The lone wolf who lived.
Contrary to a popular thought expressed in a well-known TV show, Yuki the wolf-dog has survived. His story is that of sheer endurance and willpower to overcome the lack of humanity that, sadly, still plagues the world.
Wolves are known for their intelligence, instincts, strength, and organisational abilities. They are not ones to give in to domestication. Unlike their close canine cousins, that are your dogs, you don’t usually expect a wolf to listen to your commands and calls. However, humans have created a hybrid called the wolf-dog, that can make your fantasy to tame a wild animal come true to an extent.
A breed that scares and loves.
Wolf-dogs are enormous to begin with. The same is true with Yuki. Unfortunately for him, his previous owner turned out to be a miserable human being. Thankfully, the Shy Wolf Sanctuary rescued him, and now he is an Internet superstar. Brittany Allen, a staff member of this shelter and Yuki’s caretaker, states that this magestic creature is “87.5 % Gray Wolf, 8.6% Siberian Husky, and 3.9% German Shepherd”.
“We rescued him from a failed house pet situation. Someone purchased him from a breeder and realized he was too much to handle. They dumped him at a kill shelter at 8 months old. We stepped in and provided a home for him and he has been with us ever since,“ explained Brittany Allen.
“Yuki came to us in 2008. He was in reasonably good health compared to a lot of the animals that come to us and had a very outgoing personality initially. We even considered him for ambassadorship at one point. Shortly after arriving at Shy Wolf Sanctuary Yuki managed to catch a leg on a palmetto and opened up a wound on his right rear knee. The wound ended up taking a total of 5 surgeries to finally repair and in that time Yuki became cage aggressive.” added one of the directors at Shy Wolf Sanctuary.
“They definitely are creatures that demand respect. It would be a much different encounter in the wild than what I do with these guys. The animals I work with have never been in the wild and never will be, so they are more socialized.”
“We show off their adorable moments in the hope of helping people identify with them at least and maybe change their fear response into a healthy respect through education. And also giving an animal a chance at a decent life when otherwise they would be euthanized,” said Brittany.
“Wolfdogs are a bit more difficult in my opinion because you don’t exactly know how much wolf behavior versus dog behavior they will have. Yuki isn’t necessarily more social vs. the pure wolves. We have pure wolves who will run away when they see new people because they are generally shy, curious animals. Yuki, however will run straight to a new person and if he doesn’t like them will become aggressive towards them.”
“With the pure wolves, once they know you and feel comfortable with you, they can be affectionate and loving but they will always be wolves you can’t get in the way of them and their food, and you must respect their boundaries.”
“They are both social with people they accept in their space, but they are very selective as well. This also applies to other wolf or wolfdog companions. They are very selective but when they bond it is pretty unique.”
“Today, Yuki is one of the most interesting animals in the sanctuary. He is not an easy guy to get to know, but he does have a small number of volunteers he has bonded with. He has gained the nickname “Woowoo” because when he sees any of his chosen volunteers that is the noise he makes, beckoning that volunteer to come spend time with him,” said Jeremy Albrecht.
Facing a harsh truth.
Life is not a fairy tale. If only it were. The news of Yuki’s cancer hit every one out of the blue.
“He was diagnosed with cancer last year and unfortunately it is terminal. We have dealt with this particular cancer before and ultimately you don’t really know how fast you caught it and how much time they have.”
“Yuki has been fighting it for quite a while now and is persevering so it is business as usual while we enjoy our time with Yuki. When the day comes that he starts showing symptoms we will, as we always do, make the right decisions for Yuki’s quality of life.”
“Saying goodbye to one of our animals is always difficult for our staff and volunteers, and Yuki will be no different. But it’s important to remember that while many of these animals have rough beginnings, their stories always have happy endings once they get to Shy Wolf Sanctuary.”
“When their time with us is over the last thing they do is make room for our next rescue and happy ending.”
About Shy Wolf Sanctuary
The Shy Wolf Sanctuary Education and Experience Center was founded in 2001 by Nancy Smith. Wild and previously captive wolves, along with other exotic animals, populate the 2.5-acre premises of this sanctuary in Naples, Florida. Over 30 staff members work hard all the time, not only to save animals but also educate people on the importance of their protection.
Since wolf dogs are not counted among the adoptable by animal services, the Shy Wolf Sanctuary is the only place for these mightily gentle beasts till they find a family prepared to adopt them. Support them by visiting their website and Facebook page.