The Husky Squad interview
The Husky Squad explore a forest (Photo: The Husky Squad / Instagram)
Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
Updated on November 08, 2019
Exclusive

Tidus, Yuna and Kimahri are three adopted Siberian Huskies who form the Husky Squad.

Along with their pack leaders JC and Victoria, the Husky Squad (@huskysquad) can be found exploring the world.

Their aim is to inspire dog parents through their Instagram page and their YouTube channel.

JC and Victoria use their social media presence to provide an insight into the responsibility of owning a dog such as a Siberian Husky.

Rather than encourage their fans to go out and purchase a puppy, the Husky Squad want to help people understand that owning a dog is a huge commitment.

They hope to educate their followers and subscribers on how to give their dogs the best possible life, while forging an incredible bond with their canine companions.

In this interview, we spoke to Victoria about Tidus, Yuna and Kimahri, what life is like on the move with three dogs and the responsibilities that come with owning Siberian Huskies.

• Website and blog: HuskySquad.com
• Youtube: HuskySquad
• Instagram: @huskysquad

The Husky Squad interview

1) What first attracted you to the Siberian Husky breed?

What a great question! Jc and I have spent our whole relationship hiking, starting on our very first date and covering endless kilometers of stunning (and tough!) terrain since then. We wanted a fur kid who would LOVE joining our active adventures. Our pup would need to be able to keep up with us, but also thrive on this active lifestyle and be as happy as we were! We didn’t originally have our hearts set on a husky.

2) How did you end up with Tidus, Yuna and Kimahri?

We’re excited to share the answer in depth on our YouTube channel in the future! Each pup has his or her own story and deserves a moment in the spotlight.

First, Tidus was a runt of the litter when we found him offered “on sale” since he was unwanted. This broke our hearts! Afraid of how his life would turn out, we brought him home as our first fur-kid.

Next, we brought Yuna into our growing family! She was an older puppy, and another runt of the litter. (In fact, she stayed so small that people sometimes wonder if she’s a real husky!) We figured she’d be a great companion for Tidus.

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As an aside, adopting Yuna this early was a mistake. Of course we wouldn’t change a thing about it (and we love her to pieces!), but huskies are very difficult puppies. The first year was extremely difficult, and that’s putting it mildly! We were exhausted, had so much to learn, and felt like our family was definitely complete.

Our plans changed when we got word of a very difficult and “aggressive” husky girl who was close to a year old. She spent her days in a small concrete backyard without any activities or the daily exercise she so desperately needed.

The family had received her as a gift, so they hadn’t done proper planning and research. When they realized they didn’t have the time to deal with her, they tried selling her. When that didn’t work, the plan was to drop her off in one of the highest kill shelters in Southern California. Dogs who get dropped off as aggressive in USA shelters have dramatically lower chances of being adopted, and are usually euthanized.

Her story touched our hearts so deeply. We didn’t know how our life would be once we brought her into our family, but we felt confident enough with this challenging breed to rescue Kimahri just before her fateful day.

I took her on her first run of her life. During her first 30 seconds of her run, she started grinning ear to ear. The rest is history!

Our plan in the near future is to foster more dogs in need (like Kimahri was!), especially difficult breeds and cases. We’ll rehab them and help them find an amazing forever home.

3) Can you give us an insight into the personalities of all three of your Huskies?

The Husky Squad pose in the snow (Photo: The Husky Squad / Instagram)
The Husky Squad pose in the snow (Photo: The Husky Squad / Instagram)

Tidus is the sweetest and mellowest boy we know. At home, he’s super relaxed, and loves his food and cuddles. He’s also a total mama’s boy and he really likes his comforts. He can’t wait to get in his husky kilometers for the day! Tidus LOVES winter, and enjoys long naps buried in fresh powder during a snowstorm. He has a super-nose and detects EVERYTHING! We nicknamed him “Bear” because he’s cuddly and sweet, but he’s also very protective of the whole family when we’re outside (which is very unusual for a husky!).

Yuna has a very regal and stoic personality. She’s incredibly intelligent, and gentle while remaining very firm in her ways. She established her alpha role in the pack as soon as she stepped into our home, and Tidus has happily followed her ever since. She’s so gentle in her leadership that only an experienced eye will see how she controls her environment. She’s people-shy, and prefers you to give her space while she gets to know you. Yuna slips out of her serious alpha mode to use her puppy eyes and cute tornado prances to win our hearts (and get her way). She’s so endearing—you should see her when she snow dives like a silver fox.

Kimahri is the spark in our pack. Although it’s been 7 years since we rescued her, she has never matured. She has a fiery personality unlike any we’ve ever seen before. She’s fast and graceful as a gazelle, while being fearless like a coyote. Her grin hasn’t left her face since the moment we took her for her first run! She’s high on life, and loves the thrill of gnarly trails packed with challenges. Kimahri never tires on the trail, and we have yet to figure out what her limit is, because it seems endless. She lives to run fast and pull hard, so we make sure she gets her “husky” out as much as possible. Once we get home, Kimahri loves a big bowl of raw fresh meat and a snuggle session before she retires for the night. Kimahri has a dominant alpha personality, but Yuna made it immediately clear that she owns that spot. Forever.

4) What are the challenges of owning three Huskies?

• The shedding. It never ends. Triple the huskies, triple the fur. You can’t even fathom this unless you experience it.

• Learning how to coach three very strong personalities to become a very united and calm pack.

• Discovering that we have two dominant personalities in one pack, and figuring out how to make it work.

• The cost! Both in food and their other needs.

• Their physical strength when they pull. That’s a lot of torque!

• Traveling and staying in hotels becomes a lot more complicated with more than one dog. With three dogs, it’s pretty much impossible due to “policies.”

• Sickness. It happens and it’s part of life. With three pups, we’re exposed to triple the pain. Seeing our dogs suffer is the most difficult thing we’ve ever been through. They’ve had everything from ACL injuries, to allergies, all the way to cancer.

In hindsight, we don’t recommend three (or even two) dogs to a new dog parent. Start with just one! Once that dog is properly trained, and you’ve built a strong connection, you can evaluate whether you really want another dog, and whether you’re ready. Tidus would have been very happy to be our only fur-kid.

We originally believed the common misconception that huskies and some other breeds “need” another fur family member. We were wrong! Huskies want and crave a close bond with their human parent more than anything. In fact, that’s the most important element in the life of any dog.

5) What are the perks of owning three Huskies?

I’m not sure that there are perks. I was raised in a large family, and I felt that smaller families had more time for each child. However, we have zero regrets with our pack of three, especially since we really understand this amazing breed now. The joy of seeing them run together, hike together, and even hunt together is precious. The things we do as a family make it all special.

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We initially planned on a family of four, Jc and I included—but we became five, and we’re so happy we saved Kimahri. Her zest for life is contagious, and she completes us as a pack.

6) Do Siberian Huskies need a lot of exercise?

The Husky Squad on the beach (Photo: The Husky Squad / Instagram)
The Husky Squad on the beach (Photo: The Husky Squad / Instagram)

Absolutely! After all, that’s what they were bred for. It’s in their blood, in their genes, and on their mind ALL THE TIME. Huskies are working snow dogs. They were bred to run long distances while pulling a load. They’re born with incredible stamina and endurance, and fulfilling their need to “work” is essential. Huskies, a.k.a. snow dogs, are not suited for warm climates. Although you can stick a husky in air conditioned room for its entire life, this arctic breed will not get to exercise the way they need and love when living in tropical or hot climates. It saddens us tremendously to see these breeds growing in demand in hot climates. If we lived in a warm climate, we’d opt for a short-haired breed unless a dog needed to be rescued.

Jc and I have been on the move since we formed our pack, always heading further north. Ultimately, our goal is to experience very mild summers. Our snow dogs’ happiness, comfort, and quality of life is our number-one priority as dog parents.

7) Are Siberian Huskies loyal dogs?

Haha! To be honest, the entire Squad would probably welcome a thief in heartbeat (as long as they bring treats!).

Loyalty is something that is built through time and dedication. Think of any relationship; it doesn’t happen overnight. A connection is earned through putting in the work beyond just meeting basic needs. From our experience with various breeds, it takes much longer to earn this connection with an intelligent and wild breed. They don’t just gift you their love because you feed them, like some other breeds do. It’s a challenge, but if you put in the work over many years, the connection is indescribable.

On a side note, we also don’t like to bunch every dog of this breed together, because they’re all so different as individuals.

8) Do Siberian Huskies suffer with separation anxiety in your experience?

We don’t find that to be the case. Separation anxiety is mostly caused by the environment and upbringing, and our experience is that this can affect any breed.

9) How much do Siberian Huskies shed? Is a lot of grooming required?

There’s fur everywhere. Permanently. It’s something you have to learn to embrace. Huskies molt their undercoat twice a year, which creates a snow storm for several weeks each time. This process is natural and necessary to protect them through the seasons. Never shave a husky coat! It’s very harmful.

A solid grooming and bathing routine will help deal with this effectively. It took us years to figure this out, but we now have an amazing routine in place, and this topic is one of our most popular videos on our channel. Our routine helps tremendously with shedding, and also gives hundreds of thousands of dog parents a way to turn grooming into an amazing spa-date for their pups.

For more on this topic, check out the Husky Squad’s website: https://huskysquad.com

A healthy, properly planned natural homemade diet and essential omegas also help with coat and skin care, reducing excessive shedding throughout the rest of the year. But don’t get your hopes up, because the fur everywhere remains.

10) What advice would you give to someone considering a Siberian Husky as a pet?

Before anything:

Research the needs of the breed. Consider whether you can truly give a husky what it needs to thrive, or whether you’re just attracted to its beautiful looks.

Consider temporarily fostering a husky from a local rescue. This way you’ll learn whether you can handle this breed while helping a husky in need.

Consider adopting a husky from a rescue or shelter. There are thousands of them abandoned around the world looking for a second chance at life.

Rescue huskies are amazing! Just look at sweet Kimahri!

Now ask yourself these questions:

• Are you ready to change your entire life to meet the dog’s needs for its lifespan? This is not something to do on a whim, but potentially a 15+ year commitment!

• Are you prepared for the ongoing, and sometimes very expensive, costs?

• Are you able to comfortably afford healthful food for better overall health?

• How will you go on vacation or travel? You’ll either have to travel together, or spend money on dog hotels. We don’t do kennels because putting a dog in a cage for days is very damaging to their well-being and creates a lot of anxiety, which can be difficult to reverse.

• If life happens and your fur-kid gets sick, are you committed to the cost and time to help the dog heal?

For the husky specifically:

• Do you live in the right climate? (Don’t force a snow arctic dog to adapt to your climate!)

• Can you live with the fact that huskies are not off-leash dogs, and leaving the door open for a split second may have your escape artist just go (and be at risk for getting hit by a car)?

• Can you provide at least one hour of exercise TWICE a day?

• Can you commit to grooming 1-2 times per week?

• Can you cope with constant husky hair in your home for the next 15 years? In your car, on your clothing, in your coffee, everywhere!

• Are you prepared to spend many, many hours of quality time training, being a calm leader, setting boundaries, and earning the bond? (Huskies don’t love you by default like many other breeds.)

• Do you have the capacity and time to give this working breed the ability to “work”? Huskies thrive on pulling, running, and long-distance hikes.

Over time, we’ve come to understand that our pack is our family. We don’t consider them “pets,” and we also feel that ownership is applied to objects, not family.

11) How much time do you spend exploring with your three Huskies?

Our entire lives!

You can check out Husky Squad’s YouTube playlist of their typical outdoor adventures here: www.youtube.com

When we’re off work, that’s all we do, and it’s what we love to do most every single day. A new trail, another alpine lake, another epic adventure, another cabin, a new hidden campground, and another life experience. Seeing the huskies stand at the edge of a cliff looking out and absorbing the epic views is what we live for. (And sometimes we even manage to capture those breathtaking moments on video for our channel!) Now, we’re taking our pups far beyond the borders of the USA. There are mountains all over the world just waiting for the Husky Squad, and we can’t wait to explore them! We’ve already started with the breathtaking Swiss Alps and have some amazing plans coming up all over Europe.

12) Why (and when) did you decide to start an Instagram account for Tidus, Yuna and Kimahri?

The Husky Squad at the campsite (Photo: The Husky Squad / Instagram)
The Husky Squad at the campsite (Photo: The Husky Squad / Instagram)

It started as a commitment to ourselves to do more of what we love, which is spending time with the Squad! We viewed Instagram and YouTube as places to share a diary of our life with the pups. We quickly inspired thousands of people to go spend time with their dogs in nature and give them an amazing quality of life. In turn, our community of amazing and caring dog parents inspire us to share more each day.

As much as we enjoy growing our community, what matters to us MOST is giving our fur-kids the most amazing life we possibly can. We mould our lives around them, and we love seeing our YouTube and Instagram channels encouraging thousands of other dog parents to build strong bonds with their dogs and enjoy the simple, beautiful life of being outdoors.

13) Do you have any tips and tricks for encouraging dogs to be more camera friendly?

Absolutely! Make sure you give them their needs first (including exercise and bonding), then make it a fun, rewarding experience with treats and happy vibes. Never force your dog to pose. Instead, make it fun and exciting, and the natural model comes out!

14) Do you have a favorite post on @huskysquad?

That’s so difficult to say! I’ll answer based on the best experience we gave the Squad on each platform.

For YouTube:

What Every Dog Deserves
First Magical Snow Storm of The Season
Our Morning Routine

For Instagram:

• The most magical snow storm

• The coziest A-Frame cabin

• The most whimsical campground

15) What other Siberian Husky or dog accounts in general do you recommend to our readers?

We love our YouTube and Instagram community, and there are so many fantastic and beautiful accounts! For now, we’ll highlight just two.

@cairothereddoberman is our favorite account on Instagram. Cairo’s mom Amber is the most amazing dog mom we know. She focuses on Cairo’s well-being as her biggest priority above all else. She feeds him an amazing diet, exercises him every single day, and she constantly works on their amazing bond. Accounts like hers make the world a better place for dogs because they inspire and embody what we should all be. Cairo radiates amazing well-being, good health and happiness.

@mistyroamswild features a dog mom giving her husky an incredible life full of outdoor adventures. We’re all about going beyond meeting a dog’s basic needs, and we can’t ever get enough of seeing Misty roaming stunning wild places thanks to her amazing parents! When Misty comes home from her adventures, she gets to enjoy a healthy meal, and you can clearly see that she’s happy and thriving.

Pros/Cons of Siberian Huskies

The Husky Squad (Photo: The Husky Squad / Instagram)
The Husky Squad with their owners Victoria and JC (Photo: The Husky Squad / Instagram)

In the beginning of our dog parenthood, we would have been able to answer this more easily! What we learned after fostering, rescuing, and rehabbing various breeds is that there are no pros and cons to any breed. There’s commitment, there’s spending time building a strong bond, and there’s giving an amazing quality of life to a creature whose entire existence depends on you because you brought them into your life.

For more information and to keep up to date on the Husky Squad’s adventures, you can check out Tidus, Yuna and Kimahri on the following platforms:

• Website and blog: HuskySquad.com
• Youtube: HuskySquad
• Instagram: @huskysquad