Happy 13th Birthday, Lacey!!

By Jennifer Stoeckl, MAT - Dire Wolf Project CEO, Sept. 26, 2023
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Two days ago, a silver sable DireWolf Dog named Lacey turned 13 years old, and though she resides happily with a lovely family in Ohio, I can't help but reminisce about the time when she was part of my household.

I remember the first day I laid eyes on Lacey—a little puppy, so cute and sweet. Her silver sable coat was a sight to behold, with its long, feathered, low-shedding splendor. Those big black paws of hers were adorable, and her demeanor was calm and gently playful, just as a DireWolf Dog should be.

My excitement was palpable when I acquired Lacey from Lois Schwarz, as she was destined to be the next female in my fledgling breeding program. I had high hopes and dreams for her as she settled into our home.

But then, on one fateful day, as she frolicked with the other dogs, something unexpected happened—Lacey began to convulse. My heart raced, and I rushed to her side, hoping it was just a momentary struggle to get up from the wood floor. However, the other dogs, sensing something amiss, moved away with concern.

I immediately called Lois Schwarz to share what I had witnessed. We discussed the incident in detail, trying to determine if it was indeed an epileptic fit. The concern in our voices was real, and Lois questioned me meticulously to ensure a correct assessment.

After much back and forth, Lois made the difficult decision—it was best not to use Lacey for breeding and to find her a loving home where she could thrive without the added stress of motherhood.

As a responsible breeder, I understood that sometimes the hardest choices are the right ones, even when the dog in question is a wonderful example of the breed.

With heavy hearts but the best intentions, we found Lacey the perfect home with a couple living in a quiet town in Ohio. Jay and I made the journey with her, and that first night, she slept with us in the upstairs bedroom, her soft breaths a testament to her calm and gentle nature.

After we said our goodbyes and drove off to our next destination, Lacey climbed back up to that upstairs room to mourn our absence. It is a bittersweet memory, and I still feel a pang of sadness just thinking about how much she had bonded to us.

She must have been confused, but yet, a few days later, Lacey surprised everyone by learning how to use the doggie door and quickly adapting to her new life. She began to bond with her new family, just as she had with us, and her pining for us soon gave way to a deep affection for her new human companions.

Remarkably, Lacey never again exhibited any epileptic behaviors that had led us to make the tough decision to find her a new home. She has undoubtedly enjoyed a full and joyful life these thirteen wonderful years.

As we celebrate her 13th birthday, I can't help but feel an overwhelming sense of pride in Lacey. She may not have followed the path we initially envisioned, but she found happiness and love in her own unique way, touching the hearts of everyone she met.

Happy birthday, dear Lacey. Your journey has been a testament to resilience, love, and the beauty of finding the perfect home.

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Enjoy this beautiful day!

Jennifer Stoeckl is the co-founder of the Dire Wolf Project, founder of the DireWolf Guardians American Dirus Dog Training Program, and owner/operator of DireWolf Dogs of Vallecito. She lives in the beautiful inland northwest among the Ponderosa pine forests with her pack of American Dirus dogs.