BIO ~ Saint was a neutered male domestic dog, most likely a malamute and German Shepherd mix. He was born in 2007 and mislabeled a wolf-dog. We rescued him in December of 2009. We helped him join the Big Pack in the Sky on August 28th, 2019.
PERSONALITY ~ Saint was the only boy in a family of girls, and like a typical big brother, he acted as the leader of the group. He was the most social of his family. He would put on a tough guy act to fend off anyone outside their habitat, but the second a caretaker stepped inside, he turned into a loving cuddle-bug. He was very playful and continuously tried to get his sisters and caretaker to play with him.
LIKES ~ Saint loved to play, eat and get belly rubs! He also loved hugs, cuddles, chin scratches, and basically human attention of any kind.
DISLIKES ~ Saint loved going out for walks, but he hated leaving his sisters for too long! He worried about them when he wasn’t around to protect them! He also didin’t like when local dogs walked by the perimeter, and he barked until they’re out of sight.
FUN FACTS ~ Like some of his sisters, Saint’s name was changed when he arrived at our Sanctuary. Saint was originally called Cheyenne, which has turned out to be a very common name amongst our rescues. When we went to New Orleans to pick them up, the city was in the middle of a “New Orleans Saints” fever due to their Superbowl victory. We thought “Saint” was a good fit for our new rescue.
SAINT’S HISTORY ~ Handsome Saint was one of five domestic dogs who was taken to a shelter in Louisiana when he was only 7-weeks-old. They had come from a breeder who was misleading people and selling them as wolf-dogs. Like many dogs falsely sold as wolf-dogs, we think they are most likely a mix of malamute, German shepherd, and husky. The shelter staff didn’t know much about wolf-dogs and believed that the breeder was telling the truth. Believing them to be dangerous, they were wary of handling the puppies. Saint and his sisters Azteca, Goldie, Katrina, and Juno were put in a 10×10 cage all together and received little to no human interaction.
A few times someone attempted to adopt one or two of the dogs, but considering that they lacked social skills and all basic training, it never worked out. Genuinely wanting to help the five “wolf-dogs”, the shelter contacted Wild Spirit in August of 2009. One of our staff members was on vacation in the area so she stopped by to see them. She quickly saw that these poor animals were just dogs, suffering from an incorrect label. They were kept clean and fed but had spent two years together in that awful 10 x 10 cage, which caused permanent damage to their knees. They all had learned to move together as a pack in their tiny space. We knew that they needed a better life, even if they weren’t wolf-dogs. We made arrangements to accept them at Wild Spirit and they became our NOLA Pack.
Despite still being shy, our NOLAs are very sweet and loving dogs. For the sake of keeping the closely-knit family together, we decided against adopting them out. We have given them the best possible care, including knee surgeries for Saint, Azteca, Katrina and 14 weeks of physical therapy after each surgery. This precious family does a great job helping us educate folks on our tours. Their story is the perfect example of the fact that many of the canines sold as wolf-dogs are just domestic dogs. Incorrectly labeling a domestic dog as a wolf-dog, or even worse, a wolf, is a horrible disservice to both dogs and wolves.
People get the impression that wolves and wolf-dogs are just like domestic dogs and will act accordingly. Sadly, most people who actually buy a wolf-dog or wolf very quickly realize they are not at all like domestic dogs. Meanwhile, millions of amazing domestic dogs waste away in shelters, unwanted despite being a perfect fit for most owners. Sanctuary and rescue spaces are very limited for true wolves and wolf-dogs, too. Most shelters will not adopt out wolf-dogs so they end up being euthanized. Saint and his family help us demonstrate how the wolf and wolf-dog breeding industry hurts everyone, even those who are not truly part of it.