the gorilla and the malamute


malamuteThe Gorilla —

My college anthropology professor Betil Kunzler Yutz was a primatologist and had great stories. One story was about a gorilla at a zoo who used to get out of her gorilla zoo enclosure and sneak around to stand behind people looking in at the enclosure and other gorillas. She’d just stand there behind all the people, bent over peering studiously over their shoulders into the enclosure, waiting for someone to notice her. It was a gorilla joke and very funny but it worried hell out of the people at the zoo –- not because they thought she would hurt any of the zoo visitors, because they were afraid a zoo visitor would panic and attack her.

Gorillas have a serious sense of humor.


The Malamute —

I had a neighbor in Laurel Canyon who had two Malamute dogs. They were a team – not like a dog sled team, but just sort of a “we are a pack here” team. They did almost everything together. They were beautiful dogs, red and white with those ice blue eyes Malamutes have. And big. 150 plus pounds apiece. And they had a big yard with a really tall chain link fence around it.

One of the dogs was fine with the fence and just hanging out in the yard. But the other dog liked to make a point by getting out of the yard.

Here is the thing about the dog who got out of the yard all the time though. He didn’t leave. He was not running away. He would purposefully get out of the yard, then he would sit on the other side of the fence laughing at his companion. “Ha ha you are stuck inside the fence.” And the other dog would just roll its eyes.

You could tell the dog who broke out of the yard all the time thought it was hilarious. It didn’t matter what the neighbor did to that yard or fence, the Malamute could still get out any time he wanted. And he just liked doing it because he could and because he thought it was funny. He was a real good sport about it too when I would see him and say, What are you doing out here again? And I would go let him back into his house. And he’d just grin a big Malamute grin that said, “Okay Neighbor Lady, since it’s you,” and wag his tail and let me put him back inside his house.

And then a couple days later I’d see him sitting outside his fence again, laughing in at his teammate.

Every time I saw him do that, it reminded me of Betil’s story about the gorilla who would get out of her enclosure and pretend to be a zoo visitor staring in at her own enclosure.


*Say there are six Malamutes who need a ride from Helena Montana to Utah. They are going into rescue and if you know anyone who can help transport six Malamutes, please drop an email to maren [at] arcticrescue dot com


8 Responses to the gorilla and the malamute

  1. You write vignettes better than anyone I know.

  2. Max

    Aww. Thanks, Kym. You made my night.

  3. When they really want to play a joke, Malamutes sneeze on you. Lots.

  4. Max

    I am not completely convinced Malamutes and Siberian Huskies are exactly dogs. They do things that are not exactly dog stuff.

  5. No, they are distinct breeds. Malamutes are larger, huskies are more active.

  6. Max

    Hmm, so much for that joke. Oh well.

  7. My Malemute used to do that. He could always get out of the yard and he would sit on the sidewalk until I got home from school. Not my brother or sister. Me. Cool.

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