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Pete & Stacy, and the Family
Tipper and Talla, mother and daughter
My husband, Pete, and I, Stacy, met about 17 years ago. He had 5 hybrids, and I had cats and didn't really like dogs, let alone big dogs. Then I met his pack. B.J. mesmerized me. He was huge, gentle, and loving - he just had a presence. Never once was I afraid of him. Sadly, we lost him to cancer when he was only 7.
The puppy itch took over and we found Bubba. He survived a rattlesnake bite at the age of 4 months and, we lost him at 12 years. A year after we got him, it was time for another pup, and Tipper found us. We couldn't decide between two pups and when Pete picked up Tipper, she just snuggled with him and that was it. She chose us. Tipper started following Bubba everywhere and they became best mates. Tipper went into heat and we weren't prepared. I had never been around dogs, let alone female dogs in heat. And then it happened - the tie. I was so scared, I almost called the vet! This is how our wolf puppy breeding program started. That litter I named all of the puppies. That was the last litter I did that! We ended up keeping two out of that litter! Tipper is now our old girl and 13 1/2. She is beloved by all.
Over the years our pack just grew. The growing started when I wanted a white wolf. I found one in Albuquerque, NM. I rented a car, called a girlfriend and asked her if she wanted to go on a road trip. The next day, we were on our way, a seven hour drive. We walked into the breeder's house and there they were, a bunch of white fluff balls running all over the place. But there was one little puppy, a Timber, facing backwards in a chair, all by himself. I was immediately drawn to him - there was just something about him. I think he reminded me of B. J. I finally decided on Snowflake. But I couldn't take my eyes off of that little Timber. I called my husband, and told him about that little guy. He was busy at work and couldn't talk. So, I left the home with the white pup only. Twenty miles down the road I called Pete and we talked about that little guy. He said there was something in my voice in the way that I talked about that Timber. We agreed and I turned around to get him. That is who is now Beej, the stud..
We kept some puppies from the litters we had and brought in puppies from other breeders to bring in new bloodlines. We do not believe in in-breeding. It never ceases to amaze me how the big guys gently play with the new puppies even though the wee cubs viciously attack them with all of their might.
We live in the country on 2 acres completely fenced in with electric fencing around the entire perimeter, all around the bottom and some on the top. It is critical you have a decent size yard and have it fenced in. We have 3 males and 9 females. This year, 2018, we lost Kaya and Tikka. It is so sad and difficult.
All of our wolfdogs have access to the entire 2 acres. We have a 3 x 3 doggie door, that Pete built, so they can go in and out when they want. A swamp cooler is on the patio to keep them cool in the summer, and a heater is in the shelter Pete built for them. (Please, never shave them as their fur acts as an insulator and keeps them cool.) And, of course, don't all wolfdogs have a 5th wheel to hang out in.
We free feed them. We have more bowls than dogs, and fill up the bowls once a day. This prevents food aggression. Surprisingly, they do not gorge or overeat. We have four automatic waterers outside, each being about one foot off the ground. They all like to do what we call the water dance ~ putting their paws in the water and dig the water out of the bowl. We feed them kibble and cooked meat. Kaya ended up with a parasite, which was probably due to eating raw meat. When she was nursing, that's all she wanted was raw meat. Thank goodness we caught that parasite. It won't affect her, but causes neurological damage to the pups, and that's a 50-50 chance. We were not willing to take that chance and spayed her.
One more thing. It's critical to have a positive working relationship with your vet. We have had our vet for over 20 years. She has saved the lives of at least 6 of our guys.
People say to us ~ how can you live that way? Our house is full of hair and dirt all the time. Our wood furniture has dog chew marks all over it. Our couch has been chewed and covered in duct tape. We've lost dozens of pairs of shoes, purses, and wallets. Phones, cell phones, and remote controls have teeth prints in them. Food on the counter is meant to be shared, or so they think! We have a mop bucket available for daily use. Recently I heard from someone who purchased one of our pups a few years back. Raven's new destructive tendencies were to chew the underside of the car!
We live this way because we love our wolfdogs, yes, but it's much more than that. They have become a part of us, a part of our family. It's about knowing and understanding their nature and nurturing that, not trying to stop that. They make us laugh, cry, and find a deeper level of strength I never thought possible. One day I was laying down with Elf, petting her while she was nursing, and I started crying tears of joy from the beauty and majesty that came from her soul.