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In Remembrance

 

In September of 2005 one of wolfdogdom's 'greats', Dorothy (Dottie) Prendergast, moved on to join the Pack, after a long and painful illness.  Instead of a maudlin good-bye to a great friend of wolf-dog hybrids everywhere, let's instead make this a celebration of her life and her work for the animals.

For 20 years, beginning in the early '80's, Dottie published the only national magazine for wolf-dog hybrid owners and breeders - The Wolf Hybrid Times.  In the pages of the magazine, she endeavored to allow all points of view on these controversial animals to be addressed.  Only the editorial was written by Dottie, the rest by those who cared enough to share their experiences, articles, and stories. 

The first 2 books available on wolf-dog hybrid care and training were written and published by Dottie. The first, "The Wolf Hybrid", was referred to by many as the 'wolfer's bible', as it was the ONLY reference book available on the care and training of these animals at that time. Some of the more responsible breeders included a copy of the book with each pup they placed.  In time, a second book was published, "Above Reproach".

In the 1980's the fact that wolf-dog hybrids were not 'on-label' for rabies vaccines finally became an issue.  Along with a number of others who really cared about the animals, Dottie founded the Wildlife Education and Research Foundation (WERF), to do the actual challenge testing for rabies that is required by USDA.  In the '80's this study would have cost half a million dollars.  Today the cost would be incalculable.  Though vaccine companies were willing to cooperate, and all the t's were crossed and i's dotted, the funds for the study just weren't donated.  Less than 1/50 of the needed capital for the project ever became available.  Two other attempts have since been made to get wolf-dog hybrids 'on-label' for rabies vaccines, but they have fallen short, mostly because the actual challenge testing was not a part of their programs.

WERF eventually became the website where information on what states are legal/illegal for wolf-dog hybrid ownership was available.  The website has been removed.

On a more personal note.  I first became a correspondent of Dottie's in the '80's, when I was irresponsibly breeding wolf-dog hybrids.  The Wolf Hybrid Times helped me to become more responsible, and in the end was partially responsible for my decision to stop breeding.  I remember setting up donation jars at The Feed Store to collect for the rabies challenge testing.  Children donated their pennies, nickels and dimes when the situation was explained to them, but adults didn't seem to think it was important, even those who owned and bred wolf-dog hybrids.  When I became too ill to care for the number of animals I had, Dottie ran a free ad in WHT to help me find adoptive homes for them. 

If Dottie read this and saw herself called one of the 'greats', she'd laugh, self-deprecatingly.  The fact is, she inspired many to do what they are (and are NOT) doing today to benefit wolf-dog hybrids.  She talked the talk, and walked the walk.  May we all do the same...

With great respect,

Gail Whitford

If you have something to add to this, please contact me at:

watd@wolf-to-wolfdog.org

Comments received from readers:

1. She was a grand lady who influenced many of us, all to the better. Those who would not listen lost more than they can imagine.

2.  Dottie will be missed by many.  She was a pioneer in the wolf hybrid arena.  It will be unfortunate if her efforts are forgotten.

 

 

 

 

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