Living with Wolfdogs – By John

Thanks to John for the following post and photos. John lives in Greece and has rescued and rehabilitated his beautiful Wolfdog; Kala.

“This image of kala was taken on day two in our home. She looks at ease and happy, but it belies a truth, one yet to be discovered, one we would have to find a solution for…..

kala 1

just minutes after I had taken this image, the sun moved in the west and cast a shadow on the  studio wall – she noticed  the shadow, leapt into the air  and jumped terrified down a two metre terrace wall  pulling me head first after her. She does not understand shadows -she may never understand. Inside the studio we block all shadows where possible.

Kala was rescued from almost certain death at the hands of fearful villagers  by “Samos Care” . Very little  was know about her or the ill treatment she suffered or by whose hand. It was quite clear  after the first week that to rehabilitate her would take time. Linked to observation , we figured a minimum of two years -but first we would have  to provide a transition period from the past  to  the here and now and settle her  in her new home. During this time she would reveal to us her misfortune, for example she was used to a lead,  but would crouch submissively  on the ground ,shook as we clipped the lead on -waiting it seemed to be beaten. Same with the food, she would not stand  to eat or go to her food bowl alone, she waited for the lead to be clipped and led; again the fear of being beaten was in her eyes. If the metal part of the lead touched the bowl, the sound would cause panic, her mind overwhelmed by the world around her. We took it slowly, changing her key not overlaying one program with another. When she crouched for the lead I would walk on, she run away to hide. It might take thirty minutes or more for her to return, cowled waiting to be beaten.  I would say ‘Bravo Kala’ , kiss her on the mouth, these kisses were very important ,reassuring her  with her own language.  The food bowl we wrapped in cloth, my partner sat next to her,quietly removing the lead. A year on she comes to the lead and stands, now its  a kiss from her as she waits. The issues with the food bowl have passed, but her list of fears associated to abuse or imprisonment are endless , our approach with solving these fears, is when she is ready, not forced.

Kala is a beautiful tender wolfdog, at times you can see the past in her eyes -its heart  wrenching. We have two rescued dogs we are  working with, they  have a very strong bond -both centered on my partner. Kala  has some delightful eccentricities, she stands alongside the shepherd  and when he is not looking steals his bone, trots of  looking around to see if she is observed; digs a hole, buries it ,camouflaging the hole with leaves and twigs – when the shepard  see’s her doing this he wags his tail -as though finding it amusing”

kala john 3kala john 2

4 Replies to “Living with Wolfdogs – By John”

  1. good morning Stephanie -thank you , three things – i keep a flock of [ endangered specie] chickens -they are intelligent and amusing with a 27 word language – live to they are 38-years old.last week a hen produced 4 chicks but unknown to me another hen crept of and his and emerged with seven chicks i had to speed build a enclosure pen this morning along with sulphuring the grapes the powered gets in the eyes and burns for thirty-six hours when in contacted with light – but i looked up to see the falcons had returned they stay for three weeks in june each year fifteen birds of prey hunting together around the studio and close by hill -its an amazing sight-

    lastly the shadows ,i have meaning to say this to you -when you mentioned your wolf dog and shadows in conjunction with kala’s. fear ,i instantly grasped it was nothing to do with kala’s confinement -because of my work and my light sensitive eyes i understand how shadows work in relationship to objects -what i am considering -that both dogs were in the first days of life -picked up and brought close to someones chest -this would form the overarching shadow we spoke of -a change in light registering on their closed eyelids -combined with a change of smell and sound -dog-mother to human – kala’s fear of shadows is increased by the sum total of fears in her –

  2. it is a sad story, but also a typical story of this entire region -there are many which are much worse
    in regards to dogs -there is a dutch couple at Samos care who are truly heroic in rescuing and caring for dogs -they took a beat up facility without electricity -and over eight years turned into something special for the dogs with a modern operating room – young people come from all over europe -and they like the dutch are all unpaid -love is their motivation –

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