Hi! I'm a taxidermist.
To me, Nature is God. Without it, we simply would not exist. Conserving the world’s natural spaces and the creatures that live there is paramount to the survival of humans as a species, and I have therefore dedicated my life to studying environmentalism in order to help people co-exist more successfully and sustainably with the natural world.
All natural materials I use in my creations are either sourced from roadkill, Fish and Game, secondhand sources such as fellow artists and estate sales, or are antique. In this way, I'm ensuring that no animals were needlessly killed for the sake of the artwork I produce. I fully believe that no part of any creature should go to waste if a purpose can be found for it, but I do NOT support trophy hunters or overseas fur farms by buying 'byproducts' like bones, skulls, or claws directly from them. The only exception I make for this rule is for parts from animals legally culled for population control programs approved by Fish and Wildlife.
As a photographer and wildlife enthusiast, I've been involved with many fantastic organizations such as Images4Life and Wild Tiger, as well as the Sierra Club and many smaller, local groups.
I've been published, interviewed, and even featured on Rainn Wilson (Dwight from “The Office”)'s personal networking website, SoulPancake.com.
I’ve also been blessed with the opportunity to visit many of the world’s most amazing wild places, like Komodo Island, Bali, Lombok, Malaysia, and the Cayman Islands, and have even documented entirely new species previously unknown to science.
Other interests include: Wilderness survival, primitive skills, backpacking, fishing, kayaking, boffing, airsoft, snowboarding, meandering around town, and caving.
It’s official: Among those who work in wolfdog-specific canine rescue, a pattern is often seen amongst misrepresented animals - they are oftentimes given ‘loaded’ names - names that people associate with wolves, in order to instigate conversation about the wolfiness of the animal.
The four most common names for rescued misrepresented “wolfdogs” are:
So I might be getting a wolf/husky mix! I’m pretty excited about it. If anyone has experience with wolfdogs, I’d love some advise!
Where are you getting the pup from? There are a lot of breeders out there, but only a handful are legitimate. You can read more about that topic HERE, and I can absolutely offer more advice if you need it.this pup isn’t really a pup anymore. She’s a three year old who has been raised by a family I know. She has been trained and they would train me before I took her in. They got her from a local breeder who I would have to look into more.
Keep in mind that most “wolfdogs” in the USA are actually just husky/malamute/German shepherd mixes. This is especially true if the animal comes from a breeder who doesn’t have a return policy for their animals.
Legitimate breeders of wolfdogs will almost always have what’s called a “take-back contract” with their buyers, stipulating that if the original buyer cannot or does not want to care for the animal any longer, they are legally required to return the animal to the breeder’s care. They are not supposed to adopt the animal out to a third party, nor submit it to a rescue.
If the animal in question does somehow have wolf content in it, I’d assume it to be low. This is still going to be a very difficult animal to deal with. Legitimate wolfdogs cannot live peacefully in your home/yard unattended - they are escape artist, quickly learning to unlock doors, chew through drywall, and are adept at scaling and breaking through typical wood and chain link fencing.
If it really is a wolfdog, you will likely need proper containment for it. We ran into this issue with our own low content, Jude. The dog run we’d made for our purebred working-line GSD (typically considered masters of escaping) was nothing to our wolfdog, who escaped and killed an entire flock of chickens. The solution, we found, was creating a new containment system from cattle panels. It cost about $800.00 to build, stands 6 to 8 feet high, has dig guards, and a secure gated entry system.
Obviously, wolfdogs are not a breed you can handle lightly. They have severe separation anxiety, need constant socialization, and require positive reinforcement training methods (because, contrary to popular belief, wolves do not operate on the outdated pack hierarchy that many people still think they do). You can read more on this topic HERE, HERE, and HERE.
The only reason I am able to keep a wolfdog (as well as three other non-wolfdogs) is that I:
1) Live in an area where wolfdogs are legal to own,
2) Am self-employed,
3) Work from my house so am here most of the day to keep an eye on them,
4) Own my own half-acre property,
5) Make enough money to afford regular food and veterinary care,
6) Have a vet who is willing to work on Jude,
7) Understand the containment requirements that Jude needs,
8) Own a vehicle which can transport Jude, that he cannot escape from when contained inside,
9) And am dedicated to constantly working with Jude to ensure that his training is solid, so I always know how he will react in new places and with new people.
You may run into issues with veterinary care. Our first vet prettymuch just called me an outright liar and tried to say that Jude had more wolf content in him than he actually does. This was due, most likely, to the simple fact that the vet in question had no actual experience with real wolfdogs - but she thought that she did, because other people had brought their malamute/husky/shepherd mixes to her and claimed that they were wolfdogs.
Compared to these “wolfdogs”, my pup probably looked pretty damned wolfy. But I have his lineage on paper, and offered to show it to her. The vet treated Jude, but I never went back to her. I took him to a different vet instead - one who actually knew what she was talking about.
We tried to contact Jude’s previous vet to obtain his records, and found, much to our surprise, that all evidence of Jude’s treatment at the previous clinic had been deleted from their files. Apparently, the vet was worried about the legalities of treating a wolfdog at her clinic, even though Jude is not legally recognized as a wolfdog. Knowing the laws and regulations for your state concerning the veterinary care of your animal is a very important process, and you can absolutely feel free to contact me personally for more information about this if and when the time comes.
On that same note, real wolfdogs can get get a bad wrap from the general public, too. I’ve had people threaten to call the cops on me before for “Walking a wild animal on a leash!” and things of that ilk. Some people assume that he is dangerous and tell me not to let my dog near their kids - others cross the street to walk as far away from us as possible.
When it comes to diet, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT FEED YOUR WOLFDOG CHEAP KIBBLE. Jude’s previous owner fed him nothing but Beneful, and it did a real number on his health. It’s taken us months to correct these problems, but he is now on a prey model raw diet and eats meat almost exclusively. When we are low on meat, he gets grain-free meat-based dog food (Diamond Naturals brand). If you’re on the east coast, Tractor Supply Co. makes a grain-free food called 4-Health that is, according to other wolfdog owners I know, also suitable if meat is occasionally provided in addition.
Other things to consider: Wolfdogs have high prey drive (will want to murder other small animals), have poor off-leash recall, exhibit different social ques than domestic dogs (which can lead to aggression and high tensions when meeting new animals), and are very mouthy in their communications - be prepared to deal with the bruises.
On the bright side, wolfdogs do bond very closely with their human companions. They are very people-oriented, and will rely very heavily on you as their provider. Jude is very good at being out in public, even in crowded places, which is strange for most wolfdogs, but then, he is a LOW content animal. On a good day, we won’t have any negative encounters with people or other animals, and it makes us both very happy.
In conclusion, it’s a very different cup of tea to own a wolfdog vs. owning any other type of canine. They will not change their lives to suit yours; you will have to change your life to suit theirs.
Today, I often see people with their normal domestic breed dogs, and I get jealous. Their lives must be so simple - they can leave their pup at home unattended while they run to the store or go to work, and won’t come home to an irrecoverably demolished garage and a dead cat in the yard. It must be nice to know, too, that if their pup ever did escape, the neighbors wouldn’t mistake it for a wild animal and shoot it on sight.
But I love Jude, and wouldn’t give him up for anything. He has become a part of my life, and, stressful as it can be, the bond that we have is incredible. When we travel together, sleeping on couches or in the back of my truck, he sleeps either next to or directly on top of me, and will alert me instantly if anything is awry, so that I can always feel safe when it’s just the two of us in a strange new city. He keeps me calm when I drive, and seeks attention from me when he knows I’m feeling down.
But these are all things any normal domestic dog can do, and with them, you wouldn’t need to worry about escapes, legalities, dead prey animals, shitty remarks from wolf-haters, being mobbed by wolf-lovers, and all the other issues real wolfdog owners face. We keep wolfdogs because, I think, there is a certain feeling of accomplishment there. I know that one of the best days of my life is the day that Jude invited me to sit with him in his enclosure while he fed on an alpaca carcass, and didn’t growl or snap at me once despite my close proximity. The feeling of elation I felt then was beyond compare. I had been working with Jude for months, and finally got a breakthrough!
That challenge, though, is not something everyone can - or even should - consider unless they are prepared. I was lucky; I got a lot of support from others in the wolfdog community when I adopted Jude, and can always go to them seeking answers to any questions I may have. I want to extend the same courtesy to you, irregardless of whether the pup you wish to adopt has any wolf content in him or not. Getting a new dog is a big responsibility, so I’m happy to do what I can to make things easier if you feel like you need it!
Diamond and Shentea have been building up their confidence over the past few weeks and are really coming out of the their shells! They’re happy to see new people now, and Shentea’s escape attempts have dwindled so much so that I can now leave her unattended in the run when I make a trip to the store without worry. I think she just needed time to settle in here - and now that she has, things are going much better for them both.
Diamond has calmed down a lot since his neuter surgery, and is shaping up to be a gentle, relaxed young pup. He has made no attempts to escape, is a very good listener, and would be well-suited to just about any kid-free home.
Both pups are housebroken, behave excellent with Blackjack (the housecat), show no signs of food aggression, and LOVE to cuddle. They do have a lot of energy, per their Norther breed nature, but also accept when it’s time to settle down and relax in the house.
They are still looking for their forever homes! You can see photos and read more about them on their PetFinder profiles HERE and HERE. You can view some adorable video footage of them HERE, as well!
So I might be getting a wolf/husky mix! I’m pretty excited about it. If anyone has experience with wolfdogs, I’d love some advise!
Where are you getting the pup from? There are a lot of breeders out there, but only a handful are legitimate. You can read more about that topic HERE, and I can absolutely offer more advice if you need it.
Hey tumblr! Did you know that if you suffer from depression / anxiety or any other mental illness, you can register your dog as an emotional support animal, making it illegal for a landlord to refuse to rent to you? That’s right. No breed restrictions, no weight restrictions, no matter what, they are not allowed to refuse.
This includes cats, rabbits, birds, guinea pigs, etc.!! Go here to register your pet as an ESA :~)
I would like to announce: DO NOT DO THIS
DOING THIS ADDS TO THE PROBLEM OF FAKE “SERVICE DOGS” THAT MAKE IT HARDER FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED A REAL, PROFESSIONALLY-TRAINED SERVICE ANIMAL TO BE ABLE TO OWN ONE AND TAKE IT WITH THEM.
WHEN YOUR “EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMAL” CAUSES PROBLEMS IT MAKES THE LANDLORD SKEPTICAL OF THE NEXT RENTER WHO SHOWS UP WITH AN ACTUAL SERVICE ANIMAL.
YES DEPRESSION IS A SERIOUS ILLNESS AND THERE ARE SERVICE ANIMALS FOR EMOTIONAL SUPPORT. BUT REGISTERING YOUR PET AS A SERVICE ANIMAL OF ANY KIND ONLY ADDS TO THE GROWING PROBLEM OF ANIMALS WITH FALSIFIED RECORDS
I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO ADD THAT NSARCO DOT COM IS A SCAM AND ANY WEBSITE SELLING THESE “CERTIFICATIONS” TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC IS A SCAM. YOU CANNOT BUY A REAL CERTIFICATION FOR YOUR PET.
Ok, this is fucking HUGE. Fake support animals, untrained ESAs? Yeah, they’re a HUGE danger to the REAL service dog teams. Y’know, the people who LEGITIMATELY NEED a service dog, for visible or invisible disabilities. You are cheapening and destroying the idea of a service dog when you take your leash pulling, non-potty trained, dog aggressive bully mutt into a store with you with your fake registrations and faux service vests. When you let others in the store pet your dog, they start to think that they can pet any “service dog” because they don’t know the difference between you with your pet that you just wanted to take anywhere, and the dog that is actually doing a job. This can cause undue stress on the handler who might have PTSD, severe anxiety, etc, or ANY handler with ANY issue. These dogs are WORKING dogs, not pets whose owner wanted to take their dog in a shop.
You cause problems like THIS:
Do. not. just go out and register your cutesy little poorly trained pet dog as an ESA just so you can take it where you want. It’s dangerous and hurtful, and can lean to places and businesses working to keep REAL service animals out of their establishments.
TRUE service dogs have gone through years and years of training to help their humans. Do NOT cheapen the effort and work that goes into the animals for the work they do for their humans just because you want fluffy to come in and have lunch with you. Don’t.