach him to trust other people as well. This was tricky considering how Malaski had been conditioned to expect the worst of humans.
This is an excerpt from an article in our Unbreakable Bonds column. For the full story, flip to pg 50 of our Apr-May 2017 issue!