We’re firmly of the belief that all dogs are amazing and Yuki is no exception.
The giant wolfdog was abandoned by his owners at eight months old and left at a kill shelter, with no hope in sight.
To make matters worse, the dog also has a terminal type of cancer, and would likely have been put down had he remained at the shelter.
Luckily, Yuki was rescued by Shy Wolf Sanctuary in 2008 and will live out his final days in his forever home in Naples, Florida.
Brittany Allen, a team member at the animal sanctuary, which was founded in 2001, told Bored Panda that the giant dog is 87.5% gray wolf, 8.6% Siberian husky and 3.9% German Shepherd.
‘We rescued him from a failed house pet situation,’ she said.
‘Someone purchased him from a breeder and realized he was too much to handle. They dumped him at a kill shelter at eight months old.
‘We stepped in and provided a home for him and he has been with us ever since. They definitely are creatures that demand respect. It would be a much different encounter in the wild than what I do with these guys.
‘The animals I work with have never been in the wild and never will be, so they are more socialized. We show off their adorable moments in the hope of helping people identify with them at least and maybe change their fear response into a healthy respect through education.’
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Brittany also explained that wolfdogs can be hard to handle – given you never know which side (wolf or dog) will be most dominant.
‘Yuki isn’t necessarily more social vs. the pure wolves,’ she said.
‘We have pure wolves who will run away when they see new people because they are generally shy, curious animals. Yuki, however will run straight to a new person and if he doesn’t like them will become aggressive towards them.
‘With the pure wolves, once they know you and feel comfortable with you, they can be affectionate and loving but they will always be wolves – you can’t get in the way of them and their food, and you must respect their boundaries.
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‘They are both social with people they accept in their space, but they are very selective as well. This also applies to other wolf/wolfdog companions. They are very selective but when they bond it is pretty unique.’
So perhaps give the 120-pound dog a moment to suss you out, before you run up to him.
Despite his appearance, Yuki is one of the most popular dogs at the sanctuary.
One of the directors of Shy Wolf Sanctuary, Jeremy Albrecht, said: ‘Today, Yuki is one of the most interesting animals in the sanctuary. He is not an easy guy to get to know, but he does have a small number of volunteers he has bonded with.
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‘He has gained the nickname “Woowoo” because when he sees any of his chosen volunteers that is the noise he makes, beckoning that volunteer to come spend time with him.’
One of the sanctuary volunteers refers to Yuki’s inner circle as a ‘harem’.
‘Yuki is one of those animals that he lets you know if he wants you in his enclosure or not,’ said Judy.
‘He has a very small group of women that he allows in his enclosure called his “harem”.’
Yuki has suffered from health problems in the last few years, including an injury to his leg which required five surgeries to repair, as well as being diagnosed with a terminal illness last year.
Jeremy said: ‘He was diagnosed with cancer last year and unfortunately it is terminal.
‘We have dealt with this particular cancer before and ultimately you don’t really know how fast you caught it and how much time they have.
‘When the day comes that he starts showing symptoms we will, as we always do, make the right decisions for Yuki’s quality of life. Saying goodbye to one of our animals is always difficult for our staff and volunteers, and Yuki will be no different.
‘But it’s important to remember that while many of these animals have rough beginnings, their stories always have happy endings once they get to Shy Wolf Sanctuary.
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‘When their time with us is over the last thing they do is make room for our next rescue and happy ending.’