By Mollie Mansfield
A massive wolfdog has been given a forever home and is living like a pooch after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.
When Yuki, who is 87.5% Gray Wolf, 8.6% Siberian Husky and 3.9% German Shepherd, was left at a kill shelter by his owners in 2008 after he was dubbed ‘too much to handle’, the Shy Wolf Sanctuary, Naples, Florida, US, stepped up and adopted the beast.
Upon adopting him, the sanctuary realised just how dog like the animal was and even starting cuddling, kissing and playing with him on a daily basis.
And after being diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2018, the shelter has made their best efforts to make Yuki’s last days as happy as ever – including birthday celebrations and lots of attention.
Jeremy Albrecht, 43, a director at Shy Wolf Sanctuary, said: “Yuki was diagnosed with cancer last year and unfortunately it is terminal.
“Yuki has been fighting it for quite a while now and is persevering so it is business as usual while we enjoy our time with Yuki.
“When the day comes that he starts showing symptoms we will, as we always do, make the right decisions for Yuki’s quality of life.
“But it’s important to remember that while many of these animals have rough beginnings, their stories always have happy endings.”
Despite the volunteers being able to cuddle and pet Yuki as if he were a dog, Jeremy explains that there are a major differences that set him aside from a domesticated animal.
He said: “Shy Wolf Sanctuary exists as a testament to how different of an experience raising a Wolf-Dog is to raising your standard domestic dog.
“The vast majority of people are not equipped to handle one of these exotic animals for the duration of their life.
“Yuki gets 100% raw diet – his diet consists of about 75% bone-in chicken and 25% beef and pork, and he gets fed four times a week.
“I am often asked why we only feed four times a week, most people wouldn’t go a day without feeding their dogs at home.
“My answer is these are not dogs, they are wolves and wolf-dogs.
“In the wild a gray wolf would kill or scavenge a meal and might eat 20 pounds of meat in a sitting, but they can often go a couple of weeks until their next meal as it is thought that only about 5-15% of their hunts are successful.”
Although Yuki can be seen licking and getting close to some of the sanctuary’s volunteer, Jeremy admits he doesn’t get on with everyone he meets.
He said: “He is not an easy guy to get to know, but he does have a small number of volunteers he has bonded with.
“He has gained the nickname “Woowoo” because when he sees any of his chosen volunteers that is the noise he makes, beckoning that volunteer to come spend time with him.
“People tend to connect with Yuki because he has people he likes, and people he doesn’t and that makes him very relatable to the people .
“Yuki doesn’t care much for me, so visitors get to see his full range of emotion and depth as he alternates between giving affection to whatever volunteer is with him and telling me he’d rather I move on.”
Despite the fact the sanctuary will miss Yuki once he passes, they find solace in the fact that once his time is over, he will make room for the next rescue and happy ending.
Shy Wolf Sanctuary is a non-profit organisation, to donate visit: https://shywolfsanctuary.org/donate/