Considered dangerous, wolf-dogs are not welcome in New York. If a wolf-dog is suspected or found, owners must pay a hefty fine and still lose their dog.
So, it’s no surprise the wolfish looking dog wandering the streets of Brooklyn was not claimed. It’s sad because the dog animal control officers called, Lady was well-taken care of, well-socialized to humans and other dogs, and a sweetheart that looks more like a greyhound with wolf coloring than a wolf-dog.
Yes, sweet or not, even suspected wolf-dogs like my, German Sheppard/Chinook mix run the risk of being euthanized if targeted by neighbors or found in a shelter. Or they may spend the rest of their lives behind bars because no kill shelters in New York can’t adopt them out.
Lucky be a lady, the Brooklyn wolf-dog and my dog were rescued by Howling Woods Farm, a breed specific rescue shelter for suspected and real domestic bred wolves, wolf-dogs and northern breeds, such as Huskies and Malamutes.
Arriving on Christmas eve, Lady and two other dogs found refuge at the shelter, and will spend the holidays among people and other dogs who understand their true nature before being adopted out to forever homes.
Michael Hodanish, founder and president of Howling Woods has rescued and found proper homes for over fifty dogs in six years. It’s not an easy task because wolves and wolf-dogs are stigmatized as the vicious creatures we grew up with in fairy tales and media myths.
Real wolves are shy and fear humans, which is why all those pretty calendar and screen saver shots were staged at wolf sanctuaries because it’s extremely difficult to get a good photo of wolves in the wild. Plus, there are no evidence-based confirmed wolf kills on healthy humans by healthy animals in modern record. Yet, wolves are right up there among bears, cougars, and sharks as the most dangerous animals in America.
Note: There were 30 human fatalities of dog attack this year (2011) none were from domestic bred wolves or wolf-dogs.
The vicious myth aside, wolf-dogs and their close cousins (northern breeds) are not for the average dog lover. Many people purchase these dogs from unscrupulous breeders having no idea how to care for them.
While wolf-dogs can be loving and loyal companions, they are not people pleasers like the Retrievers, nor are they likely to be satisfied by a big backyard. They need mental stimulation, roaming exercise, and most often a canine buddy. Otherwise, they will amuse themselves by tearing up landscaping, furniture, and walls.
So far, Lady and the other Christmas Eve arrivals at Howling Woods are happily adjusting... and along with the others at the farm have become ambassadors to spread the word that Fairy Tales are fiction and the facts remain the same.