Fluffy, cuddly and a wee bit slobbery — these are the members of the newest organization to hit campus.
The UCF Husky Owners group is home to a pack of students and their companions looking to blow off some steam after a "ruff" day.
Created just a few days ago by Kirby Walsh, a senior mechanical engineering major, the closed Facebook group was started so that huskies and their owners could come together.
"It's great for the dogs and lets you meet other people with similar interests," said Walsh, who owns an almost 2-year-old husky named Reilley. "I was interested in getting my husky out and [socialized] and I figured a group would be the best way to get together."
The group has already garnered the attention of 15 members and hosted its first doggie meetup on Monday. Edyn Schwartz, a senior psychology major, initially posted in the Facebook page UCF Craigslist looking to start a meetup group to go to dog parks.
"Everyone had the same idea about dogs — dogs are the best. And huskies are even better than regular dogs," Schwartz said. "They're a lot of work, but they're very rewarding."
And to Schwartz, her almost 3-year-old Siberian husky Nanook has been much more than just a dog. She's a pillow, the big spoon and a friend.
Nanook actually acts a therapy dog for Schwartz, who experiences anxiety and depression, which is why she's allowed to keep her at her apartment.
"Without being super sappy, she's made so many parts of my life so much better," she said. "It's amazing how dogs are truly in tune to their owners' emotions."
Turns out, Schwartz has made an impact on Nanook's life as well. Nanook was originally bred to be a show dog, but due to some less-than-desirable traits, her original owner decided to use her for a breeding dog instead. To complicate things even more, it was soon discovered that Nanook is sterile, and so the owner began abusing her.
But soon, Nanook made her way to a rescue agency in Pearson, where Schwartz picked her up after finding her on Craigslist. It was then that Schwartz promised Nanook she would be her forever home.
"I want to know her story — not what someone's told me — to see it through her eyes," Schwartz said.
But these huskies continue to write their stories even today. For instance, Reilley, who happily pulls his master on his longboard, can scale a chain link fence and is learning to walk on his hind legs.
And no husky is complete without a dash of mischief.
Walsh and Schwartz said the breed constantly sheds, is quite destructive and needs lots of outdoor playtime. And that's exactly what the two hope to bring to their precious pups through the new UCF group.
"It's kind of a way for me to build friends," Schwartz said, "but it's also a way for her to build friends."
More about the group
UCF Husky Owners usually meets in Baldwin Park Sundays at 10:30 a.m. To join the group and find out about future meetups, search UCF Husky Owners on Facebook.