Drake’s story is a sad one…one in which people failed him from the beginning. He came from an irresponsible breeder in another state and was purchased by a man. Drake was represented as a “wolfdog”, when he really had little to no wolf content. He supposedly was well loved and kept in the house for the next 8 years. You would think that is a happy story, but he came to Shy Wolf underweight and as an emergency rescue. Drake had bitten a neighbor supposedly in an incident where the man reached for him to return him to his house. That was the story we got from the owner. Later we found out that the owner was less than truthful with us. Domestic Animal Services relayed to us later that the bite actually occurred AFTER the man had returned Drake to his house, as he was walking away from the house in an unprovoked attack. Two totally different situations.
Shy Wolf Sanctuary had never before had a reason to euthanize an animal due to aggression. We have always managed aggressive animals through mechanical means (fencing design) or by restricting who enters the enclosure. We agreed to take Drake in as an emergency rescue due to a child in the house and concerns about him biting the child resulting in his not being able to go home after the bite quarantine. Drake was transported down by the owner with his belongings…and that was the last we heard from the man. He didn’t call, text or email to check up on Drake. While this isn’t as uncommon as you might think, it still bothers us that people who supposedly “love” an animal can essentially dump them without another thought or consideration. On top of that, the “donation” made to cover Drake’s care bounced!
We noticed that Drake seemed very edgy and appeared to have hip problems. We decided to get a full work up from our vet to see if, perhaps, the bite incident had been the result of something medically going on. X-rays were taken and they showed that Drake suffered from the worst hips our vet had ever seen. We brought him home while we investigated what the best option would be for Drake. Could we manage his pain? Should we do a fundraising campaign and get total hip replacements? He was still a fairly young dog (to us) and we wanted to give him every option possible.
During this period, shortly after the vet visit, is when our mind was made up for us. Nancy was feeding Drake even on our normal fasting days due to him being underweight and used to eating daily. While she was taking a bowl into his enclosure, not having had any prior indication of aggression at our facility, Drake turned on her and bit her hand. The fact that he bit was not enough, alone, to prompt our decision to help him cross over, but it was the final piece of information needed. We had no area available with a lock down. We would not be able to safely interact with an animal that could flip the switch that quickly without a lock down area. Drake would have been subjected to a life of pain and isolation due to the hip problem and his issues. We chose to release Drake from his suffering while we held him at our vet’s office.
We could possibly have adapted an enclosure to accommodate locking Drake down, but he still would have been in pain and he still would have been isolated. The lesson Drake leaves with us is that there are times when we come into an animal’s life to help them find their way to a better place. He was in excruciating pain, for his whole life, and had not been treated. Bad breeding combined with owners who did not fully investigate the causes of his behavioral problems contributed to the sad situation that was Drake’s existence. Drake was not with us for long, but he will forever be remembered and is a part of Shy Wolf’s family. He has left an indelible mark and will be remembered as one we lovingly released from pain and suffering.