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by Nicole Wilde

The word "breeder" covers a large range of people. Technically, whether you have bred litters of genetically and temperamentally sound wolfdogs for years, or if you have recently decided to "let Cheyenne have just one litter", you are a breeder. You are responsible for having produced pups who will go out into the world, and hopefully have long, healthy lives in the care of educated, responsible owners. Unfortunately this is not always the case, and I am here to tell you about the other side of the story, the side many don't see. We are the rescues, and sanctuaries - the last resort before euthanasia.



There are not many wolfdog rescue facilities or sanctuaries in the United States, and the ones that do exist are nearly always filled to capacity. The operators hear all kinds of reasons why people can no longer keep their wolfdogs.

Sometimes it's an emergency situation (i.e.someone passed away suddenly and this wolfdog can't be handled by anyone else), sometimes it's frustration that prompts the call ("I just don't understand why my two year old wolfdog is suddenly growling at me"), but always it is a desperate plea for help.

In all cases we try to find out why the animal is being given up. Sometimes it's fixable - for example those who are having problems with yard escaping. There are cheap, easy solutions such as "Fido Shock" electric fence, or building a pen with a top and bottom, and if the animal is male, neutering him as well. Another common problem is the wolfdog who is left alone all day and has started digging, howling and being destructive. Sometimes getting this animal a canine companion is the answer.

The point is we do everything we can to help the person keep the animal whenever possible. Some people are open to solutions, and with others it is obvious they've given up and just want someone to take this problem off their hands. These are the people who are prone to being rude and abusive, and don't understand why someone can't just come and pick up their animal right NOW!

The one thing that many of these callers have in common is that nobody told them what to expect when they got their wolfdog, least of all the person who sold it to them. There are way too many breeders who do NO education and couldn't care less about the animal after the money is in their pockets. And you can forget those breeders taking their animals back if there is a problem, or having spay/neuter clauses in their contracts. In fact, in the past seven years, we have run across exactly one breeder out of hundreds that we know of, who actually took one of their animals back. Other than that one, these types of breeders (including many who sell pups out of the backs of their cars, believe it or not) are a main contributor to the problem and couldn't care less. They churn out litter after irresponsible litter. Two years later, our phone rings again.

One sanctuary currently has about forty wolfdogs which will be cared for until they die. These are the animals who are with us because they've killed other animals, have bitten children, are destructive, or yard-escapers, or are just too skittish and unsocialized to ever make someone a good pet. We care for these animals alone. We cannot have volunteers at the rescue, because many of the high content wolfdogs are just too stressed around new people - especially men. If the pens were larger and the woofs had adequate room to run far away and hide, it would be a different story.

So we do all the daily cleaning, feeding, watering, pen maintenance, transportation for veterinary care, phone and paperwork ourselves. When we sent out posts asking for donations to enlarge our pens, pay off our veterinary bills, etc. - out of the forty or so people who responded asking for our sponsorship packets, only one has followed through.

It is ironic that so many people in the wolfdog community are so vocal about what a problem these unwanted wolfdogs are, and what great animals they are - but when it comes time to pitch in and support their own kind, they are suddenly silent.

This is the side of the wonderful world of wolfdogs we deal with every day. Yes, we appreciate that they are beautiful, intelligent, and loving animals. Yes, I personally spend hours sitting in the dirt rubbing their tummies and singing to them (they especially like "Who's afraid of the big bad wolf..."), a happy grin on my face the whole time. And yes, I would absolutely defend these animals with my life if someone tried to harm them.

But all that said, I sincerely wish people would think twice about breeding them. The situation is not like it was 30 years ago. There are way too many unwanted wolfdogs in the world right now, ending up in rescues, sanctuaries, or being euthanized. Why produce more? Please consider the big picture and be responsible.



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