Every dog can have a vastly different demeanor from the next, which means rescuing them requires being prepared for anything. With no information about their backgrounds, there’s often no telling what you’ll discover. This is something the animal rescuers of the Los Angeles-based Apex Protection Project understand all too well.
When they were recently called to a local park to track down an abandoned dog, they couldn’t be sure what they were in for. It was clear that he was unwell, but when they brought him in for help, they realized he wasn’t quite what they thought he was…
When animal rescuers from Apex Protection Project were alerted to an abandoned dog in a Los Angeles-area park, they knew they had to help. As each interaction with stray animals is different from the last, they approached the situation with delicate care.
As trained professionals, they knew all too well that they had to be careful. After all, without knowing information about any stray’s background, there was no telling how it would react to their presence. Nonetheless, it was their duty to find out.
They quickly realized this poor dog was in bad shape—his paws were so swollen he could barely move—and he clearly suffered from trust issues. But it wasn’t until they brought him to the local animal hospital that they discovered the most shocking truth of all…
When a veterinarian first examined the stray dog, who was under a year old, they noted that he was severely malnourished and underweight. He was also suffering fur loss resulting from parasites. Still, there was an even bigger discovery about him…
The dog, who was nicknamed “New Boy,” was actually a wolf-dog hybrid! Unfortunately, due to strict laws forbidding shelters from caring for wolves, he was going to require special treatment by staff from W.O.L.F. Sanctuary in Laporte, Colorado.
“W.O.L.F. received an urgent request for help [from] Apex Protection Project, one of our wolf rescue partners in California,” a spokesperson from the group said in a statement on their website. “There was a young wolf-dog in a shelter in Los Angeles County, California, who needed immediate rescue.”
Before boarding a plane to meet New Boy, they explained how integral it was for them to become involved. “He was [most likely slated for] euthanasia since wolf-dogs cannot be adopted out to the general public,” they explained.
Within 24 hours, the rescue team from W.O.L.F. had flown in to help New Boy. When the team’s veterinarian took a look at him, however, it was clear that his condition was worse than they’d anticipated. As a result, they decided to fly him back to Colorado for care.
When he arrived to the W.O.L.F. facility, it was clear New Boy was afraid of humans. Not only did he keep to himself, but he stayed in the corner every chance he could. While this broke their hearts, the staff was determined to help, and after a while, they slowly began to gain his trust.
They provided him with painkillers, antibiotics, and a medicinal bath. Before long, he was looking much healthier! Next, the staff felt it was time to give New Boy a proper name. Just like that, New Boy became Castiel!
“For those of you who watch the show Supernatural you’ll recognize the angel Castiel, who is resurrected over and over again,” the sanctuary wrote on Facebook, explaining why they picked the name. And at the pace he was recovering, it was proving to be a fitting moniker!
“Our Castiel is eating like crazy, showing some spark now that he has energy, and taking naps when necessary,” their post continued. “His paws are healing well and he’s starting to gain weight. And… he’s always ready for more food, despite the numerous feedings throughout the day.”
As Castiel became more open to letting the sanctuary staff provide his meals, the more he opened up to them in other ways, too. Before long, he even allowed volunteers to feed him by hand!
As Castiel’s social skills rapidly grew, so did his overall health. “His health is improving every day, and he’s stealing lots of hearts along the way!” the sanctuary reported happily.
When word of his rescue spread, many people wanted to see and meet the magnificent wolf-dog. “He was [even] visited by internationally-acclaimed sculptor and long-time W.O.L.F. supporter, Rosetta,” the sanctuary wrote.
Before long, Castiel was well enough to get some exercise at an off-site infirmary. “He’s doing so well. [Hopefully] we’ll be able to take him up to his forever home at the Sanctuary in a few days,” the staff at the W.O.L.F Sanctuary continued.
At that point, the staff noticed Castiel’s growing interest in interacting with other animals. “Our director had a number of dogs,” W.O.L.F. animal care director, Michelle Proulx, said. “The infirmary was located at her house and we noticed him getting really, really interested in [them].”
A few short days later, Castiel took his first steps at the W.O.L.F. Sanctuary proper. It was at that point that the staff decided it was important for him to have a friend onsite. That way, he could have someone to recover with…
“We knew he was starting to get lonely for canine companionship and wanted to find a companion for him,” Michelle said in an interview. She stressed how important it was for animals to have support in such a recovery.
In an effort to pair Castiel with a companion, the staff sought other sanctuaries looking to find forever homes. “We got a hit almost immediately. This is indicative of the problem that’s out there, that there’s so many of them in need of homes,” they said.
The wolf-dog was named Tenali, and she had originally been rescued in Iowa. After initially failing to find a forever home, she was placed under temporary foster care at The Grey Wolf, a Wisconsin-based sanctuary.
At three years old, Tenali was a little more mature than Castiel, but they had very similar backgrounds and personalities. This gave the staff high hopes that the two would form a tight bond.
When they were first introduced, the staff noticed Castiel seemed both shy and nervous. Yet, Tenali was full of energy and ready to mingle. Everyone felt that it was going to take some time for them to gel…
“Castiel was overwhelmed by his new companion and remained a bit aloof and reclusive,” the W.O.L.F. team reported on Facebook. Still, they planned to allow the animals to continue to interact, hoping they’d slowly become acclimated to each other.
“Tenali had very good instincts, and she gave Castiel the time he needed to feel comfortable with her. She explored her new enclosure, played in her water bucket, enjoyed her daily feeding, and eagerly visited with W.O.L.F. staff who often stopped by with treats,” the team wrote.
While the wolf-dogs’ friendship wasn’t off to the start that the W.O.L.F. staff initially anticipated, they were happy to see some progress. “After a couple of days, [Castiel] started to realize that she wasn’t going to hurt him,” Michelle explained.
At long last, the two wolf-dogs began to spend more and more time together. Castiel’s confidence was growing enough to really impress the sanctuary staff. Eventually, the two didn’t want to be apart!
While getting acclimated to a new environment is never easy, especially for animals with special backgrounds, the sanctuary staff was impressed with how Castiel and Tenali were utilizing each other’s company to adjust.
The staff couldn’t help but marvel at Castiel’s transformation in just about a month’s time. When they found him, he was skittish, malnourished, and all alone. But now, he’d found a companion in Tenali to help battle his past!
Luckily, people like those at the W.O.L.F. sanctuary have dedicated their lives to helping save animals from being euthanized. Otherwise, there’s no saying what would’ve become of Castiel. Thankfully, we don’t ever have to find out!
The work that sanctuaries like W.O.L.F. perform is so selfless and special. There’s no telling just how many lives they’ve saved by having a compassionate heart.
Share this incredible wolf-dog rescue with your friends below!