New Pup at Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary

Have you ever thought what it might be like to have a wolf for a pet? What about a wolfdog (a pet that is part dog and part wolf)?

Georgina De Caigny has created the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary (YWS) located between Exshaw and Canmore. As she explains in her educational presentation to visitors, the differences between dogs and wolfdogs are rather enormous. Perhaps the greatest difference between them is how they relate to people. De Caigny says the most significant difference is who they naturally orient toward. While dogs orient toward people rather naturally, wolves and wolfdogs orient toward their parents. Ultimately this means that dogs tend to be very trusting of people (assuming they have been properly exposed to people as puppies) while wolfdogs are very distrusting of people unless they have extensive exposure while very young (and even then they still may be very shy with new people).

We had the opportunity to meet a five-week-old "high content wolfdog" (high content means that the wolfdog is more than 80% wolf).  The pup has been with YWS for two weeks. When asked if this was not quite early for her to be weaned,  De Caigny explained that wolves are weaned at about four weeks of age. This particular puppy (Kaya) was one of 13 puppies that were born near Fort McMurray. She has been able to find homes for eight of them.  With a small smile, Georgina says, "This one seems likely to remain with me."

YWS has provided support for the Bow Valley SPCA, Calgary Humane Society, Calgary Animal Services, Red Deer SPCA and Medicine Hat SPCA by taking one or more of the residents into her care.  "Her support of other rescue organizations is incredibly important," according to Sonya White, Adoption Centre Manager of the Bow Valley SPCA.

Wolfdogs may be very different from dogs, but as puppies they sure are cute. They are so cute that many people believe they can adopt them and treat them as dogs; and that is where YWS plays such a critical role. They educate, then they screen and train people who express an interest in a wolfdog that is under their care--assuring that the person/family is competent and has the right attitude in circumstances to successfully have a wolfdog as a companion.