Wolf-dog Education...




Responsible Ownership thru Education

My life with wolfdogs and everything in between.

Since this website has been up for a few years now, I thought it was about time to introduce you to myself and my woofie babies.

 I rescued my first wolfdog when I was 15 years old.  He was an assisted rescue thru the Texas Alaskan Malamute Rescue and the absolute love of my life.  He was a mid content wolfdog named Monty, or as most people knew him, affectionately called Moo-dog. He lived a long and incredible life until he passed away in September of 2010.

He lead me to become more active in wolfdog education and rescue.  Though I was teenager, I spent hours researching, looking up facts, learning the myths and reading both wolf and wolfdog specific books to gain a better understanding of these animals. I spoke with different owners and rescuers, just wanting to learn more and more. I started volunteering at Saint Francis Wolf Sanctuary (SFWS) and even helped place a few low and mid content wolfdogs with my own time and money.

 

My big leap into wolfdog rescue and education happened in early 2008. A large "wolf" had been spotted several times throughout the county neighborhood in which I reside. Sure enough, after hearing about it for several weeks, I finally caught a glimpse of this supposed wolf...and was I ever blown away. What I thought was going to be a malamute or husky mix, eded up to be a real high content wolfdog. His name was Texx and he belonged to a lady in the neighborhood across the creek. He had escaped his containment and was running loose and people were beginning to worry.  The owner was filing for banckrupcy and was also going to have to place her low content male, Peto, before she lost her house.

 

I contacted SFWS and informed them of the situation and then we began to formulate some plans as to how to capture this incredible animal.

 An escape proof enclosure was constructed by me and my dad and all we could do was wait.  Long story short, he eluded us for several months and during that time I had taken in Peto, who was in desperate need of a new home. He was a timid boy that took several weeks to gain his trust and let me touch him. I was only supposed to be fostering him, but he won my heart and I won his.  During the time Peto was at my house, Texx would come by to visit him.  He would sit for hours outside his enclosure, howl for him and follow us when I would take Peto out on his walks.  It was his loyalty to Peto and his love of food that aided in his capture. And on July 18, 2008...Texx walked into Peto's enclosure to steal his unfinished food (and to pee on his favorite picnic table) and the gate was slammed shut with the help of a 100ft rope.

I fostered Texx until January of 2009 where he was finally placed at Mission: Wolf. I drove him the 14 hours thru ice and snow to make sure he was in the best place possible.  He is an incredible animal and is thriving at his new home with the help of Kent and the loving volunteers of M:W.

Shortly after Texx made it to Mission: Wolf, another wolfdog entered my life.  His name was Eddie (now known as Huey).  In May of 2009 a mid content wolfdog puppy made his way into my life as a foster. From mid May until late July of 2009 I raised this little baby until he found his forever home with Matthew and Lorin of Lockwood Animal Rescue Center (LARC). They renamed him Huey and he became the light of  Lorin's life, and ignited the wolfdog rescue mission of LARC.

Later in spring of 2010, another wolfdog entered my life and was the fuel to the fire of the importance of properly representing your animal. Her name was Rain (now Reagan). I received a message via W.O.L.F. and Sojourn Wolfdog Rescue about a potential wolfdog pup that needed rescue near Dallas, Texas. Her owners were calling her a wolf, even after several experienced people had phenotyped her and said she was not a pure wolf. I opened up the e-mail and saw a picture of a 3 month old blackphase female. I really wasn't looking to adopt at the time, but agreed to foster her, since the owners said it was urgent. The more I talked with the owners (who were still convinced she was a wolf) the more I was thinking about adopting her myself.

Finally, a couple weeks later, when the time came for me to go pick her up, I received a phone call from the owner saying that she was going to give her to her vet.  The vet said she was a pure BC timber wolf and had experience with them and was thinking about using her as a breeding animal in the future.  I was devastated and also very frustrated that they were just going to give her up to the vet that CLEARLY did not know a darn thing about wolfdogs, and to be used as a breeding animal no less!

The next evening they e-mailed me, changing their mind once more, agreeing to let me adopt her. I drove 3 1/2 hours to Waco to pick up little Rain.  When her owner took her out of the car I was shocked. She had very little hair and was extremely itchy.  I asked her owner if she had any vaccination history on her and she said the vet told her wolves don't need shots like dogs do!!!

I brought her to my vet (where I work) the next day and even with my discount, racked up a 300$ vet bill...and that wasn't even for all of her vaccines!  She had a severe bacterial and fungal infection on her skin which required several weeks of antibiotics and antifungals, along with medicated baths 2-3 times a week. Then around the time I was bringing her in to get her spayed, I noticed she started drinking quite a bit of water. I didn't think too much of it since it was a very hot summer (and she LOVES playing in the water) on top of she wasn't urinating frequently or straining.  So the next week I brought her in to be spayed and mentioned it to my vet.  She recommended I do a urine analysis in additional to her pre-anesthetic blood screening since she was there anyway just to be safe.  Her resulys came back with a raging UTI and to top it off, her kidney values were high, incdicating abnormal kidney function.  And I was thinking- all I did was bring her in to get spayed!

She kept getting recurring UTI's and we couldn't figure out what was wrong with her.  She had more blood tests run, urine sent off for a bacterial culture, a water consumption and deprevation test, which finally indicated she had Diabetes Insipidus. She was put on Desmopressin for several months to help control her DI and a medication to help raise her urine PH to help keep the UTI's at bay.

She was spayed at 10 1/2 months old and finally now at 3 years old, she is off her Desmopressin and has been UTI free for a little over a year!!!

Ok, so rewind to right before Reagan. Someone contacted me thru this website asking my opinion on a breeder here in Texas.  I informed them that in my opinion, that breeder misrepresented their animals, but did have beautiful mid content wolfdogs (not like the very high contents that they were being claimed). She agreed and thanked me for my honesty and told me she had already put money down on a puppy so she was going to get him anyway. His name was Lucian.

She represented him correctly as a mid-upper mid content and posted several pictures of the most adorable little blackphase puppy! She posted pictures as he grew and when he was about 3 months old...well that is when I gto the e-mail about Reagan. Reagan's previous owners informed me of where she came from and I was so excited to tell Lucians owners that I just adopted his sister!  We kept in touch and later had a meet up at Huntsville State Park when the pups were about 8 months old.

Unfortunately, several months later, she had to give up Lucian due to personal issues. Having his sister and knowing what a wonderful boy he was, I agreed to foster him and get him adopted out thru the GHGSDR because of his amazing temperament.  I drove 3 hours to just outside of Tyler, Texas to pick this wonderful boy up. Well, when I brought him home, Reagan about died...she HATED him!  I fostered him for 11 months with many, many inquiries from people wanting to adopt this gorgeous woofer boy.  As God would have it, a photographer that was in one of the wolfdog groups on Facebook that I was in, kept following him with interest.  She didn't think it would ever work out since she was located all the way in Ohio.  Well it was meant to be.  She applied for Lucian, her application was accepted and I made the 23 hour trek to get him to his new home! He is now an awesome ambassador and a model for her photography!

On my way back from Ohio, I picked up my first purchased wolfdog puppy from a friend of mine. His name is Wilbur. He is an upper mid content wolfdog that I got specifically to be an ambassador. Through the tests and trials of raising a higher content wolfdog puppy came both wonderful and trying experiences. Though he did well as an ambassador for his first year, he matured his second winter and started displaying intense seasonal behaviors. Though he back to his old self now, he has decided he doesn't want to go out and meet people.  So now people come meet him!  He is now one of on site educational animals for Texas Wolfdog Project.


Which brings me to the making of Texas Wolfdog Project and Shelter Inc.  A 501(c)(3) dedicated to rescuing and adopting out wolfdogs and northern breeds through an intense screening process, TWP was formed with the understanding that there are many more wolfdogs that need homes then there are facilities to take them...and many of those animals should not be living their life out in sanctuaries, but rather with an experienced owner in a home type setting.  I am honoured to be a part of the TWP team and I am excited to share the news as it continues to grow!

 

Until then howls and much love from my pack to yours,

Natasha