She was tortured brutally, so I had to move her

By Jennifer Stoeckl, MAT - Dire Wolf Project CEO, Feb. 22, 2024
Hedy - teenager 5
Sweet, Gentle, beautiful Hedy

There she was with her head hung low,

cowering in the back corner.

Her mournful eyes bore a hole through my heart.

This girl isn’t just any ordinary dog at Dire Wolf Project headquarters.

She is the omega dog of our typically omega-like dog breed.

Poor Hedy.

She has the most sincere, loving, gentle soul of all of our dogs, but that softness seriously gets taken advantage of by others.

Hedy is a white, curly-coated love with erect ears and brown eyes.

She adores people and always desires to be near them.

She has never felt at home with the other dogs.

Unfortunately for Hedy, seven months ago when it was puppy picking for the Genius litter (Essex/Regina), she was not chosen.

The males went first, as usual.

Then, her beautiful light silver, wolf gray sister with the prettiest wolfish features found a wonderful forever family.

But not Hedy.

No children to call her own.

No family to take her on walks to the park.

Or hand out belly rubs in the living room.

Even as a puppy, she was the most selfless, submissive dog, so her two white sisters easily pushed her to the back as they competed for pets and loves whenever I walked into their kennel.

I always gave Hedy special attention because I knew she would not seek me out on her own accord, allowing the others to go first.

We do not wish to breed Hedy, so as she’s grown into a young adult, she can’t stay in a pen with any of our males.

Therefore, she must make her home within a cabin space where only girls reside.

Recently, our newest crossbreed, Black Opal (50/50 Lab/Shepherd), returned to stay with us for a while as her family transitions back to northern California.

Since Opal is only here temporarily with no intention to breed, she was placed in the same stud-free space Hedy occupied.

Being a 50/50 Lab/Shepherd working dog not of my breeding, Opal doesn’t have the same emotional sensitivity as our American Dirus dogs.

Yesterday, as I was feeding and watering the dogs, I heard a bone-chilling cry from the all-girl cabin.

Apparently, Opal had wanted to be in the same space as Hedy, but Hedy was afraid to move.

Like the big bad wolf, Opal tore after the curly white lamb cutting the top of Hedy’s ear.

Poor Hedy!

She only wants to live peacefully in this world.

She never stands up for herself and doesn’t fight back.

Her desperate pleas for help alerted me, and I came running to her side.

Opal was scolded for her brutality.


My focus quickly turned to Hedy.

She was hunched low with fear and desperation in the back corner of the pen.

In that moment, I knew she had to find a new residence.

However, all the other cabins house intact males.

Since I couldn’t move her to any of those, I decided to take her for a walk with the Anak and Elatha from the Giants litter and think about the situation.

I escorted Hedy out of the all-girl cabin, giving Opal my squinty side-eye for effect as I passed.

Then, I let out the Giants litter puppies so that we could take our walk together and calm ourselves from the recent ordeal.

From the moment Hedy laid eyes on those puppies, she was in heaven.

I can’t quite explain it, but an instant peace and harmony swept over Hedy’s face.

All signs of the recent encounter with moody Black Opal instantly vanished.

Not only that, but the puppies, normally more submissive and respectful of adult dogs, claimed Hedy as their own.

And in that moment, I knew what to do.

Hedy was going to live with Anak and Elatha.

We enjoyed a most peaceful and happy walk together.

Hedy ran in the cool breeze, taking in the fresh air of freedom.

The puppies danced and played with Hedy in the meadow.

What joy and happiness I felt to see such camaraderie.

Eventually, we laughed and sang our way back to the cabins.

The puppies returned to their pen without a fuss.


When I placed the leash on Hedy, she panicked.

She must’ve thought I was going to lead her back to the all-girl cabin.

The look of trepidation in her eyes just about broke my heart.

I reassured her as best I could, but she wasn’t quite willing to trust me until she saw me turn toward the puppy pen, and AWAY from the all-girl cabin.

In that moment, her demeanor completely shifted.

She perked right up and her whole body relaxed.

In fact, Hedy walked into the puppy pen with a skip in her step.

Without a second glance, she found the thick memory foam dog bed in the back of the puppy cabin, laid down without first considering anyone else, closed her eyes, and…

slept soundly for hours.

Hedy would love to live with a family of her own.

She loves people… prefers them, in fact.

She is a loyal, devoted companion.

She is emotionally sensitive, but in a good way. She will come to your aid if you are upset, scared, or worried. Hedy has been through enough worry and concern of her own to know exactly what’s needed to calm and soothe.  

She doesn’t wander or roam and will cherish every moment she has in her new life.

If you don’t want puppy troubles, have a desire for a gentle-natured dog with a heart of gold, don’t mind curly-coated grooming requirements, and don’t have forceful or pushy dogs already, then give Hedy a serious look.

She embodies the very essence of a lamb in wolf’s clothing.

Here’s a link to find out more about her:

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.