Shy Wolf Sanctuary Education and Experience Center has served as a home to hundreds of rescued animals since it was established in 1993, while rescuing hundreds of others that never stepped foot on the property. With its years of experience, Shy Wolf Sanctuary has continuously shown its tenacity to adapt and rise through any struggles in order to provide the necessary care for all animals in need.  Despite these experiences, one thing that the sanctuary will always find difficult is saying goodbye to its beloved residents.  


“No matter how many years it has been, it really never got easier,” said Deanna Deppen, Executive Director of Shy Wolf Sanctuary. “The friends that we lost will always be remembered for touching the hearts of the people around them, both volunteers and our sanctuary visitors.” 


Yuki, the sanctuary’s most famous resident wolfdog, took the internet by storm for the second time in 2019 Still fondly remembered to this day, Yuki went viral when volunteer Brittany Allen posted a photo of her cuddling Yuki on Reddit and on her Instagram account. Another volunteer, Christa Fagliarone, had originally introduced him to Reddit to a lesser degree. People who saw the photo were shocked to see Yuki’s ginormous (and very huggable) size as compared to Brittany, to the point where some even accused her of photoshopping. The wolfdog did appear much larger than he was in real life because of the perspective of the photograph. Later, Yuki once again gained internet buzz when he was called a real-life ‘Direwolf’ from the popular HBO Max series ‘Game of Thrones’. Yuki’s sudden rise to stardom paved the way for sharing Shy Wolf Sanctuary’s mission of raising awareness about wolfdogs and other captive-bred exotic animals on a much larger scale.  


Yuki was rescued by Shy Wolf Sanctuary in 2008. He was surrendered to an animal shelter at 8 months old when the sanctuary stepped forward to take him in. His story of survival, thriving, and learning to trust again reached and inspired many people. He was diagnosed with blood cancer in 2017 and was put on an immune supplement for 3 years until he left peacefully in his sleep. He lived an incredible and happy 13 years of life.  


Read the full story feature on The EDEN Magazine here.