Friday necessitated my going to Ohio for the day. I offered, on the way home, to help transport two wolfdogs from a temporary home in OH, to their new foster home in PA. The story of the journey itself, while mildly interesting (How it Took M. 7 Hours to Drive a Mere 150 Miles), is unimportant at the moment. Suffice to say that if I ever consider such a journey in the future, it will definitely be on very different terms, MY terms.
I knew/know very little about wolfdogs. Intuitively, I’ve always had this sense that such breeding between species may not necessarily be the best idea. Now that I’ve done a bit of retrospective research, I am very conflicted about having participated in this rescue endeavor, conflicted for a few reasons:
• At the OH home, the wolfdogs lived in an outdoor kennel (talk about filthy dogs! my car is still stinky!). At the PA foster home, they are going to a person who has little if any experience with this type of animal, who has 2 small-ish children and a puppy; the dogs will most likely live in a basement room and the new caretaker will not have the time or the resources to handle/socialize them as they will need in order to be adopted. Have I unknowingly helped to trade one *bad* home for another? Has this actually been the best thing for these two dogs? I am not sure I would have done this if I’d known what I do now.
• Is there any real reason, any real benefit, to breeding wolfdogs in the first place? By “benefit” I mean, does this practice make things better for the individual or collective animals themselves? They are, essentially, neither wolf nor dog, stuck somewhere in the middle, uncomfortably and unwillingly straddling those two worlds. It seems that any reason one could offer up for doing this would just reinforce my developing belief that this is done only for selfish, purely human reasons. The kind of home environment all the resources indicate wolfdogs need, does not seem like it would give any of them the quality of life they deserve. Then again, this same issue could be raised for any number of *exotic pets*. This seems to get back to the issue L. and i were discussing a while back, about when and to what extent can/should humans intervene/meddle with Nature?
• What does it mean that I am bothered by say, keeping a bengal tiger as a “pet,” but conversely, I am not bothered by say, keeping an “exotic” reptile (provided it’s captive bred) as a “pet”? Hypocritical? Am I assigning some hierarchy of importance/meaning to particular animals’ existences based on some overtly subjective, personal criteria?
I am seriously grappling with the ethics of this whole thing.
It did occur to me on Friday that spending the little time I did with those animals, is perhaps the closest I will ever come to being truly near the wild wolf.