Wolf Tales / "Welcome to The Last Resort"

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" Welcome to The Last Resort "
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've 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 loving 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, the last resort before euthanization.

Spirit, one of Villalobos' oldest rescued animals. There are not very many wolfdog rescue facilities in the United States, and the ones that do exist are nearly always filled to capacity. We are one of them. Along with my partner Tia Maria, we run Villalobos Rescue Center (*). We hear reasons day in and day out as to 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's 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 fencing, or building a pen with a top and bottom; and, if the dog is a 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's obvious that they've already given up and just want someone to take this problem off their hands. These are the people that are most prone to being rude and abusive, and don't understand why someone can't just come 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 forget those breeders taking their animals back if there's 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.

Nicole and Cochise, another of Villalobos' rescued animals. We currently have about thirty wolf hybrids which we will care for, until the day they die. These are 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. My partner and myself care for these animals, alone. We do not have many volunteers at the rescue, because many of the high contents in particular just get too stressed around new people, especially men (if our pens were larger to where 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 and watering, daily pen maintenance, transportation for veterinary care, phone and paperwork ourselves. We now have non-profit status, and recently put posts on the internet asking for donations to enlarge our pens, pay off veterinary bills, etc. Unfortunately, response was not exactly overwhelming.

This is the side of the wonderful world of wolfdogs we deal with every day. Yes, we appreciate that they're beautiful, intelligent, and loving animals. Yes, I personally spend hours sitting in the dirt rubbing their tummies and singing to them (they especially seem to 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 before 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 at rescues or euthanized. Why produce more? Please, consider the big picture, and be responsible.

Nicole Wilde is experienced in the handling of wolves and wolfdogs. She has contributed advice to readers of the Wolf Hybrid Times  magazine, and has written the books, "Living with Wolfdogs; An Everyday Guide to a Lifetime Companionship" and her newest, "Wolfdogs A to Z; Behavior, Training and More".

* Although Nicole continues to give placement assistance and do education she is no longer affiliated with Villalobos Rescue Center in any way.

Also at -The Wolf Dunn-,  Nicole Wilde shares her online 2-part info packet which details the ins and outs of wolfdog "ownership". Wolf Hybrid Awareness Through Education examines everything from the genetic, physical, and behavioral traits of wolfdogs, to the day to day considerations of keeping these animals as pets. Nicole contributes personal advise and information on what you need to know before buying a puppy.

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