Furry fun
By Ann Marie Chandy |   |  Lifestyle

When in Melaka, be sure to check out one of its top attractions, The Huskitory!

The historic city of Melaka is famous for many things – the Portuguese Settlement, the A’ Famosa fort, the Dutch Stadthuys, long stretches of beaches by the Straits of Malacca, little cafes and bars by the Melaka river, the bustling open market on Jonker Walk, mouth-watering dishes like satay celup, chicken rice balls and durian cendol. So it’s a little surprising to find out that these days one of the most enjoyable things for tourists to do in town is to snuggle up to a bunch of Siberian Huskies!

Spending time at the Huskitory is a “must-do” Malacca experience, and visitors from over 40 countries have enjoyed this cuddlesome activity since 2014! TripAdvisor even rates it No.1 under “top attractions” in Melaka.

For an affordable fee of RM25, visitors get to pet, cuddle, feed kibble and take great “family” photos with these beautiful dogs. There’s also a Champions Gallery (where you’ll find a gift shop and these show dogs’ trophies and ribbons), as well as the Akita Cafe Gallery, designed to pay tribute to Hachiko, the world’s most loyal dog.

The show home is the brainchild of Henry Chew

“In total we have 30 dogs, and our mission is to provide a platform to introduce the Siberian Husky breed to the public,” says Melanie Quek, Huskitory’s business development executive.  “We want to give people the opportunity to learn, appreciate and connect with these friendly northern sled dogs.”

There are seven staff on duty at the Huskitory who love their jobs very much.

“It is like working at a kindergarten,” Quek says. “One has to have a lot of energy and patience because the dogs need a lot of love and attention.” The show home is the brainchild of Henry Chew, who felt it was God’s will that he create a place for society to learn to appreciate these incredible creatures. His motto is simple and says it all – connecting people and dogs.

The huskies you’ll find here in Taman Asean, Melaka – about a 20 minute drive out of town – are recognised internationally by the Malaysian Kennel Association and the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI or the World Canine Organization) for their quality which reflects the standards of professional care, health and well-being with which the dogs are treated. Indeed the furry friends are so carefully groomed and well-behaved they almost look like mannequins!

On your visit, you may run into one or two other breeds at the Huskitory too – there’s an Akita named Toastie, and a Japanese spitz-Pomeranian, Snow White, that thinks it’s a Husky!

The Siberian Huskies grow to about 22kg (female) and 25kg (male) and come in various shades and markings, from black and white to sable, redorange and piebald, have fascinating eyes (some are bieyed and parti-eyed) and have two coats of fur, one which helps them regulate their body temperature. You’ll learn all this and
more when you visit. The oldest resident at Huskitory, Mia, is now nine years old; but Huskies can grow up to 15 years of age. Mia is gentle and will let you pet her as much as you want.

There’s also a handful of delightful puppies that are quickly growing up!

Aasha Wijesuriya, a nine-yearold from Phoenix, Arizona, says that she will tell all her friends about the Huskitory when she gets home from her vacation here in Malaysia.

“I will tell them about the puppies. They are very cute and snuggly. My favourite thing was that we got to take pictures, and we were allowed to pet the dogs. I wish the puppies were still babies!”

The Huskitory is open from Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Mondays) from 11am to 8pm. Admission fee is RM25 for adults and RM20 for children. There are scheduled sessions when visitors are allowed to interact with the canines from 11am-12.30pm, 12.30pm-2pm, 2pm-3.30pm, 3.30pm-5pm, 5pm-6.30pm and 6.30pm-8pm. Do make a reservation if you are coming from outstation so you won’t be turned away. Note: No personal pets are allowed.

For more information, check out the Huskitory on Facebook (www.facebook. com/huskitory), TripAdvisor or Google.

The huskies are always ready for a group photo

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