Maureen O'Nell found out about the roadside zoo, Wolf Country USA, on her first day as the executive director of the Alaska SPCA, reports The Dodo. The attraction featured wolves and wolf-hybrids chained to metal poles all year long. They paced aimlessly in circles, and tourists paid to take photos or feed them.
But, a new regulation made it illegal to own or sell wolves or any hybrid in the state of Alaska, meaning that Wolf Country was shut down, and O'Nell had to figure out what to do with all the animals who could no longer stay in the state.While it was a win for animal rights activists, panic set in as she had to decide where to put the 29 wolves and wolf-dogs removed from the zoo. The wolves were neutered and crated and sent to California to live at a certified sanctuary.Two of the wolves in the group were brothers, Chance and Koda, who were less than two years old. They had spent their whole lives being able to see each other, but never getting close enough to touch because of their chains.
The Lockwood Animal Rescue Centertook in many of the animals, but were not able to welcome them all. Thankfully, another organization called Wolf Connectionlocated outside of Los Angeles was able to step in.It is a youth empowerment organization which uses wolves and wolf-dogs to build self-esteem and a connection to nature for troubled young people. They take wolf-dogs who cannot be reintroduced into the wild and train them to be service animals for their programs.
When Renee Alfero went to visit the wolves to decide which to take in, two stoodout immediately. She described the first meeting:
Chance and Koda were instantly scent rubbing and snuggling into us and allowing us to touch them — we knew in that moment that they were the two that we were taking.
The two brothers were finally able to interact with each other, and they formed an amazing bond. Chance, the older one, took on the dominant position, and Koda, became the submissive member of their little pack.However, both wolves suffered from PTSD from their time at the roadside attraction. They hated leashes and shovels for starters. Any time they would get stressed they would start pacing in circles like they did in Alaska.Slowly, thanks to the amazing team at Wolf Connection, they started to overcome their traumatic past and were even able to wear leashes.
Soon, though, Chance got some bad news. He went for a routine check up only to find out he had a tumor on his colon, and he was given two months to live.This heartbreaking prognosis made the team jump into action. Chase started going for radiation treatment five days a week and was given extra attention back at the sanctuary.They were worried at first that in his weakened state, Koda would take over as the more dominant brother, which would upset Chance and most likely worsen his condition. They started by keeping them apart, but when they finally did let them see each other, they were shocked to witnessthe younger brothergoing to extra efforts to be submissive.
Giulia Cappelli, another member of the Wolf Connection team spoke on the subject:
As hard as Chance worked to remain dominant, Koda was also making a great effort to remain submissive. This continues to baffle us and at times brings us to tears at how bonded they are to keeping their loving relationship just as it is. And we may never understand why.
Even more impressive is that Chance has outlived his diagnosis by over eight months. The radiation was more to ease the sick wolf's pains more than anything, but he has surpassed all expectations with just holistic healing and care.The center uses the duo to inspire young people with troubled pasts to find and break the chains that hold them back in life like the chains that held back Chance and Koda.To donate to their care, click here.