Michael Gives Us The Scoop On Life With Two Huskies In NYC

Being a dog dad is a full time job – but it’s ever so rewarding.

By Justyne Yuen-Lee

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Credit: Instagram / @mwardjr

Everyone around me is either getting engaged, getting married, getting a house, or getting pregnant. Some days it makes me feel inadequate because my responsibilities include dragging myself out of bed and finding some quality dog content for my faithful readers (actually I’m not sure if anyone really looks at the author). I do dream of a future beyond living with my mom. I want an affordable apartment in the city (never going to happen) and a puppy to call my own. I have a group of mommy friends and I see the spit up and the tantrums and the glazed over eyes, and I think to myself, “not yet”.

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Credit: Instagram / @mwardjr

And then I see people on my Instagram Explore page who have puppies and it just melts my heart. Having a puppy just seems so much more therapeutic at this moment in my life.

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Credit: Instagram / @mwardjr

 

So, we reached out to this amazing dog dad, Michael Ward Jr. and asked him about his adorable Huskies! Michael is a recent graduate from Columbia University and lives in New York with his two Huskies, Olliver (Ollie) and Aya.

We had many questions about his dog dad lifestyle:

We know that Huskies can be a handful – is it hard being a Husky dad sometimes with all the singing and need for attention?

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I do know that dogs can be just as (or worse) destructive as children because of their wolfish teeth, but I think it’s worth it.

Michael: It is! Huskies can be pretty destructive. I’ve gone through three couches (😮!)in 2017 alone. But I’ve learned that a tired husky is a good husky. We walk 3- to 4-hrs each day around the city and go to the dog run on Leroy Street as much as possible. It can be exhausting at times but it’s definitely worth it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Were Aya and Ollie best friends right away?

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The perk of children is that they don’t shed like dogs, but seeing someone like Michael and his two gorgeous Huskies on Instagram, makes me bust my butt a little more.

Michael: They were not. Aya was a little rough around the edges. She is originally from a pound in Iraq and had not been potty-trained or leash-trained when I adopted her (she was already two years old). She was 20-lbs underweight and pretty food aggressive. They’ve only ever had one altercation. During our first week together, I fed Oliver and Aya their dinner at the same time. Aya became very protective and scratched Oliver under his eye. I had to take him to the emergency vet to make sure he was okay (he was). But now they’re inseparable. They go everywhere together. They’re like a brother and sister – always fighting but love each other.

We’re so happy Aya found a happy and fur-ever home with you!

Yes, Huskies whine almost as much as children, but usually they just want pats.

We came across your account from Hot Dudes With Dogs, how do you feel about being featured on their account? Have you gained a lot of followers from being featured?

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Just imagine waking up with two warm fuzzy doggos who just want to cuddle all day. Children cuddle too, but only for short burst of time.

MichaelIt’s very flattering! Although I’m pretty sure most people ‘like’ the photo for the huskies. I’ve gained a handful of followers from being featured on Hot Dudes with Dogs but I gained most of my followers from when my pup Oliver was photographed by The Dogist.

Tell us the story of Ollie entering your life. What was finding him like?

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Birthdays are expensive when you have children because you have to invite all their friends and no one can be left out. With dogs, they’re just happy if you give them a burger or something.

Michael: My parents surprised me with Oliver! My birthday and college graduation landed on the same day – May 11th – and my parents surprised me by getting me Oliver. They rang the doorbell to my apartment, set him down in his carrier at my door, and hid around the corner. I was shocked. One of the happiest moments of my life (tied with adopting Aya, of course).

*BRB my heart just died because I just imagined being surprised with a puppy.  😭*

When it was just you and Ollie, what was your favorite thing to do together?

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Michael: Ollie and I moved to New York when he was just 10 months old. I was a graduate student at Columbia with a pretty flexible schedule. Our favorite thing to do was explore the city together. Everything was new to me so we would walk for hours. The furthest distance we ever walked was from our apartment in the Upper West Side to Long Island City, Queens. Roundtrip was around 10 miles.

How did you decide to adopt Aya?

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There’s no replacing the proud feeling of keeping your baby alive for another year especially when it’s your baby girl!

Michael: I always wanted to have more than one dog but I wasn’t sure if I could handle two big dogs in the city. But it was important to me that Oliver have a companion while I was at work. I was living in Brooklyn at the time with a little backyard so I knew potty-training would be easier. A neighbor of mine in the Upper West Side told me about a shelter in Matawan, New Jersey called the Husky House (plug: if anyone is looking for a husky in the Tri-State area please check out the Husky House!). After a volunteer from the Husky House came by my apartment to make sure it was suitable for adoption, I went down to NJ and fell in love with Aya.

We looooove your costumes. Do you come up with the ideas on your own? Do you make the costumes yourself?

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Aya is just exuding excitement + her character’s personality.

Michael: Haha, thank you! I do come up with the costumes on my own. I try to think of famous trios. I aim to spend less than $35 so most pieces of the costumes are from either Goodwill or Salvation Army. We go to the Halloween Dog Parade in the East Village each October to show them off. I’m already planning for next year!

It seems as though you’ve been surrounded by dogs your whole life, could you imagine your life without at least one pet?

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Michael:   I cannot. I’ve never had fewer than two dogs at a time. Altogether, my family and I have 7 dogs – two huskies, a pit bull, a mastiff/bulldog mix, and three terrier mixes.

That’s a whole lot of dogs and whole lot of doggy love.

But here are more photos of the happy Husky family we wanted to share:

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Like any parent, you have two children with completely different personalities. Ollie’s the goofball and Aya doesn’t know how to goof as hard.

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When children are in front of other people (especially in church), they act like perfect angels. But behind closed doors, it’s all barking and yelping till you get some pats or some treats!

Like any strictly human family, Michael and his Husky babies go on family adventures.

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Huskies may act like big babies, but they are related to the wolf and love being outdoors. Plus, you’ve got to go on adventures for the Instagram shot!

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Plus, they need a lot of exercise and to be honest, some of us young adults can’t live in space larger than a moderate apartment. So, lots of walkies will help all of them stretch their legs.

But the best part of being a parent (both human and fur), you get to celebrate with family.

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Halloween is the best time for pets. Michael takes full advantage of his Huskies and dresses them up as the Big Bad Wolf and Grandma Wolf! #win

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When you’re a trio, one of the options is to be Alvin and the Chipmunks! We love the creativity and it’s just so cute!

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Christmas with the Wards means a hunt for the freshest Christmas tree to decorate (and maybe destroy) at home.

Any other Husky parents out there? We want to thank Michael for giving us some insight into life with two huskies  and Ollie and Aya for being so cute! Be sure to follow him on Instagram @mwardjr!