A story about a wolfdog that's so enormous it appears to be photoshopped is going viral.
There's something about stories involving mixed breed dogs with a touch of wild in them that speak to us on a personal level. I think a lot of it has to do with stories like Call of the Wild and Kavik the Wolf Dog, but it could also possibly go much deeper than that.
Humans have been successfully domesticating wild dogs for quite some time now, so as a species we must feel some kind of special pride whenever we can manage to live in peace and/or "tame? a creature that could care less about seeking our favor.
"Wolfdogs" definitely fall into that category. Mixing the tough, ruthless, and stalwart pack animals with more human-friendly breeds yields impressive and often scary results.
Millions of years of evolution have turned wolves into absolute killers, so whenever someone takes one as a pet, even a half-breed, there's always the danger of that dog "turning" on you.
Which might've been the reason that someone went through all the trouble of becoming the owner of their very own wolf-dog, only to turn it into a kill shelter.
That's what happened to Yuki here.
There are stories of people who raised wolf dogs quite successfully, only to be attacked by them at some point later in their lives. Like this one woman who raised 9 of them, only to be attacked and killed by all of her once-beloved pets.
Yuki, however, didn't exhibit this kind of violent behavior towards the family that purchased him.
At only eight months old, Yuki was growing up too fast for his adopted family to keep up. House dog puppies are already too much for most people to handle, then when you factor in the wolf-genes it becomes understandable why someone would want to give the little-big guy away.
The thing is, they left him at a kill shelter.
Thankfully, the Shy Wolf Sanctuary rescued the guy from the shelter and brought him in to take care of him. A volunteer at the sanctuary, Brittany Allen, snapped some photos of Yuki and uploaded them online.
Due to a combination of Yuki's larger-than-average size and the forced perspective of some of the images, he appeared to look larger than he really was. Like, much larger. Like Lord of the Rings CGI monster huge.
People accused Brittany of shopping Yuki's appearance for internet points, so she uploaded some more media to show off the pupper's impressive stature.
Just look at the size of his snout.
The Shy Wolf Sanctuary is based in Naples, Florida, and takes care of exotic animals people are no longer capable of caring for. They also serve as an information center of sorts, educating people on the proper care techniques for non-traditional pets so potential owners can know what they're getting themselves into.
Yuki, for instance, is an extremely rare case, even for wolf dogs, in that he's way more wolf than anything else. He's 87.5% Gray Wolf, 8.6% Siberian Husky, and 3.9% German Shepherd. Which probably explains why Brittany appears to be straight up hugging a wild wolf in this photo below.
Yuki's viral fame and friendly demeanor almost nabbed him a role as ambassador for the sanctuary, but several surgeries and an injury precluded him from the distinction.
Sadly, his time spent recovering from the surgeries ended up making him "cage-aggressive," according to one of the directors of the sanctuary.
That doesn't mean Yuki is a big meanie now, in fact, he still has a great temperament around many people, especially women. He still loves to cuddle and pose for pictures.
Because wolfdogs are classified as wild animals, they can't be adopted as pets. Not that you'd want to keep one in your home anyway.
Brittany, despite spending a lot of time with Yuki, says that she'd never interact with a wolfdog outside of the sanctuary.
She said, "The animals I work with have never been in the wild and never will be, so they are more socialized. We show off their adorable moments in the hope of helping people identify with them at least and maybe change their fear response into a healthy respect through education. And also giving an animal a chance at a decent life when otherwise they would be euthanized."
Yuki's been a part of the Shy Wolf Sanctuary for 10 years and counting, and has earned himself the nickname, "WooWoo," because of the sound he makes towards his favorite caretakers in the hopes of getting them to come and play with him.
Sadly, Yuki won't be WooWoo-ing for much longer, he's been diagnosed with cancer and there's no hope for him recovering from it. So now, every time he calls out, staff are sure to spend as much time with him as possible, ensuring that his final days are as jam-packed with joy as possible.
Such awesome work from the folks at Shy Wolf, kudos to them for loving these animals that are put in a difficult position from birth thanks to humans.
If you'd like to find out more about the great work the Shy Wolf Sanctuary does and/or possibly contribute to help them keep their meaningful work for animals going, you can check them out on Facebook here.