Dogs are a part of many people’s lives, providing protection, loyalty, and friendship. If you can’t resist petting a dog, you know how hard it is to resist petting a puppy! This story is about a puppy someone brought home that looked like a dog, but turned out to be something else entirely! Read on to find out what happened to this animal.
An 18-year-old college student from Tucson, Arizona, found a puppy in a shopping cart in a parking lot. He asked his parents if he could keep that animal. Little did they know that the animal wasn’t a dog. They said yes.
The student’s parents thought it would teach him responsibility to care for the animal, and besides — they loved dogs and wanted to rescue this one from a life on the streets of Tucson. Their son named the dog “Neo,” after the main character in The Matrix, a science-fiction movie.
Neo wasn’t exactly well-behaved, and seemed more like a wild, feral dog than a puppy that needed a home. Neo went to the bathroom in the student’s care, and would not let anyone else pet him or give him affection. Neo wanted affection from the student all the time! He was extremely loyal.
Whenever the student was at school or work, Neo was beside himself waiting for him to come home. The son’s parents tried everything they could think of to convince Neo that they loved him, too, but Neo was having none of it!
Finally, the parents were forced to put Neo in the backyard, hoping he would enjoy running around and barking along the fence at the neighbors dogs.
Neo wasn’t a dog, though, so he didn’t do any of those things. What he did do was, escape! And escape often. Neo clearly didn’t like being penned up in the family’s backyard.
He constantly bothered the neighbors, digging savagely until he could get out under the fence, or jumping clean over it to get away. Neo’s actions weren’t normal for a well-trained dog, but they were normal for what he was.
The student and his family watched Neo as he grew up, sensing that something was a bit strange about the long lost puppy they’d rescued from a shopping cart. Neo wasn’t trying to make them angry, or harass the neighbors, but he sure didn’t act like a normal dog.
Neo continued his escape tricks, and was extremely athletic. The family thought he might have some German Shepherd in him. German Shepherds have long noses, large, upstanding ears, and long, bushy tails. They are also very athletic and like to race around and play. They are the second most popular dog breed in the AKC.
Neo’s favorite thing to do once he’d escaped the backyard was go visit the dogs next door, who just happened to be German Shepherds. Neo didn’t want attention from anyone except his master, unless it was another dog!
The German Shepherds next door were also fond of Neo, although their owners didn’t feel the same about him. They considered Neo a nuisance, and the two neighbors began to have problems. No one guessed why Neo behaved the way he did until later.
So that Neo didn’t run away, the neighbors were kind enough to bring him back to their house whenever they noticed that he’d escaped. They held him there until his master or the student’s parents came home.
No matter how nicely they treated him, Neo never wanted to make friends with them, and seemed to consider then the real nuisance. After all, they were wrecking his escape and socializing plans over and over. Neo lay on the floor or in the corner of the yard, eyeing them suspiciously when they tried to give him treats. Usually, he hid in the bathroom.
After Neo’s repeated escape attempts, the family had to try something else. They built an enormous, strong fence, that cost them a pretty penny in an effort to keep Neo in the backyard. Neo wasn’t fazed — he knew a challenge when he saw one! He began plotting escape.
Neo chewed through the fence, devastating his family and distressing the neighbors. His master couldn’t believe how strong his teeth and jaws were! Neo went directly to his pals’ house again, happily sniffing around them.
Unfortunately for Neo, the neighbors were done being patient. The next time he escaped, Neo was taken to the Humane Society of Southern Arizona. The family wanted Neo to get help, and their neighbors to get some advice on how to control their dog.
Neo stayed at shelter until his family came to pick him up. It was then that Maureen O’Nell ran into Neo in the shelter and realized something no one else had for Neo’s entire life.
O’Nell let the family know. “You know that’s not a dog, right?” she asked them when they appeared at the shelter. “That’s a wolf.” As realization dawned, O’Nell smiled patiently. They turned their eyes to Neo, and suddenly it all made sense.
Neo had the same markings as a wolf, was skinnier and more powerful than the average dog (even a German Shepherd), a rough coat, and distinctive amber eyes that glowed brightly at night.
Unfortunately, no one in Arizona can own a wolf unless they are Native American or have a special permit. The shelter couldn’t take Neo in to care for him without reporting him.
The family was heartbroken, so O’Nell found the Wolf Connection in California, a group who cared for wolves and wolf-hybrids. After his usual escape antics, Neo settled into the pack just fine, and is still there today.