You can see him on the Tour Path!
In November of 2022, we received an email from the McKinley County Humane Society (a shelter located about an hour from our sanctuary) advising they had just taken in a stray dog they believed might be a wolfdog. Unfortunately, because wolfdog ownership is illegal in McKinley County, they explained that this sweet boy couldn’t be adopted out into a human home; instead, he needed to be placed with a sanctuary or face euthanasia.
Upon receiving this email, our Executive Director asked if we might be able to come meet the animal (who we’ve since named “Zayne”) and conduct an in-person assessment of his potential wolf content, as well as his health and behavioral disposition.
After meeting Zayne in person, we did not feel comfortable assigning him a wolfdog label, as he didn’t have any physical traits that clearly demonstrated wolf content. So, we asked the shelter if they’d be willing to conduct an Embark DNA test to see whether that might give us a better understanding of his genetic makeup. After about a month of waiting (while also working to find options for placement in the event that he did come back as a wolfdog) we had our results: Zayne was approximately 22% gray wolf and needed a sanctuary to save him.
Unfortunately, despite our best attempts to find Zayne a new home while waiting for his results, most sanctuaries were full, or simply not interested in taking in a low-content wolfdog. So, Wild Spirit made the decision to give him a forever home with us.
While we’ll never know for sure what led Zayne to life in the shelter, it seems most likely that he either escaped his home and never claimed by his owners, or was simply dumped out into the world. But since being rescued, he has been the sweetest boy, with a love of toys, long walks, his comfy dog bed, and of course, humans.
Sadly, soon after Zayne was rescued, we learned that he had a condition known as Degenerative Myelopathy, an inherited neurologic disease typically affecting dogs around 8 years of age or older. It causes gradual muscle wasting and incoordination in the hind limbs, and then progresses to an inability to walk after 6-12 months. This news is quite difficult to bear, as we’re already seeing signs of the disease affecting Zayne, meaning he may not have a long life with us… Regardless, we’re grateful we were able to take him in, and know that in doing so, we’ve guaranteed that the rest of his life will be filled with all the love and comfort he deserves!