With the loss of Tonka, WO.L.F. needed to find a companion for JJ who lived with Tonka for the last year of his life. Rescue staff scoured the country to look for a suitable companion for JJ and to find an animal who was in desperate need of rescue. The search came to a successful conclusion when W.O.L.F. received a call from a rescue colleague at Wolf Haven International in Tenino, Washington. The call was a plea for help for a young male wolf dog named Dakota.
Dakota had been seized as part of a criminal case and was placed in a shelter in Olympia, Washington in January 2018. By August, the young wolf dog was still sitting in the same small kennel with limited human contact and no outside time or animal companionship. He desperately needed to find a placement that would suit a young wolf dog who required exercise, a proper raw diet and the companionship of another animal. When W.O.L.F.’s staff heard about Dakota, they were very concerned about his physical and mental health because of his long confinement. W.O.L.F. made the decision to rescue Dakota who could be an ideal companion for JJ, who was shy and lonely.
The rescue team was assembled and included the Director of Animal Care, the Director of W.OL.F. Facilities and a W.O.L.F. Board member who had a great deal of animal experience. In mid-September, the team took a late flight to Seattle, rented a transport van and made the drive to Olympia, Washington. After a brief night’s rest, the team went to the shelter in Olympia and met with Dakota. He was a friendly boy who really wanted to make friends and begin his new life. His human friends at the Shelter gathered to say goodbye and wished him Godspeed on his long journey.
The transport team easily loaded Dakota into a crate and then into the transport van. They were off on a 19-hour drive from Olympia, Washington to Wellington, CO where Dakota would have a full veterinary examination and his neuter surgery. He was a great traveler. He slept, ate snacks and was curious about his surroundings.
Oftentimes, part of getting a new home at W.O.L.F. may also include getting a new name to celebrate a new life. After receiving numerous suggestions from W.O.L.F.’s social media followers, the young wolf dog was renamed Takoda. It means “friend to everyone” which is so fitting for the new boy. He is very social and friendly, and he enjoys meeting new people and getting lots of attention.
After Takoda had a full veterinarian examination and neuter surgery, he was ready for the final leg of his journey. He made the short drive to the Sanctuary and was placed in his new home with his new companion JJ. The two had a slow introduction. Takoda spent his first night in his new habitat separated from JJ by an internal fence. Once the two were formally introduced, they quickly began to bond despite the fact that Takoda is 18 months old and JJ is 14 years old.
They have a perfect May/December romance. JJ has a new lease on life. She has been very reclusive and introverted since she lost her original companion Odin. Her relationship with Tonka, her most recent companion, was similar to roommates without a strong connection. Since Tonka’s death, JJ retreated even further into solitude. Staff and volunteers rarely saw her except at the very top of her enclosure. She was never an animal who enjoyed much human contact, but she became more isolated after Tonka’s death.
Takoda changed all of that. He is young, handsome and very energetic. He loves to be adored by JJ and by his new human family. Takoda and JJ are together most of the time. JJ now comes to the bottom of the enclosure to spend time with Takoda. They walk together and play together every day. JJ is much more involved in life, and she is totally smitten with Takoda. She follows him and stays close by his side. For his part, Takoda who spent nine months alone in a shelter kennel with very little human contact and no animal contact, his new life is pure joy. Takoda has stolen little JJ’s heart as she has stolen his. It is remarkable to watch the bond develop and grow. The relationship has given JJ a great renaissance of the spirit. Takoda now has the companionship and a strong emotional bond that was absent from his life in a shelter.