You don't know what you don't know. And until today, I had been blissfully ignorant of the potential dangers associated with raising a hybrid canine. This is because growing up, our family raised a wolf-dog who was half red wolf-half German Shepard. After a disturbing deep dive into the subject, I have a newfound appreciation for how lucky we were to have had a hybrid as wonderful as our dearly departed Gyver.
Gyver was our gentle giant. Birds would land on him while he basked in the sunshine and he wouldn't so much as flinch. He was my mother's shadow and he adored my siblings and me. By all measures, he was the quintessential definition of "man's best friend." But now I know that some hybrids are far more in tune with their wild side; a sobering fact one Idaho family will never forget. It's with great respect and heartfelt humility for the loss they endured that I'll never own another hybrid canine.
The Tragedy of Baby Harry
One-year-old Andre "Harry" Thomas, the son of Raul Lopez and Starla Thomas, was mauled by the family's wolf-dog on April 27, 2003 between 12:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. Baby Harry was later pronounced dead at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise. Boise Police reported the 13-month-old had been bitten "hundreds" of times and suffered a fatal tear to his jugular vein. Police determined no foul play had occurred, but noted the wolf-dog had bitten a seven-year-old boy six months prior. Despite additional factors at play that night, Boise Police ultimately declared the incident a freak accident. For more details concerning the life and death of Baby Harry, click here.
Domesticated Wolves v. Wild Wolves
With Gyver's pillow forts accounting for the extent of his unruly behavior, it's hard to imagine he'd end up on Idaho's list of restricted pets. Had we lived here, Idaho Fish & Game would've required us to obtain a license to own Gyver. IFG's reasoning boils down to safety and the protection of human life. Requiring Idahoans to obtain a wolf-dog license ensures citizens are adopting domesticated wolves, not wild ones. If a wolf-dog fails to demonstrate the characteristics of a domesticated, adaptable dog, IFG won't issue the license. But no matter how dog-like a wolf-dog seems, I'll never own another hybrid canine.