Portrait Of A Dog – Alaska

Alaska’s eyes

It is quite hard to write about Alaska because, out of all my father’s dogs, she is the one I feel closest to on an emotional level. Let’s just say that, if James is my stepbrother’s dog and Noir is my stepsister’s, Alaska can be considered my dog, since we have a strong connection and she relies on me to take care of her whenever I am visiting the family.

Born from a stray dog in the region of Campania (Southern Italy), she is a Maremma sheepdog mix like Ambra, even though she is much bigger than her, and they both come from the same dog kennel.

If you’ve read the article I wrote about Ambra, you will probably remember that she suffered a series of abuses at the kennel. Alaska went through the same situation and it was much worse for her, as she’s more fragile and sensible than Ambra, who’s a tough dog and is not easily frightened or intimidated.

Alaska entered the kennel when she was just a couple of months old and remained there for six months, when my father’s partner found a notice about her online and decided to proceed with her adoption. She went through a lot to get Alaska because she was firstly described as a “difficult dog”, she once bit the volunteer’s hand because she was scared of everybody and had to be taken home in a special pet carrier. I saw some pictures from her kennel days and she seemed so sad and ill (I know she even got mange at some point), you can’t imagine the living conditions of these dogs at the kennel. We always try to report it to the authorities whenever we hear about cases like this, but it is difficult to be taken into serious consideration; nonetheless, if you happen to see or hear about animals being mistreated or abused, please report this to the local authorities if you can.

When she first arrived home, Alaska was scared of everyone, including the other dogs, so my father’s partner had to do a long work of re-education with her; it was pretty hard to get to the point where Alaska would actually feel safe and protected, but she managed to do an extraordinary job with her, since no one had the courage to touch this dog, not even the volunteers.

When Alaska and I met each other, it had been a year and a half since her arrival so she was much more comfortable in her own skin, even though she is still scared of my father to this day and barks loudly whenever he is approaching. She usually allows him to feed her or pat her on the head when she’s in her dog bed, but she gets scared whenever he’s gardening or entering a room. This is probably because my father is from Southern Italy, so his physiognomy might remind her of someone who mistreated her at the kennel.

Alaska is a sweet dog when she acknowledges that she can trust the person she’s interacting with; she loves being cuddled and getting dog snacks. She wouldn’t eat anything when she first arrived home but has now developed a strong appetite and she is always the first one to finish lunch. She loves playing with people and other dogs and enjoys being photographed; she is probably the dog I love to photograph the most, because she is quite good at posing for a picture. My MacBook is now full of portraits of Alaska, and my father often teases me for my obvious preference for her whenever he wants to see pictures of the dogs; for every picture of one of the dogs, there will be about ten of Alaska!

She loves sitting quietly in the grass and eating a few stems, doesn’t really enjoy going out for a walk because she’s scared of the world outside (we are still working on this) and likes to observe the birds perched on the trees in the garden; she is always lying under the table every time we have lunch or dinner, always hoping to get some extra food.

Like all the other dogs, Alaska has given me a lot of love and affection during a particularly tough time in my life; it is as if we shared our pain and learned to find comfort in each other’s company. She’s the one who made me realize that dogs are better than people because they are definitely more capable of unconditional love and respect.

The Beauty of Alaska.

All pictures are my own.

%d bloggers like this: