My Incredible Pet: Wally the chow/malamute

Wally is known as the “Rock Star” of the Klatt family. The 18-year-old chow/malamute mix loves to play in the creek and protect the chickens and peacocks on the Klatt’s 15-acre Mount Ulla farm. Kristin tells Wally’s story.

Slow start: My niece in Washington was about 20 when she saw a sign for free puppies. Wally was the cutest little fluff ball, she couldn’t say no. But he got big very fast, so she took him to my mom’s house. Wally was an outside dog there, but was so happy whenever my family came from Idaho to visit.

Family time: My boys were toddlers and loved pulling his bushy, red tail and his ears. Wally’s such a happy guy, he’d just smile. We adopted Wally before my husband’s job transferred us to North Carolina. That was 15 years ago, and he’s been a huge part of the family, joined also by Pudge, another chow rescue, and Fifi the pug.

Joyful: Wally visits the VA hospital in Salisbury and a nursing home in Mooresville. The veterans like to tell their stories about the dogs from their lives and obviously miss their old companions. They’re so appreciative of bigger dogs like Wally, who loves making them happy.

Till the end: Wally has been a great protector but has never shown the aggression people associate with chows. Always a fan of car rides, Wally has been in several parades and still gets excited when he hears me get my car keys. He romps when he feels like it, but has his senior moments, too. Wally has had some close calls, and I thank God every day he’s still with us. Hilary Trenda



Go to, scroll down to the Incredible Pet contest, and follow the instructions there.