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The affectionate companion

boy and dog outside next to each other

Michael Guthrie and rescue husky Kira share a special bond. Michael, who was 18 at the time of photo, is now in college. Both eagerly await being reunited during the Thanksgiving break.

A pet is a special addition to any family, especially one with a child who has unique needs.  Poppet was one such pet for the Guthrie family.  Michael, the youngest of Doug and Claire Guthrie’s five children, had a special bond with the chocolate Labrador, and when they lost Poppet, it left a void that needed filling.

Michael has been diagnosed with dyspraxia, a developmental disorder that makes it difficult to perform complex movements like walking and talking.  Poppet was Michael’s best friend and each day she stood by Michael’s side, playing with him in ways that assisted with his speech and steps.  Studies have found that the stimulation a dog brings can awaken muscles necessary for speech and other bodily movements.  Poppet awakened Michael’s movements and his spirit.  After Poppet passed, Michael wanted another companion, specifically a husky.

In 2020 while still living in California, the Guthrie family rescued Kira after she was found tied up in the desert.  The young husky pup had been left abandoned.  Unable to locate her owner, Kira Poppet – named after their loving and faithful Labrador – became part of the Guthrie family and Michael’s life.

Kira is not the Guthries’ first rescue.  “We have had other rescues that have brought so much joy to our heart, which are now in heaven,” shared Claire Guthrie.   When adopted by the family, Kira inherited a canine sibling, 8-year-old Pomeranian rescue Derbyshire.  As a pack breed, the husky will instinctually acknowledge and respect the ‘top dog.’  The two rescues play happily together, although Derbyshire has made it very clear to Kira that he is in charge.

Kira’s almond shaped eyes, one blue and one brown, along with her thick fur coat make it easy to identify her as a Siberian Husky, cousin to the Alaskan Malamute.  Huskies were bred by the Chukchi people of Siberia for sled pulling and companionship.  The breed is known for its strength, speed and stamina.  Although an active breed, they require a small amount of food compared to other dogs of medium size.  Kira loves food and eats an all-raw diet.  Freeze dried treats are her favorite.

Congenital cataracts and blindness in her brown eye make Kira’s vision limited, but that has not prohibited her from remaining active.  By nature, huskies are high energy dogs that require a lot of daily exercise and mental stimulation.  Kira’s playful spirit keeps her busy all day.  She prefers the outdoors to inside.  She loves to play with tiny toys made for small dogs, especially Derbyshire’s toys, stealing and running away with them.  She frequently entertains her family with her quirkiness and what they call the ‘buckaroo,’ jumping and leaping like a horse.

Kira is faithful and whimsical.  She has made the Gutheries very happy.  She has been a very true and special friend to Michael when he has needed her most and always seems to know when extra love is needed.

small and large dog next to each other

Despite being more than twice his size, friend and loyal companion Kira instinctually respects ‘top dog’ Derbyshire in the Guthrie’s household.

By Julie Matuszewski; photos courtesy of Claire Guthrie




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