We can't do surgery on wolves

By Jennifer Stoeckl, MAT - Dire Wolf Project CEO, March 4, 2024
Zola’s (fka Gladys) .jpg
Zola’s (Gladys)

We’ve had a few serious informational emails lately, so let’s round out our time together for this week with a funny story from one of our American Dirus owners.

I’ll let her tell you the sordid tale.

Oh, the things we, American Dirus owners, have to go through because we are SO honestly different and unique!

As you know, we received Zola on December 9, on her 7-month birthday. I got her into our regular vet within a couple weeks for a check up, and decided we'd get her spayed once she settled in a little more. No need to rush it!

Over the years, we have taken a couple of our pets to a local "Low Cost Spay & Neuter Clinic" (LCSNC) that has outstanding reviews. The cost for a large dog to be spayed and microchipped would be approximately $150 - just pennies compared to the almost $800 our regular vet estimated.

Our regular vet agreed that the LCSNC was a good option (they just expanded into a massive clinic in our area). I called LCSNC a few weeks after we got Zola and spoke to a receptionist about getting on the waiting list, and wouldn't you know it - the large female dog list is the longest waiting list they have. So they took my information (my name, my number, dog name, dog breed, dog age, dog weight) and told me to expect a call in around 6 weeks to get her scheduled for another 6 weeks out (now we are looking at mid-April). When I told the receptionist that Zola was an American Dirus, she of course asked what that meant and I gave her the 2-sentence explanation - essentially confirming she has no wolf in her. She took down my information, and that was that.

Fast forward to mid-February, and they finally called back to schedule. Unfortunately I missed their first 2 calls, as I was working and unable to answer. No problem - they left a couple (rather vague) voicemails and I called back.

No answer - but wow they sure spent a lot of time on their voicemail message and menu options! I tried nearly every combination to get in touch with a real person to no avail.

I called again - no answer.

I called SEVEN times from Monday to Friday that week.

On Friday afternoon, I got to someone's voicemail box and explained that we would like to move forward with scheduling Zola for her spay surgery.

10 minutes later, a call back. A woman, sounding quite unsure, asked why I was calling and I explained the messages and missed calls. She replied, "hmm we wouldn't have left a vague voicemail like that."

(cue my internal eye roll) Okayyyyyy, well someone at this number did. Anyway, can we just forget all that and get Zola on the schedule?

She starts asking for my information so she can look us up. I can tell after just a moment, she's not seeing Zola on the list. Finally, she tells me exactly that.

I said (frustrated but trying to just get this over with), "well I called 6 weeks ago ... I have these 2 voicemails ... I've tried to call back 7 times this week ..."

She sighs and agrees to put Zola down for the first available appointment, which is April 20. I'm just glad to have a date set! She goes over the pre-op instructions (as if she's not going to also email them, etc. but I quiet myself and listen to her do her job), then we say our goodbyes and that was that.

Zola was going to be spayed on April 20. Woo hoo!

5 minutes later, the woman calls me back. I answer, we say our hellos, and the conversation goes like this:

LCSNC: Unfortunately we can't perform surgery on Zola, because we can't do surgery on wolves.

Me: Oh, well that's okay. She doesn't have any wolf DNA in her at all. I can send you some information if you'd like.

LCSNC: Aside from a DNA test, there is no way to prove she doesn't have wolf in her. If a dog looks like a wolf, we treat it like a wolf.

(note: she has never seen Zola)

Me (getting increasingly frustrated): I have a DNA test processing right now with Embark and it will be ready before her surgery date. Can I bring that info with me?

LCSNC: We would be willing to look at it, but we'll have to remove her from the surgery schedule and waiting list until you have those results.

Me: *literally fuming*

LCSNC (climbing up on her highest horse): And actually, there is only one breeder in the US that produces these dogs.


Me (climbing up on an even higher horse): You're right! Do you know the name of the breeder or the kennels where they're bred?

LCSNC: No, I don't.

Me: Huh, okay - well I'll just go to our regular vet and spend $800 then. Thank you! Bye!

When I say I was mad, I was MAD. This lady had never even seen a photo of my dog and she completely wrote me off as a crazy person. In hindsight, the gaslighting began at the beginning of the phone call when she said "we wouldn't have left a vague voicemail like that."

And nevermind the fact that even if she did have wolf DNA, wouldn't they want her spayed so that she doesn't produce any wolf-dog hybrids?

Anyway, I called our regular vet immediately and told them about the situation. The woman on the phone was so incredibly kind (as per usual) and understanding. She even told me to snuggle up with Zola and get myself a cocktail after the whole ordeal!

Zola will be getting spayed this coming Tuesday at our local vet who we trust completely and totally with her care.

Hope you have a great weekend! Pic attached because she's the prettiest girl!


I love her look so much.

And this is why you know that Dire Wolf Project breeders don’t just talk about choosing health and temperament over looks.

So many breeders SAY they do that, but then choose breeding dogs based on what sells.


Sometimes we have to let go of some GORGEOUS dogs, like beautiful Zola here, because I choose a certain temperament for breeding.

I really didn’t want to choose a solid white female over this amazing beauty, but the two white females in Zola’s litter, Grace and Marie, have a certain genetic temperament that follows more closely the breed standard.

ALL our puppies have amazing temperaments, but some, like Zola, are best for families while others are best for passing on sought out confidence traits.

While it appears as if we are giving up the best…

I know a secret.

Zola’s sisters, Grace and Marie, will produce puppies just like her.

And now Grace has bred with Chisel!  

Around 61 days from now, we hope to see some sweet puppies just like their aunt, Zola.

We have named this match the “Cinco de Mayo” litter.

Wanna know more about Grace and Chisel?

Meet our dogs here:


Our complete the Cinco de Mayo litter page soon.

Before the Cinco de Mayo litter arrives, though…

Our next litter is the officially confirmed Luck of the Irish litter.

Find out more about this upcoming litter below:


P.S. If you hope for a giant puppy from the Dire Wolf Project and are not yet on the waiting list, your first step is to complete our puppy adoption questionnaire.

Here’s the link:


If you have already been officially approved for a puppy but aren’t yet on the waiting list, place your $600 deposit to hold your place in line.

Email the Dire Wolf Project’s administrative assistant: jody-lynn@direwolfproject.com for more information on how to do that.

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.