Angel and Zoe
Animal Stories from


Finding Sanctuary
April 2017

Angel and Zoe now live happily at Wolf Haven.

Angel is a female gray wolf who was purchased by a local breeder for the sole purpose of breeding. The owner was hoping to breed Angel to a male malamute and sell her offspring for profit. When after six years she failed to produce any pups for him, he decided he needed to “get rid of her” because she wasn’t making him any money. At the same time, the owner also had Zoe, a young female wolfdog and the runt of the litter of pups from another breeding female that he owned and exploited. Because Zoe was so small, the owner had been unable to sell her so she, too, had to go. The owner did not want to spend the money to have a veterinarian come and euthanize his animals, so he instead he was considering dispatching (shooting) them himself. Fortunately for Angel and Zoe, the breeder called us before taking that drastic and inhumane step.

rescued wolves
Zoe and her friend Hudson

This was not the first time the breeder had reached out to us. We were contacted in 2013 about a male wolf, Lakota, who was facing destruction due to aggression issues. Wolf Haven International ended up rescuing Lakota and he is now thriving in our sanctuary.

Sadly, the wolf and wolfdog pet trade is alive and well –not just here in Washington- but across the country. While many states (including Washington) have banned private ownership of pure wolves, in many places it is still legal to possess a wolfdog. And because breeders can fetch thousands of dollars per animal, it has given rise to unscrupulous, unethical, and irresponsible breeders. Many of these operations are not concerned with the welfare of the individual animals- they are seen merely as a source of revenue- so quality of life is often less than optimal.

zoe rescued wolf
Young Zoe

In the case of Angel and Zoe, they were housed in deplorable conditions. Zoe was in a tiny kennel with her mother, a pure wolf, and her father, a pure malamute. The three were confined to this tiny space 24 hours a day and aggression levels ran high, particularly during feeding time because food was scarce and each animal had to fight for food. Zoe and her mother fought repeatedly and one of the reasons the owner wanted to “get rid of” Zoe was because he feared she would be killed by her mother in a dominance dispute.

Similarly, Angel was housed in a tiny, filthy kennel that was only five feet high and walled in on three sides (the front had welded wire) and concrete flooring so it was dark all the time- much like a prison cell. Angel was housed with a male malamute* at the time of her rescue (though she had had other males over the years- one of whom she killed when he was introduced).
Safely removing animals from those types of situations is always challenging. Often the owners of these animals are suspicious of us to begin with so we walk a very fine line and are mindful not to say anything that could cause the owner to change his/her mind about allowing us to take their animals. Usually this means that regardless of what we see or hear, we bite our tongues and just focus on getting the animal(s) off the premises and safely to Wolf Haven.

After dozens of phone calls and several visits to the property, we were able to safely remove Angel and Zoe from that dismal situation. Here at Wolf Haven we have provided them with a life that allows them to flourish in their own way.

They each have large, outdoor, naturally vegetated enclosures, complete with grass and large trees- which neither Angel nor Zoe had ever experienced before. How tragic that at six years of age, Angel had never felt grass beneath her feet? They are fed a well-balanced diet of whole foods and both have slowly returned to a healthy weight (both were severely underweight at the time of their rescue). They have been introduced to male companions with whom they are now well bonded and most importantly, they are treated with the dignity, care and respect they so deserve.

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