“Uncle Waya” as he came to be known was a very special and complex guy. One of our first rescues, he came to Shy Wolf at the age of eight weeks old with his sister Kawani. The breeder had sold the two pups to a couple from Georgia who learned after buying them that Georgia has a state-wide ban on wolfdogs. Not wanting to take the pups back to an illegal state, and not wanting to take them back to the breeder which we were told was not a good situation, the caring couple sought out other options. Nancy immediately agreed to take the pups in and “gave” them to Timka to raise, a senior wolfdog who’d spent her life being bred and having her puppies “pulled”.
Waya and Kawani gave Timka purpose and were loved on and handled by all of our volunteers and guests. When they got old enough to object, however, they told us that they were shy and really wanted nothing to do with most people, especially strangers. Waya was a Level 5 animals because he grew to challenge and even bite some people. Most of the time this behavior is attributed to abuse or neglect of the animal. Because we got Waya as a puppy, we know he had never been hit, abused or neglected in any way. This left only genetics as the answer to why he behaved badly.
Deanna Deppen, Executive Director and one of his “special” people, used to say his wires were crossed in his brain. This meant he was born with something wrong in his brain that triggered certain behaviors very similar to people who are bipolar. That’s not a diagnosis in canines at present but if he had gone home with the couple he likely would have bitten someone and been euthanized early on…or ended up in a worse situation.
Because Waya came to Shy Wolf, we were able to work with him, evaluate who could safely go in and care for him, make accommodations for him to live happily with his pack, and he lived to be 15 years old. In the end Waya was diagnosed with a splenic mass that deteriorated his quality of life and made it difficult for him to breathe and move. We eventually helped him cross while surrounded by all of his favorite people.
We’ll remember Waya as the loving uncle to Four Socks, brother to Kawani, companion to Lobo and fluffy pillow to Deanna. After losing his whole first family, we introduced Waya to Raven and they became fast friends. Raven would closely supervise anyone visiting Waya and would only walk as far as Waya wanted to go on their Saturday excursions. We are very grateful that Raven came along when he did as Waya was always an “omega” in his pack and needed that strong gentle leader in his life.
Waya joined his pack on the other side just before Hurricane Irma early September 2017 and we know he was watching over us and keeping us safe throughout the storm. Forever in our hearts and loved by all.
Run Free Waya
Wa-ya in Cherokee means “wolf” and, we’ve since found, is a fairly common name for wolfdogs. Our Waya came to us at 8 weeks of age when he was sold with Kawani to a couple from Georgia (an illegal state for wolfdogs). The people who bought him discovered this fact, no thanks to the breeder, prior to taking the pups home and they searched for a safe haven.
The two pups were socialized and handled by everyone that came through the sanctuary and taken to schools. This pair is proof that even animals who should be “adoptable” cannot be forced into being pets.
Do his eyes give him away? Waya has an aptitude for sensing the least bit insecurity or hesitation in someone and is a “sneak attacker”. An Omega in his pack, he will wait until you are leaving an enclosure and run up to try and nip from behind… There are some volunteers who can safely interact with Waya and who he will not challenge. Volunteers cannot assume, however, that he will not seize an opportunity to challenge them.
Waya has experienced no abuse or neglect. There is no known reason for Waya to attack or challenge someone and, yet, he does. Since we’ve started taking Waya for walks around the perimeter of the property, he seems to have gained some confidence and even mellowed a bit. He accepts more volunteers in his area and interacting with him.