New Jersey wolfdog sanctuary offers rescue, rehabilitation and big, furry hugs

John McDevitt
July 08, 2019 - 4:00 am
Wolf dogs from the Howling Woods Farm sanctuary in Jackson, New Jersey.

John McDevitt/KYW Newsradio

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JACKSON, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — They're called wolfdogs, pets that are part wolf and part dog. Unfortunately, some can be too much for people to handle, and many wolfdogs are abandoned or killed, or — if they are lucky enough — they end up at a sanctuary like Howling Woods Farm in New Jersey.

Howling Woods Farm prides itself on rescuing wolfdogs from across the country.

"We rehabilitate them, and what we do is we socialize them, get them to trust people again," handler Colleen Case told KYW Newsradio, "because some of them come from horrific pasts and situations."

Case works with many of the rescued animals and gives guided tours of the Garden State sanctuary.

"Our mission is to break all of the myths surrounding the species of the gray wolf, wolfdogs, and to basically tell people that these animals are facing horrible fates," she said. "Wolfdogs that end up in shelters often get euthanized. So our mission is to rescue them, rehabilitate them."

Wolf dogs from the Howling Woods Farm sanctuary in Jackson, New Jersey.
John McDevitt/KYW Newsradio

Asked if they're a handful, Case said yes. 

"They are not like any dog you ever owned," she said. "They are highly intelligent. You never want to underestimate them. And the more wolf that is in them, they are not going to want to be in your house. They are not couch potatoes."

Pointing out one of the animals, Case said, "Here we have Samson, who is our low-content wolfdog. He was also was the star in the Disney movie ‘The Sorcerer's Apprentice’ in 2010."

Currently, the sanctuary houses 18 wolfdogs, some of which are ambassadors. When a human enters their pen, the wolf dogs want you to hug them. 

"So, this is why we call this the cuddle pen," she said. "They just want all of the attention they can get from a person."

Visitors can get up close and personal with about eight of the animals.

To learn more about the organization, go to HowlingWoods.org.