Barking but true: How a Rottweiler became surrogate father to an abandoned wolf cub
A true love story unfolded at Kisma Preserve in Mt. Desert, Maine, USA. It all began when 2 young wolves were turned over to the sanctuary, when their owner who had intended to profit from them by using them to breed for wolf hybrids, decided they couldn't handle them. As Heather from the sanctuary described it, "It was thought they had been snatched from the wild for the purpose of breeding them with dogs to make hybrids - a big fad in America. It causes many problems, it's purely for a fad and people don't realize the difficulties of caring for these wild breeds. Then they either dump them or hand them over to us."
Gandalf, the male was only one, and Kahlani, the female was two, and it was thought they both were too young to have babies. Wolves in the wild do not breed until they are at least two years old. So it was a massive shock when Kahlani gave birth. The people at the sanctuary didn't even know that Gandalf had it in him and suddenly they had a little wolf pup on their hands. But the miraculous birth suddenly took a sad turn when because of her young age, Kahlani's maternal instincts failed to kick in and she ignored the new arrival. Also Gandalf didn't have a clue what to do and they were really concerned that he might hurt the pup who was named Beldaran.
In a desperate attempt to get the pup some maternal care, the sanctuary team placed Beldaran with another canine at the center - a tiny Yorkshire Terrier, named Mia,who had just finished raising her own litter and was still lactating. But the Yorkie wasn't interested either and made every effort to avoid the pup that was being pushed on her. But all was not lost yet because that's when Ulrok stepped up to help out.
Ulrok was a fully grown Rottweiler who at 18 months old weighed in at 150lbs. Ulrok was a rescue dog whose previous owners had imported him from Europe and gave him up when they decided they couldn't cope with him. But ever since Beldaran's arrival, Ulrok had been trying to get involved in everything with the wolf pup. He would clean her and when she would whimper he would bound over to make sure she was ok.
Ulrok had such a huge interest in her that they decided he would be their best option for Beldaran. They would bottle feed the wolf pup and Ulrok would be her companion and mother/paternal substitute. It worked out brilliantly, in fact they slept together, played in the sun and even howled at the moon in unison. The 'Mutt and Jeff' duo soon became a huge attraction at the sanctuary.
The staff also made the decision that once Beldaran was full size and could fend for herself, they would gradually introduce her to a group of adult wolves at the park to make sure she stayed all wolf and was not alienated from her own kind. But for the time being it was a perfect match. Dogs and wolves are very similar biologically and they both need strong social ties when they are developing.
They however also felt that the wolf pup's bond with Ulrok would always be there. After all their time together they would surely never forget each other. It was a true love story that had touched the hearts of everyone who visited the preserve. As Heather stated, "You just can't be in a bad mood when these two are around. It's impossible to look at them and not feel good."
Barking mad: Rottweiler Ulrok has become so close to wolf cub Beldarin they even howl in unison
Both are rescue animals and spend all of their time together at the reserve
Tough love: the wolf's new 'father' shows the youngster who is boss
Once Beldaran is full size and can fend for herself, Heather plans to gradually introduce her to a group of adult wolves at the park