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Jack the 'wolfdog' safe at home with new family

Jack, the "wolfdog" who was rescued from his abandoned home on the Carlton-St. Louis county line by the Minnesota Animal Humane Society and Friends of Animals of Carlton County, has reached the end of his long journey at last.

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Photo Contributed by Andrea D. Westwood, Volunteer for Wanagi Wolf Fund & Rescue

Jack, the “wolfdog” who was rescued from his abandoned home on the Carlton-St. Louis county line by the Minnesota Animal Humane Society and Friends of Animals of Carlton County, has reached the end of his long journey at last.

Jack was left behind by his original owner, along with two rabbits and some horses, at the end of January. After he came to the FOA shelter, experts determined that Jack very likely has wolf blood in his heredity. Officials were faced with one of two choices, according to the laws of the state of Minnesota - either place him with a rescue organization, or have him put down. To FOA canine coordinator Barb Goad and her colleagues, the choice was clear.

Jack was ultimately rescued through the Wanagi Wolf Fund and Rescue near Albuquerque, N. M., which raised the airfare to have him shipped to New Mexico via Delta Airlines. His direct flight was to have taken two and a half hours, with Goad delivering him to the airport in Minneapolis and Wanagi founder and president Stephanie Kaylan picking him up in Albuquerque.

But the best laid plans, as they say, sometimes go amiss. And go amiss they did.

Originally, Jack was to arrive in New Mexico on April 4, but because of a blizzard in Minnesota that day, his flight was changed to Saturday. Then Delta’s computers went down all day on Saturday, and since he was flying unaccompanied, his flight had to be postponed until the following Friday.

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And so, last Friday Goad and her son transported Jack in his crate to the Delta Cargo Terminal, arriving the required two hours early, at 3:45 p.m. Goad and her son managed to lug Jack and his crate to the scale in Cargo, where the dog and crate weighed in at a combined 106 pounds. At that point, Goad had to say her goodbyes to the dog, who had become near and dear to her heart over the past two months.

“It was hard to walk away from him and leave him alone,” said Goad, adding that the airline personnel were “very, very kind.”

Goad and her son had to stay in the Twin Cities until receiving word of the actual takeoff of the flight, on the outside chance it might be delayed or cancelled at the last minute. The scheduled 5:45 p.m. departure came - and went. Goad tried calling the Cargo number and no one answered.

“It was very, very stressful,” she recalled.

Finally, she received word that Jack’s flight was airborne at 6:15 p.m., a half hour after it was slated to take off.

In the meantime, Kaylan was going through some trepidation of her own on the other end, sending a stream of emails to the Pine Journal as updates:

April 11, 5:45 p.m.:

Did Jack get off perfectly at the airport? I was just about to call Barb. Never heard from anyone….

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April 11, 6 p.m.

We are now on our way to the airport.

My heart is beating fast.

No matter how many times I do this....my heart still beats a mile a minute.

Prayers and fingers crossed!!!!

April 12, 12:30 a.m.:

Got home at 11:30 p.m. It’s now 12:30 a.m.

It’s a match made in Heaven! Jack is a gem.

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After the plane was delayed in Minnesota by 25 minutes, it then took 30 minutes after landing to get him to me. The waiting was painful. I am a very patient person - but I wanted to see Jack so badly and keep the ball moving.

As they raised the garage door of Delta Cargo and I saw the crate, of course I cried. My voice was cracking. I welcomed Jack and as I opened the crate, he licked my face.

One of the family friends brought a 6-month-old puppy. Jack and the pup played right away. When I noticed that he was getting a bit too strong with the pup, I made my ‘sound’ and he knew what it meant and politely backed off. SO respectful! He is an angel.

He was a bit jumpy at first - then within 10 minutes he laid down and played with EVERYONE...me, both photographers, the friend with the pup and the mom and son [his new owners]. He licked everyone’s faces at his new home. He loved the stuffed animals and tennis balls I brought for him. I donated two giant bags of “organic” dog kibble and will give them chicken and turkey donations I get from organic markets. They will put 10 pounds on him. I asked them to do that. You can feel his hip bones.

I’m pooped - but the best kind. I know I did my job. I will sleep REALLY well now.

Thank you for helping save his life.

There is no one like Jack.

What a story.

What a boy.

April 12, 2 p.m.:

Jack follows the family around like a puppy.

He slept well and loves his new home and family. He has completely decompressed - and knows that he’s home….

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