An Arizona man was surprised to discover that the puppy he thought he’d adopted actually turned out to be a baby wolf instead. The animal, Neo, began behaving suspiciously, causing the owner concern. Neo would avoid eye contact, refuse dog treats, and repeatedly escape his enclosure in order to go play with the neighboring dogs.
The adopter eventually brought Neo to a local Humane Society to get professional opinions on his dog’s unusual behavior. It didn’t take the staff long to figure out that Neo was not actually a dog.
It is illegal to own a wolf dog (a wolf/dog hybrid) in Arizona. Across the U.S., wolf dogs are ordered to be destroyed after being abandoned or confiscated, as they are not allowed to be adopted out. Wanting better for Neo, the owner contacted Wolf Connection, a California based Wolf rescue.
Wolf dogs cannot be introduced into the wild, as they never learned to hunt. They are too accustomed to humans, but are also not fit for domestication, as too much of their wild instincts still reside within them. Wolf Connection is a special place which guarantees them safety, enrichment, and a place to thrive for the rest of their lives.
Neo went from a bleak outlook to having a bright future ahead of him. Wolf Connection takes in wolf dogs who were illegally bred and adopted. They not only rehabilitate them, but train them to become ambassadors for the breed as well as help at-risk people in the local community.
The organization also adds another layer of altruism to the mix by exploring the human-animal connection and training the wolf dogs to be service animals. They service at-risk youth, foster children, gang members, veterans with PTSD, and people going through substance abuse rehabilitation.
The programs offered by Wolf Connection seek to use the unique aspects of wolves’ personalities to help provide the people in the program with feelings of safety, support, and good self-esteem. The wolves also help people build trust and to try to build a future by being equipped with the skills necessary for achieving life goals.
Neo went from having a very questionable fate after being irresponsibly bred and illegally adopted out, to having a wonderful and meaningful life ahead of him as a free wolf, service animal, and helper to humans in need.
He was very lucky to be adopted by someone who would not only go to the trouble of discovering the root of his behavior issues, but who also made sure that he would be okay even after it was determined that this man could no longer keep Neo as a pet.
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It is unfortunately a semi-common occurrence for wolves to be bred and adopted in the U.S. It is rare that they are kept by those who adopt them; adopters are usually uninformed and unprepared to take on a half wild animal.
The few rescues which exist for them are often already overcrowded, and these hybrids cannot be taken by just any shelter or individual.
They are neither wolves nor dogs; they are stuck in between. They cannot go and live in the wild, because they never learned how to and have no pack. Yet they cannot stay domesticated like a house pet. Wolf hybrids have too much energy and wild instinct to be domestic pets.
Hopefully with increased awareness and education on the matter, the breeding and distributing of wolf dogs will be ended. It is already illegal, but the practice occurs underground. Rescues like Wolf Connection will accomplish the far-reaching education which is needed in communities to heighten awareness for these animals.
Education will help stop the breeding and destruction of these animals and spread goodness into local communities by reminding people of how much we still stand to learn from our animal companions.
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