We've heard stories about "a boy and his dog" for as long as we can remember. But this isn't your typical boy-meets-dog type of story. This story begins when an 18-year-old college man from Tucson, Arizona, found a lost puppy in a shopping cart and asked his parents if he could keep it. They'd be shocked to find out they're puppy wasn't exactly a puppy!
Because the man's parents thought that it would be nice to have a dog around, and they felt like they could handle the responsibility, they told him they could keep him. They named him Neo but noticed immediately that Neo was a bit different. He was kind of a terror. Neo used the man's car as a bathroom, and he would only allow the man, and no one else, to give him any kind of attention. And Neo sure did want a lot of attention.
When the man went to work or school, Neo was an absolute wreck. And no matter what the parents did they just couldn't gain Neo's trust. So the parents ended up putting Neo in the backyard, hoping he would run around and play like other dogs. But because Neo isn't exactly a normal dog, at all, that's not what he did.
Most puppies like to play with balls, or lounge around, but not Neo. Neo was a master of escaping and the neighbors didn't exactly like it. Neo wasn't only an athletic dog, he was very determined, as well. He would dig under the fence to get out, or he would jump the fence altogether. Neo wasn't trying to be a nuisance. He had a reason for escaping and it wasn't long before his owner understood.
Every time Neo broke free of his confines he went off to visit his neighbor friends, the German Shepherds. Neo didn't necessarily like to hang out with humans, but he sure did like other pups. The dogs next door were just screaming for his attention and he couldn't resist the call. It was all well and good for Neo, but the neighbors certainly had their own opinions on the matter.
Neo's human neighbors wanted to try to help, so they brought Neo in their house every time he escaped, and brought him back when his owner returned home. Neo didn't really care to make friends with them, though. He wouldn't look at them and he didn't want any of the treats they offered. He just wanted to hide in their bathroom until it was time for him to go back home. At this point, his owner had to turn to extreme measures.
It would seem that Neo's family needed to turn up the notch on security a little bit. They needed to make it so their crazy Neo couldn't bother the neighbors every day, so they built a fence that was much taller and quite a bit stronger. Even though it was pretty expensive, the fence seemed like the answer to their prayers, so they put it up.
Of course, the fence wasn't going to hold Neo back. In fact, it was more like a new, fun challenge. Neo wasted no time and started chewing right through the brand new fence his family put up. His jaw power was absolutely incredible! With that pesky fence problem out of the way, Neo was able to go see his friends again. Everyone was kind of over the escape artist, and they knew something needed to change.
The neighbors ran out of options, and the next time Neo escaped they called the local animal shelter. The family took Neo to the Humane Society of Southern Arizona in hopes of getting some professional advice, and maybe even a place for Neo to stay until his owner returned home. When the CEO of the shelter, Maureen O'Nell, met Neo, she had news that shocked everyone in Neo's life.
O'Nell immediately walked up to Neo and his owners. "You know that's not a dog, right?," she said. Because of Neo's beautiful, yet specific, markings (he was skinny but powerful, he had a rough coat, and beautiful amber eyes), and the fact that he avoided most humans, Maureen knew right away what Neo was. And he was not a dog. Neo was a wolf! No one seemed to be too surprised when they heard, but it did create a problem for everyone involved, especially Neo.
It appeared that Arizona state law indicated that no one could legally own a wolf, unless they were of Native American descent, or they obtained a special permit. Unfortunately, the shelter couldn't even take Neo in without having to report him to the proper authorities. And that meant that Neo would probably be put down. Neo's family wasn't going to let that happen, so they had to quickly figure something else out.
O'Nell began doing some research and found something that might help. In California, there was an organization called Wolf Connection. They had land, special facilities, and professionals that were capable of taking care of wolves and wolf-hybrids, which is most likely what Neo was. Neo would get the proper care he needed there and by people who knew what they were doing! They just needed to wait for the facility to accept Neo!
And they sure did accept him! Even though it was hard for his owner, he agreed that going to the Wolf Connection in California was the best thing for Neo. When Neo got to his new home, he had to learn to adjust, which included getting used to quite a few other wolves. Most of the time this is done very slowly and carefully. Neo, on the other hand, had a completely different way of doing things.
As if he would do anything else, but try to escape! Neo didn't want to wait any longer to meet his new friends, so Neo escaped from his pen. After Neo snuck out, he decided he wanted to meet the alpha female that lived in the enclosure next door to him, a wolf that went by the name Maya. Even though it was stressful for the caretakers, there was no way that they could stop the stubborn Neo.
Thankfully, everything worked out just fine. Neo bonded perfectly well with the other wolves! As it turns out, the reason why Neo was constantly jumping the fence to hang out with the German Shepherd neighbors was that Neo wanted to be a part of his very own pack. It also explained why Neo was always so shy with humans. The only thing left for the wolf-dog was for him to get accustomed to his new environment.
And that's exactly what Neo did! Neo is more than happy living at Wolf Connection. Because of the experience that Wolf Connection has with wolf-dogs like Neo, they knew exactly how to handle him, and he has become a very well-balanced wolf-dog. Neo's adventures with his new pack can be found on the Wolf Connection website, as well as on their Facebook page, where they constantly post pictures of Neo and his friends! It looks like things turned out better than alright for this rambunctious rescue pup. Thanks to his original owner, and the staff of Wolf Connection, Neo will have a very happy, long life.