It is with heavy hearts that we share the passing of Chief and Amaya within days of each other. Chief was a surprise to us as he had not been showing signs of being ill, with the exception of one seizure a month prior. On November 18th he started having seizures one right after the other and through the night. It was a sad but easy decision to help him cross over and out of his suffering on November 19th. Amaya was his long-time companion and we believe that things happen for a reason. Chief was very much other-dog dependent and would not have done well if he’d lost his best friend. We had been helping Amaya along for months with special pain medications, shots for her joints and home cooked chicken and rice made with love for easier digestion. At nearly 17 years of age, Amaya finally deteriorated to the point where quality of life became an issue three days after losing her Chief. With love and tears on November 22, 2017, we sent Amaya off to join him where animals run free and healthy and wait for us on the other side.


Chief and Amaya were long-time favorites of volunteers and guests. They were usually the first ones new volunteers worked with and always happy to greet anyone coming to visit. Chief was a bit shy, but such a handsome boy that he was always one of the favorites in our sponsorship program. Having come to us as an escapee mislabeled a wolfdog, Chief spent his life at Shy Wolf despite our best efforts to find him a home. He very much needed a canine companion and could not be adopted as a single dog. We really didn’t see any “wolf” in Chief, but because he had been labeled one, he was unadoptable at any shelter. Amaya came to us at 18 months of age after someone took her in to keep her from going to a shelter. We thought she’d be adopted very quickly being a sweet, smaller dog that was great with kids. Her high prey drive made her somewhat challenging to place with anyone that had other pets, and even her ability to connect with autistic individuals didn’t win her a home. Chief and Amaya had as good a life as we could provide with lots of love and attention, but they are also the epitome of the problem with dogs being labelled wolfdog inappropriately and adoptable animals being overlooked because they are “safe” in sanctuary. If people would adopt animals from sanctuaries, they would open up spots for other rescues while providing homes to great animals with known behaviors and needs.


Chief and Amaya are the old couple who couldn’t live without each other and are running free and celebrating with our pack on the other side. We will forever hold them in our hearts and remember the lessons they had to share.


Chief is a beautiful low content wolfdog that originally came from a high-kill shelter in Alabama.  He had been escaping and picked up several times by shelter staff.  The previous owner finally got tired of bailing him out and signed Chief over to the shelter.  Though shy at first, he warms up to people and gets very excited to see you coming.  The staff at the shelter saw this diamond in the ruff and kept him alive much longer than they normally would have, given he had the label “wolf” in a state that has banned wolves and wolfdogs.

We knew the sacrifices that were being made on his behalf, literally other dogs dying in his stead, and were desperate to find a foster or home for him.  We lined up foster at another sanctuary in Florida.  However, due to communication issues, they backed out after Chief was already on the road and on his way down to Florida.


At that point, we had few options and elected to bring him to Shy Wolf Sanctuary and attempt to put him in with Pawnee’s group.   Joanne Strinka of Lost Wolf Rescue came to our aid and transported him the last leg of the trip.  Needless to say, that grouping did work out.

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