You've probably seen this dog thousands of times in downtown Rochester - just like I have. I couldn't help but ask: what's their story?

I don't know about you, but I don't come across an Alaskan Malamute every day. They are BIG dogs. It was hard not to notice this beauty when she'd pop up at Social Ice or Thursdays on 1st & 3rd. She's also spotted at local dog parks.

I found out that the malamute I see "everywhere" downtown is a big love bug!

Her name is Ayla. It's the name of a Turkish moon goddess. I reached out to her "dad" Rochester local Alex Mayer, and told him that I loved seeing her around and was curious about her. He asked if I'd like to officially meet her. I said, of course, I would!

TSM Rochester: Alex Mayer

When we met for lunch, I found out that Ayla is a three-year-old Alaskan Malamute. Not a husky - a malamute. They've been on this earth for around 3,000 years (or more!) and were primarily sled dogs and working dogs. Alex has had her since she was a puppy.

She is a big girl (Alex guessed around 90lbs or so), but don't let her size worry you. She's a mellow love bug, and very friendly. She's very used to people asking to pet her and happily obliges. She's gentle with children too. Seriously, while we were at lunch, EVERYONE wanted to pet this dog. Some people even wanted pictures with her! Yep, this weirdo included.

What I didn't know about Ayla before our lunch meeting was that she's training to be a therapy dog. I observed plenty of patience in her, and I think she'd make a great fit!

Before I began my day I actually had a pretty bad case of anxiety before leaving my apartment to head to work, but by the time I met Ayla, I forgot everything that worried or concerned me. She has an ability to latch onto people. She'll literally lean into them when they meet her. She's probably hoping for a butt scratch when that happens too, but still, it tells me she's fearless and that's reassuring.

Dad Alex says, "belly rubs are her favorite!" A raw meat diet keeps her coat clean and beautiful.

If you're thinking about getting an Alaskan Malamute, Alex wants you to know that "They're work! They really depend on you too. You've got to brush them daily or they'll get matted. I don't like to keep her caged all day, because of her size, so that's why she goes to daycare or goes out with me. She likes being out." Alex says he still looks at her somedays and pets her face still comprehending that she's his.

If you see her, say hello! She even has her own business card!

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