Male High-Content Wolfdog
Brienne - High-Content Wolfdog
Shaggydog joined the Big Pack in the Sky in January of 2020.
He was assisted at around 12 years old due to renal failure.

Shaggydog’s exact date of birth is unknown, but it is believed to be in May of 2008. He arrived at Wild Spirit in September of 2012, and like the rest of his 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 had left behind. Before passing, the breeder had kept her animals in 10′ x 20′ cages, some with up to three animals inside. 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. Few of them ever survived.

Eventually, a family friend stepped in to try to help take care of the animals and called everyone he thought might be able to assist. Unfortunately, no one was able or willing to take on so many animals. Luckily, he didn’t give up and finally called Wild Spirit. 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 11 remaining 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, our 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 safely at the sanctuary. She passed away in the winter of 2012.

In September of 2012, Wild Spirit staff went back to Iowa to rescue the remaining 10 wolfdogs. At midnight on September 17th, the Iowa 10 stepped foot onto the soil of their new habitats. 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 have come to visit them and Mr. Martin even loaned his star powers to a fund-raiser to build the pack a brand new habitat! With Mr. Martin’s help, we raised $150,000 to build larger habitats for this deserving family.

Brienne - High-Content Wolfdog


Shaggydog was an anxious guy, who preferred the company of canine-kind. He was a tri-pod who never let his missing leg slow him down, constantly exploring everything his habitat had to offer, and was usually the first to enrichments!


Shaggydog lived with one of our Westeros Packs, along with Shae, Jon Snow, Summer. They were one of our goofiest groups, often fumbling over one another to interact with their neighbors.

Likes & Dislikes

Shaggydog liked EVERY strong smell he could find. The only thing he liked more was scentrolling in them all!

Shaggydog didn’t like human attention. He was sometimes brave enough to approach for a hand-sniff, or a light chin scratch, but anything more prompted a flight response.

Fun Facts

Shaggydog was part of our affectionately nicknamed “pirate crew”! Summer was missing an eye, Shae eventually lost an eye, and Shaggydog was a tri-pod. Jon Snow was the only exception in the group, and was dubbed the Captain, due to the others always following his lead.

Share your Memories of Shaggydog Below!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.