When a college kid saw an abandoned puppy all alone in a shopping cart, his first reaction was to take it home. He called his parents to get the go-ahead, and of course, they agreed. However, as it began to grow, he realized he had made a huge mistake.
The puppy was sitting alone in the cart with a sign that said “Free Puppy”. The situation, although sad, seemed normal enough. Many times when people don’t spay or neuter their dogs and they end up having a litter of puppies, they sell them or try to give them away for free. However, there was no one nearby to explain the situation or to give information on what kind of dog it was. Nevertheless, the Arizona man knew he had to do something.
His parents agreed because since their kid went off to college, they were a bit lonely. They thought having a dog around would be nice and give them something to focus on. It was obvious that it was going to be a big dog, but they weren’t worried because they had plenty of space. When they first saw the cute pup, they were a bit shocked.
They thought it was some kind of German Shepherd mix, but they weren’t sure. It had the cutest face with a long snout and pointy ears. He had a brown, grey and black coat and was growing rapidly–they decided to name him Neo. Quickly, he began to develop characteristics that weren’t necessarily normal for most dogs.
The puppy wanted constant attention, which wasn’t too strange because it was clear he missed his litter and may have been weaned too early. He made a mess of just about anything and everything and was constantly trying to escape. They thought he may just have some behavioral problems and needed some special training, but then things began to get a lot more strange.
Neo favored their son, to the point of becoming avoidant of his parents. He focused in on the college student, who was extremely busy with school and a full-time job. Neo was often left home alone but had a huge backyard and many toys to play with. Soon, he was escaping the yard, menacing the neighborhood. The family built bigger and bigger fences each time, but nothing seemed to work.
A Super Dog
It was becoming more evident that Neo was extremely smart and determined to do what he pleased. Extremely athletic, it seemed as if there was nothing Neo couldn’t do. The neighbors ended up calling animal control, as they began to worry for their safety because something was clearly different about this dog, they just couldn’t put their finger on it. Once animal control got a look at the pup, they knew exactly what was going on.
A Pack Animal
Neo constantly wanted to be around other dogs and didn’t take to many humans. There were multiple German Shepherds on the block and he would go to them whenever he could. This led the family to believe he was definitely mixed with the kind of dog he loved so much, but soon, they got the shock of their life.
The Humane Society
Eventually, one of the neighbors brought Neo to the Humane Society of Arizona because he got out and all he wanted to do was hide in the bathroom. The neighbor was suspicious that Neo wasn’t, in fact, a dog, but something much wilder. When Maureen O’Nell, the CEO of the shelter at the time, saw Neo she asked the owners, “You know that isn’t a dog, right?”
Their response, “We were wondering…”
Finally, An Answer
Neo wasn’t actually a domesticated dog, he was a wolf hybrid. His amber eyes, long legs, fur markings, and behavior were all tell-tale signs that he was, in fact, a wolf. It made sense that he was determined to be around other dogs because wolves are pack animals by nature. The whole family was surprised, but it also made sense in hindsight–he acted nothing like any dog they had ever known.
But now, they faced some serious problems.
It’s actually illegal to own a wolf or a wolf hybrid (go figure) unless you’re Native American, so the family had a few problems to face. By this point, they loved Neo, even with all of the hassle he brought alone. However, they knew they couldn’t keep him, and they wanted what was best for him.
They also knew that if they didn’t find a solution and fast, Neo was facing death. If they couldn’t find a suitable home for him, the state was going to require Neo to be put down, something the family refused to let happen. So, quickly, they began researching what to do. It was then, that they found the perfect place.
In California, there is a wildlife conservation specifically designated for wolves called Wolf Connection. They had all the special facilities that were needed to care for wolves, and they already had multiple wolves and hybrids there, so Neo would feel right at home. They called and anxiously awaited to see if Neo was going to be accepted.
A New Home
The facility accepted Neo with open arms, knowing this was the right place for him. It was hard on his owners because they had grown close to him, but they knew this was the only way. Neo was going to have to adjust to the change too, he was about to enter a new pack that already had a pecking order. Things were tense but exciting.
Meeting New Friends
Usually, when wolves are introduced to new packs, things can get really intense, even deadly. The facility took special care and time introducing Neo because they didn’t want anything bad to happen to him, but Neo had a different way of approaching the situation.
Of Course, You Did, Neo
Neo was too excited to meet his new family, and as soon as he got there he escaped his enclosure to be around the other wolves. The workers were in shock and were panicking because they didn’t know how the other wolves would react. In Neo fashion, he went straight for the alpha female, Maya.
Naturally, in a wolf pack, the alpha female and alpha male rule the rest of the pack. They make decisions, tell other members what to do, produce offspring, and eat first. They’re known to be aggressive and are not afraid to kill to protect their titles. Neo was in for a surprise.
A Strong Bond
Surprisingly, Neo and Maya got along really well. She wasn’t threatened by him, and neither was the alpha male. It was clear Neo was meant to be apart of a pack his whole life, and this one gladly accepted him. After a couple months, his previous owners called to check on him, and they got one final surprise.
Neo was now accustom to his new life and was flourishing in his new environment. He became even more comfortable around humans once he had his own pack. The Wolf Connection center knew exactly how to handle him because they had multiple hybrids there already, and it was obvious his owners had made the right choice.
They also told him there was a way they could get daily updates.
The Wolf Connection has their own website which is full of information about the organization, as well as pictures of all the wolves. They also have a Facebook page that is updated frequently to show how the wolves are doing and to keep people well informed. Check them out and if you can, make a donation to this wonderful cause!