Auburn veterinary clinic answers a call of the wild

By: Michelle Miller-Carl Journal News Editor
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An Auburn veterinary clinic was able to help one wild patient recently. Animal Spay and Neuter Clinic, a nonprofit clinic in Auburn, recently neutered a wolf for a nonprofit group. Shadow was placed in the care of United States Wolf Refuge in September after his Newark, Calif., owners lost their home to foreclosure. Although the group discourages owning wolves, it estimates more than 1 million wolves and wolf-dogs are kept as pets nationwide. The wolf refuge contacted Animal Spay and Neuter Clinic Manager Dede Shaw to see if she could provide a less expensive neuter for Shadow. Bill Chamberlain, director of operations for the United States Wolf Refuge based in Sparks, Nev., accompanied Shadow on the trip to Auburn. “It was most interesting. You could tell he’s wild,” Shaw said this week. “We had to move slow. He’s bonded with Bill, but the rest of the staff had to stay back and not get in the animal’s face. Who knows what he could possibly do.” Chamberlain said this week he couldn’t praise the clinic enough for performing the surgery in October. “From the moment we walked in to their follow-up contacts, we were made to feel that they were honored to be doing this surgery for us,” he said via e-mail. Chamberlain founded United States Wolf Refuge 24 years ago to educate the public on wolves as well as rescue unwanted wolves. The group sterilizes the animals to prevent accidental breeding, with the added benefit that it could lead to behavioral improvements, Chamberlain said. “There is serious pet overpopulation problem in this country,” he said. “There are never enough quality homes for the dogs that exist now, much less the highly specialized homes that wolves and wolf-dogs require. Spay/neuter is the best way to reduce this problem.” While Shadow is available for adoption, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to find a home with owners able to provide the kind of care a wolf needs. “He is a strong, very high-strung, very anxious animal,” Chamberlain said. “His having to leave his previous owner has been traumatic for him. I have interacted with him practically every day trying to reduce his anxiety, but the nature of wolves is generally quite anxious.” ---------- To learn more about the United States Wolf Refuge, visit their Web site at