I Know How Dinosaurs Became Extinct. Couches Are On The Same Path.

Stegosaurus_SenckenbergDid you know that scientists really don’t know why all the dinosaurs up and died? Oh, they have theories about climate change, a shift in predation—I think aliens have even been tossed out there as a possible explanation for the obliteration of an entire group of critters.

But no one really knows for sure what happened. Until now.

I know.

I know because Dino has died. I know when he died. I know the cause of death.

He was tough. He truly was. He thrived for a good long time.

DinoHe was a purple stegosaurus that came to Tails You Win Farm last Christmas. A toy so large—nearly 20″ from nose to tail—that some of the resident dogs weren’t entirely sure how to play with him. But they figured it out. Over the months Dino roamed the house and the yard with the help of many willing canine friends.

Some of the dogs came and went, as foster dogs will. But Dino remained. Some of the dogs did their best to kill Dino. But Dino remained.

And then HE came to the farm. And Dino learned that HE was different.

20141028_085136Dino’s road to extinction was swift and sure. It started with a small hole near the base of his neck. The beast found the weakness…the chink in Dino’s armor…and went in for the kill. The smaller members of the beast’s tribe joined in—tugging, shaking, clawing—until, until…well, it’s just too terrible. I will never un-see the violence of Dino’s death.

20141028_085040So my unscientific theory is that long, long ago Kainan the wolfdog’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great-(picture a lot more greats…like nearly infinity greats) grandfather roamed the earth and developed a taste for giant lizard. You get the picture.

Kainan’s ancestors were responsible for wiping out the dinosaurs.

20141024_081500And now?

Worldwide Couch Protection League. Donate today before all of the comfortable seating in living rooms across the world disappears.

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This Little Piggy

IMG_7838.3Spamela Anderson is sick.

No, not Pamela Anderson. I’m sure she’s fine. Well, actually, I have no idea how Pamela is, but she has looked incredibly healthy every time I’ve seen her on television, so I have to believe she’s fine.

It’s my dear pig Spamela Anderson that is under the weather.  It’s not the first time she’s been sick in her life. Every now and then she seems to get a stomach upset that manifests in loss of appetite, lethargy, and…and…well, sorry, but vomiting. Yes, pigs vomit. Impressive amounts. Enough said? I thought so.

Anyhow, the first time Spamela refused her dinner was about eight years ago and I will admit I panicked a bit. She’s a hog, a really big hog literally and figuratively. She loves food, so a lack of appetite is noteworthy. Everything I read about hogs at the time said that if a pig refused to eat for more than 24 hours it could indicate a serious illness.

Well, that first time she did go without eating for more than 24 hours, so I called on my pig veterinarian to come check things out. Now, keep in mind, this veterinarian is wonderful, but the pig patients she normally sees are potbellied pigs, not 600+ pound farm hogs. So Spamela presented a bit of a challenge for her, but she was game. She said she would bring an assistant and they would come out to do a blood draw and check my gorgeous girl over.

By the time they got to our farm, it was dusk. Dr. Wolfe hopped out of the truck with her assistant, a young man who I’m sure was very strong, but, well, he probably didn’t weigh much more than I did and stood a few inches shorter . Far be it from me to question the good doctor’s judgment, but I wasn’t sure how this potential wresting match was going to play out. My one hope was that Spamela would just somehow decide to sleep through the exam and needle stick to her ear. Yes, they draw blood from a pig’s ear because you really can’t find a vein anywhere else. It would be like trying to draw blood from a boulder.

Spamela had burrowed into a large pile of hay out in her pasture, so we all trooped down the hill to find her. The initially confident assistant—you know, the guy who would be in charge of snaring the pig’s upper jaw in a loop attached to a pole so he could “hold her still” for the veterinarian—got very quiet and very pale when the hay mound moved and the impressively statuesque Spamela emerged. I recall him just looking quickly back and forth from Spammy to Dr. Wolfe…Spammy to Dr. Wolfe.

Spammy decided she wasn’t up for entertaining so many people so she headed to the barn. Oh good…we would tackle this in the barn where the light was brighter and I could get a better video of the mayhem…umm…I mean Dr. Wolfe could see better to perform the exam.

Did I mention that at this point the assistant was walking way behind everyone and starting to eye the distance to his truck?

Ok. We were all standing in the barn and the assistant had his cute little pig snare stick in hand. Just as we were about to give this restrain-the-giant-porker procedure a go, Spamela walked over and gave the gate to her pen a mighty rattle.

No, she was not trying to escape. This behavior is actually her equivalent of ringing a dinner bell. When feeling a bit peckish, she will ever-so subtly pound on her gate with her saucer-sized snout while I dish up her meal.

She punched the gate again. Dr. Wolfe suggested I offer her a little food to see if she might be feeling better, so I did. And she was. In fact, she decided she was starving.  I do believe I saw actual tears of relief pooling in the vet assistant’s eyes.

We’ve had two other “therapeutic vet visits” over the years that pretty much played out the same way. There is a certain magic about Dr. Wolfe just stepping foot on this farm that seems to be the cure for whatever ails Spamela.  Dr. Wolfe gets a call fee…I get relief from worry…we have a nice visit…Spamela gets a well-deserved meal. For the record, I have never seen that assistant again since his first introduction to Spamela.

Spammy profileThis time around, Spamela’s symptoms are very similar to the few times she has been sick in the past. Last night I had to go out to find her in her pasture, then had to cheer her on a bit as she followed me slowly up the hill to the barn.  I offered her a pan of food and she turned away. I offered her a carrot and she refused to take it. She just stood there, staring blankly like a little kid who has stayed up way past his bedtime.

Perhaps, once again, it is not cause for huge concern, but something feels different this time. Something is pulling at my heart when I look into her eyes. There is something different about the way she is moving so slowly. She does not appear to be in pain, she just seems really tired. So very tired.

The reality that I have to keep in mind is that Spamela is an old lady pig now. The average life expectancy for pigs like Spammy, she is a Yorkshire pig, is six to 10 years. Spamela is now 12 glorious years old.

I remember very well the day that Spamela came into my world. It was during a rocky time in my life. I had just separated from my husband of 15 years and was heading down the divorce trail. Life was anything but rosy. I was in full what-now mode…trying to figure out whether I could manage to keep all of my animals, trying to decide where and how I would live.

SPAMELA-06 (2)However, when the call came in from the animal shelter asking if I would take in a baby piglet, I didn’t even hesitate. Maybe my judgment was clouded by stress…or maybe it was because the one animal my soon-to-be-ex-husband had always told me I should not bring home was a pig. Well, I showed him. I brought home a pig. Really Nancy?

Really.

Spamela trotted into my life on her cute “high heel” hooves and I fell immediately in love. She was the size of a football and perfectly charming. I even sold my no-longer-necessary wedding ring to raise money to buy panels to construct a pig pen. HAH! That showed him. (Vindictive? Noooooo. Practical!)

So yes, I have a long history with this lovely, funny, friendly, smart pink pig. It’s hard to see her grow old. It’s hard to see her not acting like her normal hungry self.  Even our other pig (well of course we eventually added another pig), Jerry Swinefeld seems to sense the difference in his buddy. He was actually being quiet and mannerly at mealtime last night. Something is definitely up.

Hopefully, this morning, I will walk to the barn to check on my girl and I’ll find her up, banging the gate with her normal enthusiasm. Hopefully she’ll be demanding a morning brunch while snorting my concerns away. I am ever hopeful. I am also realistic. When you live with so many lives that are more temporary than your own, you have to be.

Yes, this time something just feels very different. I’ll keep you posted.

Time to head to the barn.

Wolfdog in the House: Kainan 1, Couch 0

20140930_093441revThe title of this post could also be “When Bad Things Happen to Perfectly Good Couches.”

Now, before I detail the event that I am wild guessing you have already surmised, let me back up and share with you the one caution I always send home with anyone who adopts a dog from me: There will likely be a honeymoon period. During the adoption honeymoon, you will think you have adopted the perfect dog.

You will be amazed at how clever your new dog is. You will brag that he has not had one accident in the house. You will tell all of your friends that you can’t believe this dog ended up with a rescue group or in a shelter. You will develop a false sense of trust. You will let your guard down. Yes, despite my sincere, expert warning, you will relax.

And then it’s over. The honeymoon ends. It may be after two or three weeks, or even a month. And it will end in some potentially profound, eye-opening way after your “perfect” dog has settled in nicely and has started to feel secure. Oh yes, they let you believe that they are furry little angels and then…BAM. They blindside you.

In reality, the end of your honeymoon actually may not be anything too tragic. Keep it all in perspective.

A chewed shoe? Big deal. Wearing two matching shoes is SO last season.

A little accident on the floor? Clean it up and pay closer attention.

He snagged the sandwich right off your plate when you turned your head? Well, that’s just funny. Make another one.

Yes, your new dog may pull a little stunt or two…or your new wolfdog just might eat your couch. Ok, not the whole couch, but that’s only because morning dawned and a wolfdog can only consume so much couch in one sitting.

Now, I can hear wolfboy’s loyal fans asking, “Who’s to say it was Kainan who ate the obviously delicious leather couch?”

20141024_081500It’s true. There are potentially several likely suspects in my home. And it might have been a bit of a mystery, except that just I was snapping a photo of the damage so I could share the joy with Jim (he’s out of town…I blame him for this…if he had been home, he would have fallen asleep on that couch and this never would have happened), lo and behold Kainan photo-bombed the couch and grabbed another bite.

This tells me that he has no idea that couchicide is a major crime. It appears I have some training to do before I dare purchase a new chew toy disguised as furniture. Meanwhile, thank goodness designer duct tape is now all the rage in home decor. (Well, in MY home it is. Don’t judge.)

I will miss our honeymoon, dear Kainan, even though the honeymoon itself was filled with stolen items, mischief, and a bit of occasional mayhem. It all seems so trivial now…so very trivial.

Hey Kainan, guess who is going to revoke your “sleep loose in the house” privileges for the foreseeable future? The old ball and chain she-human, that’s who.

Yes, the honeymoon is over. But hey…I was growing tired of that couch anyway.

(He’s still worth it.)

tape

Wolfdogs in the House: And Then There Were Two

2014-10-18 23.22.50The sound emanating from the dog room had a mournful timbre—an intense, beautifully eerie vibrato. Kainan’s head swiveled with ears riveted as he listened intently. Then he threw his head back to answer the tenor’s cry in his own rich baritone.

If I had heard this duet while walking through the woods at night, well, I would have been entranced and in need of new undies all at once. I would love to book this act for Halloween night. There are no sound effects in the world to rival this hair-standing-on-end opera.

So yes, the title of this piece reads “Wolfdogs in the House.” Yep. You read that right. WolfdogS.

Just over a week ago, my Facebook feed started blowing up with people sharing a photo of a dog that was at the animal shelter in Owasso, a nearby town. The dog had a certain “look,” if you know what I mean. And because of his look, he was deemed illegal within the city limits. He was in trouble.

When it comes to rescuing animals, the Facebook alert system can have the same effect as the beam of bat-infused light that prompts Bruce Wayne to squeeze into his tight, abs-built-right-in suit and then bolt off to once again save the city of Gotham. My slightly less theatrical bat signal came in the form of a private message from my friend Stephanie at Freedom Song Wolf Rescue.

10726645_766054940121746_1459711085_nThe question seemed almost tentative and was followed quickly by a pleading-eyes photo. I could imagine Sarah McLachlan crooning in the background, “…in the arms of the angel.” I could even feel Stephanie holding her breath as she awaited my reply.

“You got room and willing to do it again?” She asked.

I understood her hesitation. It was just over a month ago that Jim and I welcomed Kainan, our resident wolfdog, as a permanent member of our family. Right after that yes-he-can-stay decision, Kainan started stealing everything. He developed a taste for sheetrock. He took it upon himself to join our rank amateur dogs in redesigning the landscape of our backyard.

Oh yes. I understood her hesitation all too well.

But one look at that photo and of course I agreed to go get this boy out of the shelter. I am admittedly an easy mark. We agreed that I would spring him from the shelter, get him checked over by my veterinarian, and then house him for a few days until I could deliver him to Stephanie’s house.

On the following Thursday, after his required 72 hour holding period had expired, I made the 30 minute drive to the Owasso animal shelter to liberate our new temporary (picture that word chiseled in stone) boy. The shelter staff…who first reported that it was a female wolfdog and later changed that report to “oh, wait, it’s a male,” (ummm…so girls have…and boys have…yeah) had told us that the wolfdog was thin and very frightened. I was not worried. I have always had good mojo with shy/frightened dogs.

When they first brought him out to me, I could tell that he was nervous and unsure…you know, the old “what the hell now” expression clouding his expression. I sat down in a chair, not directly facing him, and within a few moments, he carefully sniffed me and decided that I might be OK. Considering that at any given moment I probably have the scent of no fewer than 25 dogs wafting around me like the dust cloud that follows Charlie Brown’s buddy Pigpen, I have to believe I’m a tad appealing.

As I helped WD2 into my Jeep I will admit to a tiny “what have I gotten myself into now” moment. Another wolfdog in the house? With all of my dogs? With Kainan? Well, hello hindsight, my taunting friend. You’d think I’d learn, but hey, planning things in advance can be so crazy overrated, right?

First stop with WD2 was a visit to my dear veterinarian friends who have basically grown numb to me walking through their doors, unannounced, with yet another dog or critter, domestic or otherwise, in need of their attention. I believe I even heard one of the staff members close a phone conversation by saying, “I have to go. Gallimore just walked in with another wolf.”

I think I’m becoming a bit too predictable.

WD2 was nervous, but behaved well as Dr. Henson gave him an exam. I remember one moment when the good doctor, who was crouched down directly in front of WD2’s muzzle, said, “Do you think he’ll tolerate a blood draw for his heartworm test?”

“Uh. Sure?”

I’m fairly certain my wishy-washy answer did not give Dr. Henson the rush of confidence he hoped for, but we had one great tool on our side. WD2 was thin and really hungry. I held a piece of food for him to nibble while Dr. Henson aided by Chris, the fearless veterinary technician, quickly drew a small amount of blood from WD2’s front leg. He never knew what hit him.

One hurdle down, it was time to head home and get this guy into the house. By myself. With 20-someodd other dogs vying to be the first to sniff his nether regions. Yay.

In just the span of time we were in the car together, I was already seeing some differences between WD2 and Kainan. They were equally wolf-like in appearance, but behaviorally, Kainan had always been pretty easy going. This might have had something to do with the fact that, at just 38 pounds when we initially rescued him, he was nearly starved to death and very weak. But even with more than 30 pounds gained (and still gaining!), he was still a relatively placid, albeit more playful, boy.

20141018_104434WD2 wasn’t in much better shape at 46 pounds, but he was different. He paced the back of my Jeep. He tried to dig into the floor. He wanted to climb into the front seat. He wanted to climb into my lap. He tried to “borrow” my purse. He immediately started chewing on the tarp that covered the floor of the cargo area (the tarp in place because I learned the hard way that some newly rescued dogs do unspeakable things in the back of your vehicle. The very hard way. )

It was a drive home that required me to watch the road and the rear view mirror in equal parts. Of course I knew that WD2 was stressed, so it was not fair to judge him too quickly, but still, there was just something that felt very different to me about this wolfdog. The old gut instinct was waving a red flag. It wasn’t a fearful feeling, but maybe a feeling that this guy was more of a handful than my sweet Kainan.

More of a handful? Those words struck terror into my heart. While we loved having Kainan as part of our family, living with him had not exactly been a walk in the park. His curiosity, mischievous nature, and propensity for kleptomania required constant supervision. I could not imagine Kainan squared. I could imagine the policeman being interviewed on the evening news, “We’re really not sure what happened. It appears that the house was somehow chewed down from the inside out. We found the human residents just sitting in a corner rocking and babbling nonsense.”

I did arrive home safely and managed to get WD2 into one of the indoor/outdoor runs in my dog room. As my herd of anything-but-subtle dogs flooded in to check out the newcomer on the other side of the fence, he displayed classic, wimpy wolf behavior. If you have read some of my previous posts, I mentioned that wolfdogs are not brave or confrontational. Beyond their impressive appearance, they make terrible watch dogs.

True to his wolf heritage, when confronted at the fence, WD2 pressed himself into the back corner, immediately sat, kept his muzzle pressed down to his chest, and bared his teeth—not in a menacing growl, but in a submissive grin. All of these behaviors were a clear message to the resident canines: Please, oh please don’t kill me.

Then Kainan came in. He stood very still and erect as he stared at the newcomer. Long lost brother? Grand reunion? Well, initially Kainan seemed kind of excited to see WD2. Excited until the moment I went in the dog run to sit with and sooth my new foster wolfdog. For the first time in our relationship I heard Kainan issue some low grumbles at the fence. Awww…he didn’t want to share his she-human with another wolfdog (come on…just let me have this one).

WD2 started to relax and began sniffing noses with the other dogs and the nose-out-of-joint Kainan.  I believe WD2 really wanted to come out to engage in a rowdier-than-I-was-ready-for play session with some of my dogs. There was play posturing at the fence, but Jim and I decided that since this was just a short stay (seeeeee…we don’t keep them all!), it might be best to just keep everyone separated.

2014-10-23 14.16.19WD2 continued to show me that he might have a bit more wolf attitude in the wolf to dog ratio than I was prepared to handle. I watched him as he tested every part of the fence in his run. I watched him nose the gate latch to see if he might be able to open it. I watched him look up to the top of the six foot fence and I immediately wondered if I would be running out to buy material to add a secure top to his run.

At feeding time, as I entered his pen, WD2…every bit as hungry as Kainan always was/is…immediately stood on his hind legs, putting him easily at eye level with 5’9” me, wrapped a front leg firmly around my shoulder, and, in this secure tango hold, proceeded to grab at the food in the bowl. Nothing about this was threatening to me personally, but he was being very rude. Food spilling everywhere, I wriggled free from his unwelcome embrace and backed out of the run to regroup.

Wow.

I forgave some of this behavior. WD2 had experienced a hard week with lots of change, so stress and starvation undoubtedly played into his overly enthusiastic attitude at mealtime.

But still. There was just something different about this animal. Maybe that word was the key: animal. WD2 seemed more primal than Kainan—a bit more flighty and unpredictable. I never felt he was dangerous, but I certainly believed he could be a great challenge to live with and to keep safely contained.

20141018_104256On the following Saturday, I made the drive to Jones, Oklahoma with WD2 actually relaxing in the back of my Jeep. He was a very good boy for the drive there and when we arrived at his new foster home we were greeted by a chorus of howls from the other residents of Freedom Song Wolf Rescue. It was a beautiful serenade, though it put WD2 a bit on edge.

Stephanie, her daughter, and their young wolfdog Yuma welcomed us. Again, unlike the very gregarious Kainan, WD2 was a bit hesitant during the introductions and took a few moments to warm up. Once he seemed comfortable with his new human friends, I hopped back in my Jeep, happy in the knowledge that I had played a part in saving this beautiful boy, but happier still that he was now someone else’s beautiful boy.

During the 90 minute drive home, I had time to think about my expanding knowledge of wolfdogs. This brief time with two wolfdogs in my care provided some very clear lessons that confirmed everything I have read as well as what I have been told by my Freedom Song friends. First, temperaments in wolfdogs vary greatly. Some—like Kainan—are very tractable and can make wonderful companions, while some display more classic wolf behavior.

Second, had WD2 come into our lives BK (before Kainan), I doubt there would be a wolfdog living in our midst. Though he was sweet, based on our brief relationship, I did not feel I could have successfully integrated WD2 into our home. Third, and perhaps most important, WD2 taught me that we truly won the wolfdog lottery with Kainan…he is smart, affectionate, a wonderful companion, and a great ambassador for his kind.

Of course, as I see him dart out the dog door with something red in his mouth, I am reminded that his lovely disposition doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges.  Ah, and now Jim is yelling something about a favorite shirt. Uh oh. Time to run. Literally.

Heeeeere wolfdog. Gooooood wolfdog. (Really. Good wolfdog.)

2014-10-23 18.03.55

Kainan and our Australian cattle dog, Boog. An easy, welcome fit into our home.

Wolfdog in the House: My, What Big Feet You Have

Kainan 9 14 14As I stand in the dog room waiting for Kainan to throw up, I have a little time to study his conformation. Oh yes, you read that right. I’m waiting for Kainan to throw up.

Don’t worry, he’s not sick. He’s sneaky…and a thief…and he just stole and swallowed half a bag of large marshmallows…bag and all. Sigh. Mr. Look-what-I-can-do strikes again.

How he reached the marshmallows from their position on our very high, very deep kitchen island is beyond me, but that seals it. There is nothing in this house our wolfdog can’t reach. NOTHING.

Anyhow, as with all stolen items, Kainan raced into the yard with his sugary, fluffy prize. Of course the flap-flap of the dog door inspired our other dogs to give chase, and the chase inspired Kainan to swallow his prize whole, instead of possibly being forced to share it.

And that, my friends is how we arrive at this pre-vomitus moment. Jim and I decided that a potential intestinal obstruction would be a bad thing. A few doses of hydrogen peroxide should do the trick. Yep, he’s drooling and making that funny smiley face that always precedes the “gulping head bob” portion of the about-to-toss show.

A rough price to pay, Kainan…have you learned your lesson? I doubt it. What you likely learned is that you should not get caught when you snag a forbidden prize in the house.

With a little “wait-for-it” time on my hands, I took the opportunity to study Kainan and wonder just how much wolf our wolfie guy is. When we look at him, it’s easy to see that he is part wolf. The physical characteristics are there…but it’s also obvious that he is a mix of parts. Let’s review.

Following are some wolf characteristics I found courtesy of Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary’s website. Let’s see how Kainan stacks up.

  • Wolves’ nails are darkly colored.Wolves do not have clear or pink nails like some domestic dogs do.

10551488_10204877036749359_4110038824873177390_oCheck. All black toenails…figures I’d end up with a teenager who is into the Goth lifestyle. And his nails are sturdy, he is already excavating a new storm shelter in the yard.

  • Wolves do not have blue eyes, this is a domestic dog trait only.

Check. Beautiful, light, golden brown eyes that make all the bitches’ hearts go flutter.

  • Wolves have highly slanted almond shaped eyes with heavy dark eye lining.

Good natural eyeliner. I’m jealous. Almond shaped, yes, but perhaps not as extreme as a wolf’s eyes would be. A little domestic dog showing through there?

  • Wolves have extra large feet, with two protruding front toes. Not smaller, rounded feet like domestic dogs.

Check. His nickname could be Bigfoot. And yes, those front toes do protrude. He could easily wear cowboy boots. He’s a good Oklahoma wolfdog.

  • received_m_mid_1409405286251_621389b0b728bf7396_0Wolves will not have sharply defined white tail tips like many domestic dogs. Most often wolves will have black tail tips.

Check. Looks like he dipped it in a bucket of black paint.

  • Wolves have a caudal mark/scent gland, often called the precaudal gland, (a dark spot positioned a few inches down from the base of the tail)

Well looky there. Check. Some breeds of domestic dogs will have this spot too, so don’t start eyeing your dog suspiciously if you see a black spot on his tail. The hair in this spot on Kainan’s tail is actually different from the rest of his fur. Interesting.

  • Wolves’ chests are very narrow causing their long legs to be close together ending in large feet that are splayed to the side. Shoulders & hips are narrow for faster acceleration.

Check, check, check. See Kainan, you should be proud of your scrawny chest and skinny butt. Someday, apparently after you gain control of those gangly legs, you should be able to run really, really fast. Chin up, big guy.

  • Wolves’ back legs have a significant cow hock (hocks turned in…basically knock-kneed in the rear) look to them when at a standstill.

Um. Yeah. Check. Back to that “scrawny is good” parenting stuff.

  • Wolves have a banded pattern of longer fur ticked with stiff black hairs that creates a v shape draped across their shoulders. This band of fur is called a dorsal cape.

Shadow wolfIt’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superwolfdog!  Yes, he has his cape. It’s really impressive if he raises his hackles. Nifty little sideways Mohawk hairstyle. Check.

  • When they walk, wolves’ tails will not curl up or over their backs like a dogs tail will. Wolves’ tails are extremely straight.

Ok, Half a check. Kainan’s tail does hang straight down most of the time, but if he gets silly he can ring that sucker up over his back in a flash. This is one of the areas where he deviates from his wolf heritage a bit. There appears to be some Husky/Malamute influence popping out from time to time…and yes, we may have proof of that. I’ll explain that in just a bit.

  • Wolves can have many vocalizations, but do not bark like the typical domestic dog does.

So true. He woo-woos, he garumphs, he howls, but he doesn’t bark.

  • Male wolves testicles will be peanut sized all year round (and not fertile) until a period once a year in the winter months that correspond with a female wolf’s estrus. After mating the testicles will shrink down again so as to be barely noticeable, unlike a male domestic dog whose testicles remain the same size all year.

Well, now isn’t this embarrassing for Kainan? And, as I have learned from another blogger friend’s experience, isn’t this blog entry going to accidentally attract a whole new class of readers through the “search” option? Sorry to disappoint, new readers…it’s not what you think. No porn here, just peanuts. And yes, check. Our soon-to-be-huge wolfdog has little nuts for nuts. Sorry Kainan. Hope that doesn’t scar you for life. (Kudos to me…I refrained from adding photographic evidence here.)

  • Wolves have smaller, rounder, thicker, well-furred ears, not larger, thinner, or pointier ears like German Shepherds.

(Insert game show buzzer sound here) Major non-wolf characteristic on the wolfdog checklist. Kainan has lovely, the-better-to-hear-you-with ears that are larger, pointier and a bit less fuzzy than a wolf’s ears would be.

All-in-all, and despite knowing nothing about our foundling’s parents, it is easy to surmise that one of his parents was closely in touch with his wilder roots. But we also know there’s some good old dog in there too. Thanks to the miracle of science, we actually do know that now.

You see, we did a little DNA test on our wolfdog friend. Now, keep in mind, the test clearly states that it is not designed to detect wolf or coyote content, and it’s not likely 100% accurate as it is a home administered test,  but we thought it would be fun to see what dog breeds the Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel DNA kit might reveal.

The Wisdom Panel home kit claims to identify 200 breeds and varieties of dogs including all breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). The Wisdom Panel Professional (a blood test available through veterinarians) recognizes more than 235 breeds, types and varieties, also including all AKC breeds. A complete list of the breeds in each test’s database can be found on the Wisdom Panel website.

It’s an easy little test…you just use two special swaps to gather a little sample from the inside of your dog’s cheek. It’s thankfully not too annoying; it takes just 15 seconds per swab. Dogs seem to tolerate that amount of time with relative good humor.

Our test was conducted and shipped off about three weeks ago. Today, the results are online and…drum-roll…Kainan is likely a mix of Malamute, husky, and stump-the-DNA-testers.

One of Kainan’s parents, according to the test results, appears to have been a mix of primarily malamute and husky. The other parent, well, I bet the fine scientists at Wisdom Panel are still scratching their heads a bit. They tossed some “could be” breeds out there in the notes section of the results, but our bet is that that other parent was a gray wolf or at least high percentage wolf—a species that their test is not designed to detect.

Yeah, we knew that going in. We just wanted to screw with them. Jim and I are fun that way.

So we now have confirmation that our growing larger by the day, comical, in-touch-with-his-canis-lupus-roots pal is likely part husky/malamute, and…wait for it…wait for it…there it is! Part barfing wolf.

20140930_093441revYep, there are those damn marshmallows. Still intact in their fluffy goodness. Still perfectly encased in their plastic wrapper. You know, I could almost…well, no. That would just be gross.

Oh, wolf/malamute/husky dog. Perfectly good marshmallows are now in the trash. And you know, all you had to do was ask. I’d have happily shared them with you, dear boy.