Sometimes, adopting a dog can be a roll of the dice. It’s almost impossible to know what a dog has been through before you make it a part of your family. You can’t always know if it was abused, had to live on the streets, or had any unusual experiences that might affect its behavior. While some shelters can help with these questions, it’s rare that they know all of the answers either. This was the case for Wulfgar the husky, a dog with a mysterious and complicated past. Luckily for him, and the couple that adopted him, all he needed was some love and care in order to experience an unbelievable transformation.
Finding A Homeless Dog
In November 2015, an Imgur user and her husband had heard about a stray husky that had been wandering around their neighborhood. They were intrigued to learn more about this dog and ventured out to see it for themselves. When they finally came into contact with the dog, it was clear that he needed help.
He was deeply afraid of all people, but especially the woman’s husband. In a post, the couple wrote, “as you can see, he’s in pretty bad shape in this photo […] Notice the patchy fur and the visible ribs. He also had a large scar going across his ribs…”
He Was Severely Underweight
The couple decided that they were going to take the pup in, naming him Wulfgar. They knew that their next step was to take him to the vet right away to see what they would need to do in order to get him healthy.
According to the couple, “a normal male husky ranges between 45 and 60 pounds, depending on height. Weighing him at the vet’s, he was underweight at 39 pounds. The vet guessed he should have weighed closer to 50 to 55 pounds.”
His Skin Was A Whole Other Issue
Not only was Wulfgar dangerously underweight, but his fur had been extremely damaged while being on the streets. Wulfar’s newly adopted parents commented that “he had demodectic mange.
Huskies have two coats, so for his skin to be so red, dry, and patchy, he had to be infected for quite some time. Our poor boy was likely suffering for months.” His immune system was also terrible, so Wulfgar was prescribed antibiotics and medicated shampoo. Luckily, he had no heartworms or fleas.
Taking Wulfgar Home
After a thorough and eye-opening checkup, it was time for the couple to take the dog home and begin his transitional period into his new home. As soon as they got home, they set up a kennel for him to sleep in.
They reported that “he went in without difficulty, which led us to believe he’d been previously crate-trained. We aren’t sure of what he went through or where he came from. He wasn’t chipped (not that we would have returned him anyway).”
Theories On How He Ended On The Streets
The couple had a few guesses as to why Wulfgar had been living on the streets. However, they believe that he escaped from an abusive and negligent owner, which might also explain his scar. Furthermore, his wariness around men also supported this theory.
It took some time for Wulfgar to get used to his new surroundings, spending the first few nights crying in his kennel. Unfortunately, the couple couldn’t let him in their room at night just yet because of his mange.
He Was Sleeping Nonstop
During his first few days at his new home, Wulfgar couldn’t seem to stop napping. He wasn’t just napping in his kennel either, he would nap wherever there was enough room for him to fit.
The couple figured that this was because he was exhausted from his ordeal and could now nap peacefully without fear. “Now, he primarily naps in his kennel or on a fluffy blanket in the living room,” the couple wrote.
Warming Up To His Surroundings
Over time, Wulfgar seemed to be getting more and more comfortable in his new home as well as with his new owners. He even began to notice and appreciate the little luxuries that his new life afforded him.
According to the owners, “this is another week later and he’s staring at a treat in my hand; sometimes it’s the only way to get him to look at the camera.”
First Time At The Dog Park
Although the owners were hesitant at first for numerous reasons, they decided to take Wulfgar to the dog park for his first time (under supervision, of course). They were mostly concerned with how he’d react to other dogs after being on the street and hoped he didn’t get into any trouble.
In typical husky fashion, he was friendly and playful around the other dogs. This was a huge relief to the owners as well as a sign that everything would turn out okay.
He Even Got Wet!
While at the dog park, the cutest thing happened. Wulfgar fell into the pond and didn’t even mind! Luckily, the owner was lucky enough to snap this picture right before he shook off and got her all wet.
This was interesting behavior for a dog that had just been rescued off of the street only a few weeks before. Things were looking up for Wulfgar and the owners were excited to see what he would surprise them with next.
He Was Just Being A Carefree Dog
While still at the dog park, the owner kept taking majestic pictures of Wulfgar to document his amazing recovery. It’s beautiful to see a dog that has gone through so much enjoying the life of a healthy and loved pup.
At one point, he may have watched other carefree dogs inside of the dog park but now he was one of them and he couldn’t be happier. He was relaxed, safe, and on the road to a full recovery!
Interacting With Other Dogs
The owners commented on this picture of Wulfgar with other dogs, with this to say about his behavior: “He plays well with most other dogs, provided they’re also friendly. Since then we’ve encountered dogs that are aggressive or bark at him.
He’s very quiet as far as huskies go, so he never barks back. He mostly stares in confusion.” This is incredible considering all of the confrontations or fights that he may have been involved in while he was surviving on the streets. It shows that his spirit wasn’t broken.
Not All Dogs Were As Friendly As Wulfgar
Of course, no matter how friendly Wulfgar was towards other dogs, not all dogs wanted to reciprocate the kindness. Every once in a while, Wulfgar would come across a dog that made it clear that they didn’t want to be his friend.
In this case, the couple wrote, “this husky-shepherd mix wasn’t too friendly, luckily, Wulfgar didn’t seem too upset by it!” Surely, Wulfgar had encountered far more intimidating dogs and other animals during his time on the street.
Meeting Other Family Members’ Dogs
While Wulfgar may have had a lot of face time with other dogs at the dog park, it was time for him to meet his owner’s in-laws’ husky. When he did, he still seemed pretty guarded. Notice how sparse his tail still is here.
It was clear that Wulfgar was still traumatized in some ways by his past experiences. Yet, after a little bit of time, Wulfgar made it very apparent that he wanted to become friends with the other husky.
As time passed, Wulfgar’s hair began to fill in the patches where his irritated skin had been exposed. As the hair grew in, the owners noticed that his color was beginning to change.
His fur had originally been a distinct red color but was now beginning to change to more of a grey and even appeared dark copper in the sunlight. So now, not just emotionally, but physically, Wulfgar was beginning to look like an entirely different dog.
One Month Later
A little over a month after the couple adopted Wulfgar, he really had changed into an entirely different dog. He was nowhere as shy or skittish as when they had first welcomed him into their home.
They also discovered some of his favorite activities, one of which is riding in the car! By this time, he had also managed to put on some much-needed weight although they still had a way to go in that department.
He Still Loves Napping
While the couple thought that Wulfgar’s love for napping was mainly due to exhaustion from his experience of being adopted, they soon learned that was just part of his personality.
The couple wrote that “if there was one thing in the world that Wulfgar loved more than making friends and riding in the car, though, it must have been taking naps!” If dogs feel threatened they never expose their belly, so Wulgar sleeping in this position means that he’s happy and at peace.
He’s An Observer
As Wulfgar’s fur thickened and he slowly gained back his weight, his owners noticed how much he likes to observe other people. They claim that “he loves going into the backyard. He likes to sit and observe the other people in the neighborhood.
When people would walk too close, he’d bark. We liked this protective aspect, though now he’s much more discerning of strangers.” It’s cute to think that Wulfgar is just trying to protect his loving family.
Doing His Own Thing
On this image, the owners commented “I COULD stand like a normal dog but… meh.” This is just Wulfgar doing his own thing, whatever makes him comfortable. He may look like a cat, but we all know that he’s far from one.
This is just another sign that he is getting along splendidly in his new forever home and feels comfortable enough to do whatever he feels like. Although this may seem like an interesting way for a dog to eat, we’ve definitely seen weirder.
Still Changing Every Day
With each passing day, Wulfgar gets more and more healthy. Even in this picture, it’s obvious just how much he has changed since he was adopted from off the streets. Now, his hair has even begun to turn almost black.
The owner notes that “you can really see how his coat darkened in this picture. I’m hoping this is just a winter coat because I loved his red coloring before.” Regardless, they’re just happy he’s recovering smoothly.
He’s A Big Fan Of The Tile Floors
Like many other dogs, Wulfgar loves taking a load off on the cool tile flooring of the house, especially after a long day at the dog park. At times, he can’t even keep his eyes open once he lays down on the tile, just like in this picture.
He really must have worked himself out at the dog park this day. Good to know that he’s getting the exercise every dog Wulfgar’s size needs! This looks like one happy dog!
He Loves Hitting The Road
Not all dogs are as thrilled as Wulfgar to get into the car, but it’s one of his favorite things to do. When the car door opens, he hops right in, ready to hit the open road! it doesn’t matter where they go, he just enjoys being along for the ride.
Since the owners didn’t know anything about his past, it must have been surprising to discover how much he loves riding in cars. Plus, it’s something they can treat him to without much effort.
His Favorite Rides Are To The Dog Park
With the dog park being close to the owners’ house, they frequent it regularly. On the way there, they make sure to roll down the windows for Wulfgar so he can soak up all of the sights and smells as they head to his favorite place.
The owners love how close they live to do the dog park so they can regularly exercise Wulfgar and give him the social experiences that he needs to thrive as a dog.
He Knows The Route
Believe it or not, Wulfgar even has the route to the dog park memorized. Now that’s dedication. According to the owners, “As we get closer he starts whining and hopping around in the back seat out of excitement.”
We all know that this behavior isn’t common for just Wulfgar, as most dogs lose their minds at the sign of a leash. However, it’s evidence that regardless of his unfortunate past, he’s just like any other dog today.
Along with the thickening and color changes of his fur, other differences in his physical appearance include his stature and especially his tail! While it used to be so slender and hairless, it is now perky and full of fur, signs of a healthy, confident dog.
In just the course of a few months, everything from his mannerisms to his appearance have undergone a significant transformation. Neither the owners or the pup could be happier!
Weight Is No Longer An Issue
During the initial stages of Wulfgar’s adoption process, the couple had no idea how well he would fit in with the family. Today, their worries can be put to rest as he fits right in.
He’s even become comfortable enough to start breaking some of the family rules such as the ‘no people food’ policy for dogs. We’re sure this isn’t the first time that Wulfgar has been sticking his nose somewhere that it shouldn’t be!
The Husky Stare
These are the eyes of a dog that is thankful for everything that has happened to him since being adopted. If you compare the pictures from when he was first born and today, they look like two entirely different dogs.
Here, he is peaceful and happy when he used to be shy and scared only a few months before. Not only is he a handsome boy, but those eyes are enough to melt any person’s heart.
The Final Transformation
On this picture, the owners commented, “my favorite picture of him. He’s now a happy, healthy, spoiled dog, and we love him and all the fur he leaves on our clothes.” This picture is proof that even the worst-off dogs just need a little love and care to be rehabilitated.
We’re so happy that Wulfar went from a suffering dog on the streets to the light of this couple’s lives. Now, he lives comfortably and is content — as every dog should be.
Nobody Noticed This Shelter Dog, But Then Everyone Loved Him
You’ve probably seen those cute pictures of pit bulls making goofy faces, or you’d come to love the pit bull dogs that have come into your life. You know they’ve got loads of personality, that they’re loyal and friendly dogs, and you probably also know that they get a bad reputation in the world of animal adoptions and with animal ownership in general.
Of course, you’ve gotta ask why a breed would be demonized in such a way, but you’ll also want to learn first-hand how one dog, Sheldon, managed to set himself apart from the masses of pit bulls, to demonstrate his unique personality.
A Question of Sheldon
So, Sheldon is one of those dogs that have been described as a pit bull, and he arrived at an animal shelter. Even if pit bull dogs didn’t statistically make up a larger percentage of shelter dogs (32% in 2014), he also didn’t present himself as friendly. Staff described him as shy, even grumpy. Then again, wouldn’t you be?
No matter how a dog got to the pound or how innocuous their abandonment might have been, it’s not easy for a dog to be stuck in a cage. And, it’s just not a happy situation, no matter how hard the staff tries to make it better, easier, or even enjoyable.
Maricopa County Animal Care and Control
Even in the best possible situation, a shelter is not where a dog or cat wants to be, particularly not when the animal has obviously been a part of a family in their past, pre-shelter experience. Because of the way he reacted to staff, it was clear that Sheldon had been a part of a family before.
Maricopa County Animal Care and Control is a shelter in Phoenix, Arizona, where Sheldon found himself in 2016. As with so many shelters across the country and around the world, they deal with a constant onslaught of new dogs and cats who need care and homes. They also look for volunteers who will work with the animals and help them to cope with the every day, unavoidable situation of being in a pound.
Sheldon’s Shelter Life
As is the situation with many abandoned and stray pets, Sheldon was sad when he first arrived at the Maricopa County Animal Care and Control. It was obvious that he’d been in a family who cared about him. He knew how to sit upon command, and he even offered his paw. So, someone in his past must have taught him some tricks and behavioral directive.
Once he arrived at the shelter, though, nobody came to find him. He was left alone, unadopted, and he also didn’t appear to be social, with his sad and shy demeanor. He wasn’t a “bad” or “mean” dog. He just didn’t stand out with all the masses of 600-800 other animals, and he’d soon been at the shelter for a month, without adoption or owner retrieval.
Unclaimed Sheldon Is Noticed
Sheldon may have been unwanted and unclaimed by almost everyone, but there was one person who noticed him. Volunteer Heather Haltmeyer was keeping tabs on Sheldon, and it upset her that he was going so long unnoticed. Another 30 days had passed, so he’d been there for 90 days, without anyone showing the slightest interest in adopting or giving him attention.
There are just some animals that stand out. They seem to just need a little bit of help, and perhaps a little bit more attention than the rest. She was willing to help in any way that she could, and that’s why she stepped in to make sure that Sheldon stood out.
A Picture Says It All
One of Heather Haltmeyer’s duties as a volunteer at the animal shelter was to take photos of the animals. And she took those duties just a little further. Although he wasn’t one of the dogs she regularly took out, he was next to one of them. And, so she noticed him. She said, “I kept seeing him and he kept jumping up and down and wagging his tail in his kennel, like, ‘Look at me, look at me.’ He had the most adorable pink little lips.”
Who could possibly tell a dog like that no? She certainly couldn’t and didn’t. So, you could say it was Sheldon’s willingness to finally break out of his tough shell-exterior and show he could be friendly that really brought him the attention he so desperately needed.
Sheldon’s Personality Comes Out
Of course, Heather Haltmeyer added a bow-tie and immediately saw a different Sheldon shine through. He suddenly appeared to be more mellow, and somehow he even became a kind of “muse.” He loved the attention, but more than that, his whole demeanor changed when he was in front of the camera. In some sense, he really came alive!
So, she took a lot of photos of him, and she found that even though he often seemed sad or shy, he really wasn’t. In fact, he had a personality all his own, which you can clearly see by just looking at the photos.
Sheldon Was a Natural
Yep, it’s true. Heather Haltmeyer found that Sheldon was a photogenic animal and that he absolutely loved being the central focal point of the camera lens. Yes, his quirky character really started shining through more-and-more, even without the bow-tie addition, and she discovered more about who Sheldon really was.
She appears to have been in a bit of awe as she explains, “He seemed to eat it all up.” To be clear, as I’m sure you know, not all animals work well in front of the camera. So, Sheldon was something of an anomaly, unique and amazing. Haltmeyer tried to capture that personality, from frowns to goody poses.
Facebook Debuts Sheldon’s Goofy Personality
Sheldon’s photos were posted to Facebook in January 2017, with the caption: “We may be biased, but we think Sheldon should be a doggy celebrity with all those expressions.” It didn’t stop there, though. It went on: “Think of all the fun you could have taking pictures of him if you adopt!”
That was the whole point, right? The photos offered just a few reasons why you might want to adopt him. After all, with a quirky and lovable face like that, who could help but fall in love with him, and want to bring him home? That was the hope, anyway.
A Bit More About His Personality And Training
As you can see, though, there’s also a shot of Sheldon in a car. And, you can see from the series of shots that he plays nicely with others. But, the Facebook post didn’t end there. It said: “Sheldon is a great dog with a great energy level. He’s not crazy hyper, but he’s no slow-poke either. Sheldon is equally happy to sniff around on his own or come over for some pets and attention.”
Since some pit bulls have bad reputations as dogs that have too-high energy levels and who are crazy, the post gives you an idea that Sheldon is a companion dog, who will be there for you when you need him.
What About The ‘Grumpy Old Man’?
Heather Haltmeyer’s photos of Sheldon were immediately popular, with well-wishers and fans saying: “He looks a bit like a grumpy old man. Oh, somebody please help him to turn his frown upside down.” It appears that a lot of people were listening (and reading) up about Sheldon.
The images and description offered a good sense of who he was and what kind of a companion dog he would be, but the photos also caused at least one person to really fall in love with Sheldon. Who can help but absolutely love that grumpy face and quirky expression? It’s unavoidable, right?!
Emily Finds Sheldon
So after all those months of no interest, Sheldon finally was the center of attention, with well-wishers, fans, and friends. For her part, Emily Chmiel admitted: “I fell in love with his serious expressions in his pictures and knew he belonged in my house.”
You’ve gotta know, with the photos you’ve seen so far, that Sheldon was going to continue to be a big ham in front of the camera. That didn’t seem to bother Emily at all. She embraced his personality, and he appears to have made himself right at home. It seems to be the best kind of relationship.
Emily Took Sheldon Home
So, her skills and photographer’s eye were successful. Emily Chmiel looked at Sheldon’s mug and fell in love, and then she took him home. Fortunately, though, the story didn’t end there. She gives us a continued sneak-peak into his life and adventures.
Volunteer and Photographer Heather Haltmeyer couldn’t have been more thrilled with the outcome of Sheldon’s case. She says, “I do think the photos are what attracted them, and it feels great.” She further explains, “The whole point of it is to get people’s attention and to help dogs stand out that would otherwise kind of get lost in the crowd.”
Yes, you’ll be happy to hear that he settled right in, and he even got a new name: “Castiel.” In case you didn’t know, that’s the name of an angel in the CW show, Supernatural. One of his most memorable traits is the way he’s able to fix his “puppy-dog” eye-gaze on you rendering you helpless.
There’s probably some similarity between the angel-character and Emily’s new adopted pet. Those photos certainly appeared to capture the imaginations, care, and concern of countless fans and friends, and the unique personality that shined through also gained him a forever home and family. It sounds like there’s a great reason for calling him Castiel!
Castiel Has The Life
In case you were wondering how Castiel is taking to his new life with Emily Chmiel, you’ve only got to see the way he lounges on the couch, completely at ease and content. Emily further reports that he also enjoys exploring her courtyard and that he’s made friends with her many cats (always a positive sign).
She does periodically have to remind him who’s boss, but he hasn’t been part of the family for long, so he’s probably still learning the ropes, and acceptable behavior in the house. It’s all a learning process, after all, and they’re obviously together for the long-haul.
Follow The ‘Official Grump Dog’
If you were looking for a way to follow the life and adventures of Castiel, you’ve also got a quick-and-easy way to plug-in. With such an outpouring of social-media love around her dog, Emily Chmiel has created the “Official Grump Dog” Instagram account for “Cass dog.” The account describes him as: “Judging you always… Professional Grump, Destroyer of Socks.”
She also says: “Will Grip You Tight and Raise You From Pupperdition.” And, yes, she also posts a side-by-side photo with the TV Castiel, in case it wasn’t perfectly obvious, it’s a great way to see why he’s got that name now!