The Wolf is a strong, highly intelligent creature with incredible instincts and social abilities. This is only a part of what has made the wolf the most respected animal in the world.
Legends were told about this breathtaking animal. Books, movies, paintings, and sculptures throughout history helped us learn how to appreciate these stunning canines.
No wonder some people wanted a part of their untouched, exotic nature for themselves. But, the problem was how to lure the wolf into staying put. An idea was born: to breed the common dog with the wolf. Thus, the wolfdog came into existence – a mixture of the best of both worlds.
One look at Yuki, and you’ll get the best idea of how a wolfdog looks. Yuki is, in fact, one of the highest content wolfdogs in his current sanctuary.
“His DNA testing came back as 87.5 % Gray Wolf, 8.6 % Siberian Husky, and 3.9 % German Shepherd,” – Brittany Allen, a staff member of Shy Wolf Sanctuary, stated
This photo features Yuki looking so giant-like and intimidating. The image went viral within seconds! The woman in this photo, Brittany Allen, is only 5’4. She states Yuki isn’t a huge dog, as he weighs around 120 pounds.
Only recently did Brittany respond to accusations on Instagram which claimed she’d photoshopped the wolfdog. A picture with this caption helped shut the mouths of those who never believed in Yuki: “The face we make when people say Yuki’s picture is Photoshopped… It’s just his fat angle guys. We all have one”.
Luckily, the viral photo attracted a lot of attention, which helped raise awareness of the wolfdog’s hard life before reaching the sanctuary. Yuki’s life was tragic, and if it wasn’t for the Shy Wolf Sanctuary, who knows what would’ve happened!
“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,“ – said 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.” – one of the directors at Shy Wolf Sanctuary added.
Volunteers at Shy Wolf Sanctuary have shared pictures of Yuki at his new home since 2012 and their first impressions of his personality: “Yuki loves women, showing off to visitors, and being super goofy.”
“Yuki is one of those animals that lets you know if he wants you in his enclosure or not. He has a very small group of women that he allows in his enclosure called his ‘harem,” – says Judy, a volunteer at Shy Wolf Sanctuary who’s gained Yuki’s trust.
The Shy Wolf Sanctuary was founded by Nancy Smith back in 2001. The SWS provides sanctuary and rehabilitation to wild and captive-bred wolves and other exotic animals. The property of two and a half acres in Naples, Florida, becomes a permanent home to over sixty captive-bred and rescued animals each year!
This non-profit organization has a mission to reconnect people and animals through education. Over thirty volunteers work year-round to help take care of the neglected animals as well as teach the public about the importance of keeping these animals safe.
Wolfdogs are unadoptable by domestic animal services. Coming to SWS is their final hope to find help and lead a normal life in their forever home.
“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.
Wolves usually shy away from people and show no aggression towards them by nature. However, it’s a completely different story with wolfdogs. You never know which genes are dominant and how your wolfdog will behave.
Their behavioral pattern is unpredictable. Adopting one of them brings a unique challenge many people aren’t ready to face most of the time.
“Wolfdogs are a bit more difficult, in my opinion, because you don’t exactly know how much wolf behavior vs. 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/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.
Sadly, after many happy years spent in the sanctuary, the heartbreaking news spread across SWS. Yuki has been diagnosed with blood cancer. He looked like a perfectly fine canine, but deep inside, he was ill was in pain.
“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,” – Jeremy Albrecht said. – “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.”
Unfortunately, Yuki passed away on November 15th, 2020. He was thirteen years old. Yuki, even though you can’t hear us now, know this: you’ll never be forgotten. Rest in peace, you exotic four-legged buddy!