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Sanctuary for wolfdogs


Just listening to the howls of a wolfdog echo through the hills near Williamsburg in southeastern Kentucky, it’s easy to see that these dogs might not be suited for living in the typical neighborhood.

That’s where Refuge Ridge comes in. The complex, served by Cumberland Valley RECC, is the state’s only facility devoted exclusively to taking in and caring for this type of dog. The rescue currently has 16 wolfdogs, some that have come from as far as Texas.

As the name implies, a wolfdog is the offspring of a wolf and a domesticated dog. And while it’s easy to find places that breed and sell these animals, Rescue Ridge founder Marty Wilson says people often discover the difficulty in caring for them.

“You don’t know what you’re getting,” says Wilson. “They are very intelligent, wicked smart, but they are always into everything and they can’t always be trained to be obedient like a typical dog.”

The rescue also offers educational experiences for children and adults who want ato learn more about these animals. The 501(c)(3) organization depends on tax-deductible donations, as it can take up to $100 a day to feed an adult wolfdog.

It is a labor of love for Wilson and her crew of volunteers. The howling, which can be constant during the night, wolfdogs can be wary and standoffish. But Connie Howard, who lives at the rescue and cares for the animals, says despite the challenges, she loves every minute.

“They are finicky, but they are sweet dogs,” says Howard. “That ‘Big Bad Wolf’ image is just a myth.”


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