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Galena staff loves their dogs

Mr. Huntington’s dog Spot in Hawaii.

By ELIZABETH HARRIS, staff writer

Science teacher Donna Matthews and assistant principal David Huntington both love their dogs.

Ms. Matthews was working as a head gardener in a private estate in Houston, Texas, in 2010.  For two months she took care of a litter of 13 puppies and was given two of those puppies by her boss.

One of those dogs, Fred, is living with her now in Galena. George has since died.

What Ms. Matthews likes about having a dog is their companionship and unconditional love. Did  she train them? “No, they trained me,” she said.

She named her dogs Fred and George after the Weasley twins in Harry Potter. Fred is the alpha who did his own thing and just listened when he felt like it, she said. George was a momma’s boy and did everything to please her.

Sadly, George passed away in the summer of 2019. Fred doesn’t like Ms. Matthews’s job because he doesn’t like being left alone. Fred and George adapted to the cold quite well and use jackets when it gets to about -40 degrees out. Ms. Matthews said it was interesting that their hair was normally short, and when they moved to Alaska, their fur adapted to the cold and grew longer.

She said there is a Yupik legend that says if you don’t take care of your animals, the animals you hunt won’t take care of you. “I truly believe that there’s a special place in hell for people who abuse animals, and that they deserve every moment they spend there,” she said.

Mr. Huntington, the assistant principal at GILA, said he has a dog named Spot.

He got Spot at three months old from a co-worker in Hawaii in December 2011. When he got the dog, his name was Cuddlebugs, and although it was a great name, Mr. Huntington decided to change it.

Spot begs for food, and he gets really excited when he gets to go for a walk, for a swim, for a run alongside a four-wheeler, and catching sticks. He got well-trained by Mr. Huntington.

 “He doesn’t like being left alone. He gets very sad-faced,” Mr. Huntington said.

Mr. Huntington said the best thing about having a dog is that they’re very loyal, they’re always happy to see you, and it feels good to be loved by them.

Spot adapted well to Alaska’s cold temperatures, but he misses swimming, said Mr. Huntington. He loves his owner’s job when he gets to come along, but hates it when he has to stay home. Last of all, Spot loves students and attention he gets from them, he said.