BIO ~ Beric Dondarrion was a neutered male high-content wolf-dog which means he looked and acted like a wolf, but had some dog in his history. We don’t know exactly how old he was but we rescued him in 2012 when he was at least 4 years-old. He joined the Big Pack in the Sky on March 14th, 2018.
LIKES ~ Beric liked food, of course! He had a habit of stealing Savannah’s meaty bones and running around with them. He also liked to scent roll on any new and interesting smell, and then scent roll on his caretaker’s face.
DISLIKES ~ Beric really disliked when Savannah got more attention than he did! Many of our senior staff have known Savannah for most of her life and are very close with her, and Beric did not like competing with that.
FUN FACTS ~ When his previous owner’s family took over caring for Beric before WSWS rescued him, they remembered his name was Rudy. Our staff and volunteers continued to call him Rudy, although he had the great honor of being named after a character from the epic book series, Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin.
BERIC DONDARRION’S HISTORY ~ Beric was born into horrible conditions at a breeding facility in Iowa. The original owner/breeder had passed away after a lengthy illness, and her surviving family was having a difficult time caring for the 12 high-content wolf-dogs that she left behind. The breeder had kept her wolf-dogs in 10′ x 20′ cages, some with up to three animals. The cages had cement or plywood floors and only 6-foot-high wire ceilings. Sadly, these are the typical conditions for wolves or high-content wolf-dogs kept in captivity, since these animals can easily dig or climb out of the average yard or enclosure.
After the breeder died, no one ever went into the cages and the poor wolf-dogs never went outside. The small enclosures were cleaned with a hose from outside, and years of waste had collected in piles around the edges. No one remembered their names or how they were related. They were not spayed and neutered, so each year more puppies were born. None of them ever survived.
A family friend stepped in to try to help take care of the animals and called everyone he thought might be able to help. Unfortunately, no one was able or willing to take on so many animals. Luckily, he didn’t give up and finally called Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary. We immediately prepared to make our first trip to Iowa to assess the situation, but before we arrived, the oldest male of the Iowa 12 had passed away.
During the assessment trip, we quickly saw how serious the situation was for the remaining 11 wolf-dogs. Wanting to help any way they could, the family generously offered all of their chain link fencing and hardware to help with the building of the Iowa Rescue habitats. Before leaving to return home, WSWS staff loaded Cassie, the oldest female wolf-dog, into the van and took her to Canyon Crossroad Vet Hospital. She received an extensive exam and the immediate care she needed, and then she came home to rest safely at WSWS. She passed away in the winter of 2012.
In September of 2012, WSWS staff went back to Iowa to rescue the remaining 10 wolf-dogs. At midnight, on September 17th, the Iowa 10 stepped foot onto the soil in their new habitats at WSWS. It was the first time they had felt the earth beneath their feet in at least three years! We took them to the vet and began the hard work of getting them healthy.
Vet visits revealed they were malnourished, heartworm positive, and had brittle bones and teeth. Due to their age and poor health, we chose not to have some of the Iowa girls spayed, but the boys were all neutered (neutering is often an easier, less invasive procedure with significantly lower risk for the animal). Unfortunately, Beric’s first visit to the vet revealed that he also had brittle nails and soft bones, perhaps due to poor care, or maybe partly related to inbreeding. He had the most extreme set of mangled teeth we had ever seen. He could not fully close his mouth because his lower canine was cutting into the roof of his mouth, forcing his jaw out of alignment. While still anesthetized after being neutered, we decided to have the vet pull that canine tooth. Unfortunately, Beric’s already weak jaw broke during the procedure. The vet reset his jaw and wired it into place so that it could heal. We brought Beric home with us and kept close watch on our new boy. After a few days, we could tell he was not doing well, so we loaded him up and headed back to the vet.
He had developed an infection, and his jaw was not healing well. Our vet recommended Beric go to a specialist in Albuquerque for more extensive jaw surgery. He was placed on antibiotics, IV fluids, and painkillers. Beric’s second operation went extremely well, and he returned to our vets hospital for 7 days of recovery. Since that rocky start, Beric has enjoyed a wonderful life in a beautiful habitat with his lovely girlfriend, Savannah! He can now eat well, enjoys treats and bones, and loves attention from caretakers.
In the summer of 2013, George R. R. Martin’s wife, Parris McBride-Martin, named all of the Iowa kids after GRRM’s characters from his well-known book series, Game of Thrones. The Iowa 10 are now all known as The Westeros Pack. The Martins have come to visit them and Mr. Martin loaned his star powers to a fund-raiser to build them a brand new habitat! With Mr. Martin’s help, we’ve raised $150,000 to build larger habitats for this deserving family.