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Lady
Female High-Content Wolfdog
lady
Lady joined the Big Pack in the Sky on December 2nd, 2015.
She passed at ~13 years old due to a conflict in her pack.
Lady‘s exact date of birth is unknown, but her estimated year of birth was 2002. She was rescued in September of 2012, and like the rest of her family, 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 wolfdogs that she left behind. The breeder had kept her wolfdogs 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 wolfdogs 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 wolfdogs 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 wolfdogs. 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, Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary staff loaded Cassie, the oldest female wolfdog, 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 in safety at Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary. Cassie passed away in the winter of 2012.

In September of 2012, Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary 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 Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary. It was the first time they had felt the earth beneath their feet in at least three years! 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). All of the Iowa 10 were given proper medication for their many health issues, put on a healthy diet, and finally received the care they needed. After 3 years with no space to run, they all ran a bit oddly at first, but with time they’ve adjusted to their new life and home. They have all become much stronger and healthier, although they have had some drama due to shifting pack dynamics and further health issues.

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 were then known as The Westeros Pack, which includes: Shae, Shaggydog, Jon Snow, Summer, Beric Dondarrion, Ghost, Brienne, Arya, Nymeria and Lady.​ The Martins visited often, and Mr. Martin loaned his star powers to a fund-raiser to build them a brand new habitat! With Mr. Martin’s help, we raised $150,000 to build larger habitats for this deserving family.

Tragically, sometimes conflicts between rescues are bound to happen. They usually remain a small scuffle, or pushing of boundaries between individuals without so much as a wound. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, and even groups that spend their entire lives together may have a falling out. When these conflicts occur, staff are often quick to respond to split the animals with strict protocols that protect the safety of both human and non-human lives. However, if a conflict occurs overnight, it is a painful reality that there is not much we can do to respond in time.

Such was the case for Lady and her pack. We will never know exactly what happened to cause the altercation, which makes it all the more difficult. Having many years of experience, we know that the potential for severe injury and death is always present, as it is with most captive-kept animals. All we can do is strive to learn and improve, as Wild Spirit always has.

lady

Personality

Lady had her moments of courage where she would approach, investigate and explore, but they were largely overshadowed by days where she was too timid to come close to Caretakers. She was quick to startle, and often leaned heavily on Ghost to lead the way and offer her comfort.

Relationships

Lady spent her entire life with her family members from the Westeros Pack: Brienne, Arya, Nymeria, and Ghost.

Likes & Dislikes

Lady liked a calm, mellow environment, and spending time with Ghost.

Lady disliked change of any kind. Novel objects, loud sounds and changes to the habitat were approached with the utmost caution.

Fun Facts

Due to the conditions the Westeros 10 were kept in prior to their arrival at Wild Spirit, there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding the familial relations between them. While most were believed to be siblings from varying litters, Lady and Beric Dondarrion were estimated to be slightly older than the others. For this reason, it was theorized that they might be the parents of the others.

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