I remember reading that once you own a wolfdog, you will never go back. That is assuming you make it past puppyhood without committing homicide, or rather wolficide. The greatest mistake that people make when getting a wolfdog is thinking they are getting a dog. Alternately, the greatest mistake that people make in dog owning, is treating it like a human with fur. It is imperative one research what it really takes to raise a wolfdog. Unfortunately, many people get one because they are such strikingly beautiful creatures and they think it would be ‘cool’ to own one, only to irresponsibly get rid of them. If you are prepared for the journey, the work and the shedding, they are the most tapped in, tuned in creatures you will ever know. They are also enormous pains in the ass and deviants until the end.
I got my first wolfdog when I was 18 years old and unknowingly picked the alpha male, I named him Anoki. While his litter mates were cowering in the corner as far away from me as they could get, Anoki was juggling rings of fire while riding a unicycle. Ok, maybe thats an exaggeration, but the hallmark personality and bravado of the alpha were there, I just didn’t know it. Anoki and I had 14 amazing years together, in which he stole countless meals of mine, raped and pillaged numerous neighborhoods we lived in, ate all my underwear, ate my refrigerator at 13 years old, killed things and won countless scuffs. You can read about our journey together in great detail here.
I got my second wolfdog when Anoki was around 5 years old. Her name was Sokaia and I rescued her from the clutches of the latest Jerry Springer contestant. She was as submissive as Anoki was not. She was a gentle creature that shied away from humans and loved anything else with a pulse. She was impeccably behaved, which I’d like to take credit for, but really I think it was just a combination of her nature and the fact that Anoki was the fun nazi and put her in her place anytime she dared to, well, do anything. She had severe epilepsy, which required several meds a day for the better portion of her life. I realize now that all wolfdogs carry medicine. Anoki taught me how to meet the world with an assurance and confidence as a young hellion myself. Sokaia taught me to raise the white flag and that it was ok to surrender. Ashoka who you are soon to learn about, has clown medicine. He takes nothing seriously, besides food.
While I was pregnant with our son, I informed my husband we had to get a wolfdog- that the world would end, that I couldn’t imagine my life or raising a child without one. After much research I decided on a breeder that ran a wonderful wolf rescue. I informed him that I didn’t want an alpha male, so if at all possible, please give us the pup that cowered most dramatically in the corner when a shadow flickered. We ended up with Ashoka, who is in fact as submissive as they come. He did not cower in the corner as a pup though, it was more hulking since he was born enormous and could only hulk, which he still does. He was also the only one born from his litter, which would in fact make him the litter. We are reasonably certain he ate his brothers and sisters in utero. He was put in with a litter born 12 hours later, and this is where you can find him hulking in the corner, double the size of the other pups.
I forgot what it was like raising a wolf pup, and I certainly had no idea what it was like raising a baby. In fact, how anyone raised a baby before google or facebook is beyond me, but I digress. The first year of Ashoka’s life, our neighbors on any given day probably heard me yelling “I shoulda got a lab” at least 14 times a day on average. Anytime anything was missing from our house- food, shoes, tools, toiletries, toilet paper, couch cushions, you name it- you only needed to go as far as the back yard to salvage the remnants, if there were any. I warned my husband that our lives would change inextricably and be covered in fur for eternity. When our son started crawling it was during Ashoka’s annual molting period, in which fur clung to our son turning him in to a small wolf baby. I’m pretty sure if any stranger witnessed the extent of this they would have called child services. It was my deciding factor in buying a Roomba, that and needing to vacuum 3 times a day. Luckily, we all survived puppyhood with minimal psychological scarring. Ashoka and Taos are the best of friends and now I can’t imagine my life with a lab. Actually, I could. It is still a fantasy I cling to when I find a poop diaper stolen and shredded, or I turn my back and Ashoka has the audacity to counter surf and steal my chocolate. Although a lab would be wonderfully controllable and manageable, and we would all be better fed people, our whole family would be bored without our hulking clown.