Man’s disobedient puppy turns out to be answering the call of the wild

One Arizona man got a little more than he bargained for when he walked by a house with a “free puppy” sign in the window.

After adopting his new pet, which he named Neo, the man quickly noticed that his pet was behaving strangely. The puppy was nervous and needy, and developed a habit of relieving himself in his owner’s car. The man initially chalked these behavioural problems up to general puppy mischief, but when the dog began to chew through newly-built fences to hang out with the German shepherds next door, the neighbours became suspicious.

Eventually, he brought the animal to the Humane Society, where he was asked: “You know that isn’t a dog, right?”

It turns out the man had unknowingly adopted a “high content” wolf-dog hybrid. While Neo’s breed was a mix of dog and wolf, he looked and behaved primarily like a wolf. This explained many of his behaviours, from his nervousness around humans and unwillingness to make eye contact, to his intense desire to be around other dogs. Turns out he was just looking for his pack.

Maureen O’Nell was the CEO of the Humane Society of Southern Arizona when Neo was brought in, and she could tell right away that he wasn’t an ordinary dog. “I saw a couple walking a long-legged canine to the front door. It wasn’t his body composition that made me notice, but his behaviour,” she told the Dodo.  “Neo was completely avoidant of human interaction. The couple walking him seemed, as best as I can describe it, perplexed.”

Generally, wolf-dogs are illegal to own in Arizona (and in most parts of the USA and Canada), and can’t live happy lives as pets, so Neo’s owner gave him up to a local wolf-dog rescue. Neo is now happily settled in at Wolf Connection, where he spends most of his time exploring with his friends and taking part in the nightly howl.

O’Nell said that when Neo initially arrived at the sanctuary, he immediately escaped his isolation kennel to be with the rest of the pack: “He knew he belonged.”

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