Wolf Dogs Find Safe Haven at Animal Sanctuaries

September 29, 2011 | By Kris O'Donnell | Category: Heroes | 1 comment
Tags: adoption & rescue, charity, heroes

(Photo Courtesy of In Harmony With Nature Animal Haven)

Unique rescue organizations provide shelter for wolf-dog hybrids.

As the poor economy continues to take its toll on families across the country, more and more pets are being surrendered to shelters. But if they are exotic pets, such as wolf-dog hybrids, the situation can be even more challenging.

“The animals like being outside more and so they end up being in outdoor enclosures which, when you’re trying to re-home them, makes it more challenging because people don’t want outdoor dogs,” Kim Kapes, Executive Director of In Harmony with Nature sanctuary said.

Kapes says that’s just one of the issues when dealing with wolf dogs. Her Florida sanctuary currently has 18 wolf dogs.

“Their ingenuity, their intelligence, the intensity all surpasses the domestic dog,” Kapes said. “That’s a lot of what they take genetically from their wild cousins, the aloofness, that lack of looking to the human for assistance,” she said.

Because of those traits, they can be difficult to train.

“You can’t use conventional training methods with these guys. If you get on the harsh or negative side of training, with a lot of these guys you’re going to break the trust,” Kapes said. “It’s going to create a more timid, shy, fearful animal that is not going to give you the time of day.”

Kapes says people often purchase a wolf dog for the wrong reason. “They get the animal because of the look,” she said. “They want the look of that wolf and it’s a gorgeous look.”

Danya Leshick, who is the director of Where Wolves Rescue in Arizona, has been rescuing wolf dogs since 1983.

“Their specific requirements aren’t always the same as say, a Dalmatian or a Chihuahua or a Shih Tzu,” Leshick said. “They tend to be very athletic animals. They need to keep themselves physically interested otherwise they get bored, they get cranky,” she said.

Leshick currently has six wolf dogs at her facility. One of them, named Lucky, has a typical story.

“He arrived from California,” Leshick said. “He had been found as a stray at about seven or eight months old with a leash chewed off dangling from his neck running through Los Angeles.”

Lucky was fortunate that the people who found him brought him to Where Wolves Rescue.

“As he pulled in he could hear them howling in the background,” Leshick said. “He got out, he ran around, got introduced to the other dogs and he was at home.”

Leshick says she does try to re-home some of the dogs, but a number of them, like Lucky, will spend the rest of their lives at the sanctuary.

Kapes say she, too, will re-home dogs to the right owner. But she’s afraid the number of hybrids will not be declining any time soon.

“I think it is increasing unfortunately,” Kapes said. “A lot of the increase tends to be backyard breeders because over the last few years, a lot of the mainstream, better qualified breeders have really slowed in their production of these animals. They’re starting to see that two or three out of a litter are house quality and when people get them they’re still a more intense animal,” she said.

The Humane Society of the United States says breeding can produce unpredictable results.

“The problem with an animal who’s half wolf and half dog is that you get a mix of wild and domestic genes,” HSUS spokesman Adam Goldfarb said. “There’s no way to predict the results. You could get animals that look like wolves, but act like dogs, or you could get an animal that looks like a dog who behaves like a wolf,” he said. “The main problem is that when you start playing with genetics,

you never know what you’re going to get,” Goldfarb said.

As for Kapes, she says she’ll continue to do whatever she can for wolf dogs.

“I love the animals. I want to be able to help them because I understand them and I’m willing to work through their challenges but I don’t believe they should be bred,” Kapes said.

Pictured: Brutus, a wolf-dog hybrid, explores his home at the In Harmony With Nature Animal Haven. (Photo Courtesy of In Harmony With Nature Animal Haven)

Have you heard of wolf-dog hybrids or other exotic pets being taken in at shelters in your area? Tell us below!

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4 years ago

These wolf dogs are lucky in my area we don't have anything like that and that is why any wild animals only get 72 hours to find a home and then they are put down cause the humane socitey doesn't have the proper facilities for wild animals. So when ever an injured blue bird or baby blue bird or crow is found in my yard I just take care of it myslef.

Good Point | Reply ›

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