If you are coming to Calgary and are looking for something a little different to do, consider visiting the wolfdogs at Yamnuska Wolf Dog Sanctuary. This beautiful natural space just past Cochrane, AB is a lovely spot to be quiet and observe some truly content animals. I can’t stress enough how much this place embodies the “sanctuary” portion of its name, not just for the animals who live there, but for the people who visit.
The Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary houses many adorable wolf / dog mixes. These are animals who were bred as pets, but their owners quickly realized that they couldn’t handle the innate needs of their wolfdogs and the animals were surrendered, albeit some in very tragic cases. The Sanctuary does a fantastic job of educating the tour-goers who come to visit about the nature of wolfdogs and how we as humans have a larger obligation to the animals under our care. Pets shouldn’t be part of our fashion statements.
When we went, we took the Interactive Tour (a lovely birthday present to me from my husband!), and started by meeting with a few of the high-content wolfdogs (that is, wolfdogs that are higher in “wolf” content).
We were able to observe their skittish nature and learn about the misrepresentation of wolves in the media – they would much rather stay away from human contact. After delivering some treats and learning some facts about the physiology of wolves (gold eyes, long legs, and well-constructed paws), we made our way over to meet the low-content wolfdogs. The difference between the two was like night and day. The low-content wolfdogs were much more open to coming up and grabbing a treat from our hands, getting a little pet in on their chests, and generally sniffing around with as much curiosity about us as we had about them.
The Sanctuary is the only of its kind in Canada, and one of only a handful in North America. With so few options for re-homing many of these animals, you can imagine how many of their stories end. The tours offered by the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary help them keep doing what they do, all the while you get to observe beautiful animals and learn a little in the process.