Spirit came to us and blessed us with his presence for only three days. A wolf mix, he was full of light and energy like no other and his SPIRIT just could not be tamed.
We first fell in love with Spirit on a spur of the moment trip to the Humane Society. His constant howl filled the entire building as if he was crying out to be released from his prison. You know that feeling you get deep in your bones, the one that gnaws at you in an unrelenting fashion when your gut is trying to tell you something? I felt that for this animal as soon as I heard that howl before even laying eyes on him.
His cry lead my movements in a determined fashion through the building all the way to the back until finally in the very last cage, my eyes locked with his as if in an exchange of knowledge and understanding. All sound stopped and time froze as we sat staring at each other for what seemed like an eternity but was only really just mere seconds.
I took his paperwork out of the holder and sat on the floor in front of the cage to familiarize myself with his story. It claimed he was an Alaskan Husky, loved attention and needed a big yard. He was not suited for small children.
We took him outside for a walk to get to know him a little bit and decided to adopt him on the spot. He was energetic but walked well on the leash without pulling. Once he was receiving attention and out of the cage he had stopped howling and was all too happy to give us kisses. It would have broken our hearts to have him go back into that cage when he was so unhappy there. We really had no option in our minds. We had a huge yard at that point and no small children so we fit the bill.
Fast forward to our experience with this beautiful animal at home and it was not the perfect picture we had imagined. Now, before I tell you the story I have to state that I am NOT one to ever and I do mean EVER give up on an animal/pet. However, like I said earlier, Spirit was just not to be tamed.
From the moment we got him out of the car at home he wanted to be outdoors. Our yard was not fenced in and since he was new, we did not want to just let him off-leash not knowing how he would respond. So we spent hours with him out in the yard. Walking, running and playing in an effort to wear him out.
Once we were out of energy, we headed indoors to let him off leash to explore his new surroundings. Since we had no other animals at this time we were able to give him free roaming abilities to the entire house. It took all of ten minutes to realize our mistake. After stalking through the house a few times, Spirit, bless his soul wanted outside so badly that he started running headlong at the window to try and break it in an effort to escape the confines of the house.
We heard the first crash and came running to see what was going on and arrived just in time to see him leap into the air and smack his head full force against the window. Thank God the window held out and did not break. After telling him no a few times and having him completely ignore me, I put my shoes back on and attached the leash to once again take him outside. I was totally and fully worn out at this point so just sat on the ground with him thinking this would satisfy him because he was outside. Boy was I wrong! He wanted to run!
Not being able to physically keep up with him my daughter and I borrowed our neighbor’s golf cart so we could drive around on that throughout the property and allow him to run beside it. Surely THIS would wear him out, right? Wrong! We drove around on that thing with him running beside us well into the night. Every time we would stop he would pull and howl and try to break free of the leash. I was at a loss as to what to do at this point. Giving up for the night we once again headed inside. Yet again, he ran at the window the moment he was off-leash. I ended up having to keep him on the leash and hold on to him because we did not have a cage to put him in. At bedtime that night I had to make him sleep beside me in the bed while he was on leash and hope like heck I would not let go in my slumber so that he would not break the window and injure himself.
The following day we spent all day outside with him from dawn to dusk running and playing. Even taking him for a walk to the park and back. We used the same method with the golf cart once we were at our expended energy limits and could not possibly stand any longer. We tried a tie out with him but he was a smart cookie searching for ways to escape.
The third day I spent as much time with him outside as possible as well as taking him to the vet for his checkup and to get shots. As soon as the vet saw him she asked me if I had a special permit to have him. Confused, I asked her what she meant. She told me that he may have some Alaskan Husky in him but that he was almost all Wolf. This was even before I told her of our experiences with him over the last couple of days. Once she heard that she was mortified that the humane society had marked him as a Husky and put him up for adoption. She said she could run a blood test to confirm but did not feel it was necessary because she was confident in her assessment. He was, in fact, a Wolf/Husky mix with his predominate nature being that of the Wolf. Other than the behavioral issues his health checked out.
Let me explain a bit about our location here for a moment. We lived in an area on the outskirts of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Not an area known for open fields and free space. We were however lucky enough to have a home that backed a huge open field and was surrounded by small areas of forest mixed in with the subdivisions. At that time wildlife most notably was deer, rabbit, and squirrel.
I tell you that because that night while taking Spirit outside to do his business we heard the pack of wild Coyotes that lived out in the field behind the house howling. Spirit instantly started answering their calls. At first, I thought nothing of this and continued to stand there while he took care of business. I did not realize my mistake until it was almost too late to do anything about it. By the time I had noticed he had called the Coyotes in, they were already up to the back fence line that separated the field from our property and coming in fast. This was the only fence on the property and I thank God it was there because it gave me enough time to book it to the house.
In my flight, I managed somehow to hold onto the leash connecting Spirit to myself but tripped in the dark as my foot connected with a rock. I have never moved so fast to get up in my life. By this time the Coyotes were just 15 feet away and closing in. I have no idea at all how I managed to make it to the house with Spirit in tow but I did. I no sooner got the door shut behind me and the Coyotes were right up at the house.
That was a very long and painful night with Spirit. He wanted out so bad I could not hardly control him. I had lost a shoe in my flight and twisted my ankle. It was swollen the size of a watermelon by the next day. Going outside that morning I found my shoe in the driveway behind my car and was shocked to find it had a huge chunk of it bitten off. I mean literally bitten off. You could see shred marks where they had pulled it apart.
I had my grandfather come and take care of Spirit and my daughter while I went into the emergency room to have my foot looked at. When I told the doctor’s and nurses the story of what happened they all laughed at me and looked at me like I was crazy and making up this story. I even had one exclaim, “We live in Ann Arbor. There are no Coyotes here. What’s the real story?” Exrays showed a hairline fracture and I was put into a walking cast.
On the way home from the hospital I made the painful decision that I could not keep Spirit. He had too much spunk and wild desires to be couped up in a house as a pet. So when I got home I started making phone calls to Wolf rescues and found one that would agree to take him if I returned him to the Humane Society and had them call to make the arrangements.
It was not until I took Spirit back into the Humane Society that I found out the story behind how he was ‘rescued’ and brought to them in the first place. It was quite a tail to be told. For he was found wandering the streets and backwoods in a rural area. They did not say if he had been pestering neighborhoods but did claim it took control officers and police three entire months to finally catch him and coax him into a patrol vehicle. The area he was found was known to have a wild Coyote pack living out there which could have very well been a pack that he was a part of. I had never heard of Wolves and Coyotes living together in packs but hey after having this experience, I would believe it.
I was never able to find out if the Humane Society did, in fact, contact the Wolf rescue and send Spirit to live freely there or not. But I do hope he was not adopted out to another unsuspecting family. For peace of mind, I like to imagine him running around in the rescue. He was a beautiful animal and I connected with him but some animals deserve so much more than to be couped up as a pet.