2022 in ReviewBy Jennifer Stoeckl, MAT - Dire Wolf Project CEO, Jan. 1, 2023
May you have good health. May your goals for this upcoming year be completed successfully. May you know true happiness; the deep kind that only comes from a spirit of grateful sacrificial service to others.
If I am honest, I always feel like there isn’t enough time in life to accomplish the work I set out to complete. 2022 ranks right up there with the many other years that feel as if they moved way too quickly.
I know it will be good for my heart to take a moment to share some of the accomplishments we fulfilled in 2022. Maybe it will help me take inventory of how much we have done, even though it feels like we still have so much more to do.
The first major accomplishment happened in February with the release of the DireWolf Guardians Philosophy book. This is one of the essential books every new American Dirus owner should have at their fingertips. This color photo coffee table book combines endearing stories with key concepts on how to build a connected trusting friendship with the world’s first large breed companion dog.
At the beginning of last spring, Jesse, our amazing website designer, helped us complete the largest comprehensive Dire Wolf Project website revamp thus far.
This was monumental for the Dire Wolf Project.
The Dire Wolf Project website now includes the fully reconstructed pedigree database going all the way back to the beginning of the breed in 1988. Reforming the original pedigree database, that disappeared when the site went down, took countless hours of research and many giving souls. We are grateful for each of them and the time they gave to help us.
There is still much to do on the Dire Wolf Project website, but the addition of a blog and the improved site structure has been amazing.
Just after the new website went live in early spring, we decided to begin shifting our focus away from social media platforms, which reach fewer and fewer of our followers each month, to a much more secure way to reach all of you who admire our work. By using email, we are able to send our most important information directly to you. We continue to actively move more and more in this direction as we see the immense benefit from a one-on-one conversation with our most valued Inner Circle members.
Speaking of connecting with our most involved members to build a strong Dire Wolf Project community, the final book in the Jacob Lake Trilogy came out just in time for a fun summer read. The entire series took three years to complete, but the epic ending finally satisfied the tortured souls willing to read along with the amazing storyline.
Gabriel Paulson also mapped out a new medieval adventure in 2022 called “Abbot and the Stone” that will be completed in time for a relaxing pool party in the warm 2023 summer sun.
Talking about adventures, the DireWolf Express continues to be the #1-way owners choose to bring their new puppies and adults home. We worked very hard this year to create the formal structure of this new branch of our work that began in response to all but one airline continuing to refuse pet travel. As a result, an entire new section of the Dire Wolf Project website was created to make sure everything was in line legally for this new part of our premium door-to-door service to you.
In July, Jay and I took a bold step away from a toxic situation. This led to deep family wounds, which may sadly never heal. Saving the soul of the Dire Wolf Project and our own sanity was paramount in our minds. In order to refrain from trademark infringement, we discontinued using “American Alsatian” as the breed name for the dogs bred under the Dire Wolf Project. While our dogs remain closely related to those bred at the Schwarz Kennels, we now call our dogs “American Dirus”. In order to complete this permanent shift, we purchased new urls to reflect the new name. We also changed both the Dire Wolf Project and DireWolf Dogs websites, as well as the official certification mark.
At that time, we also switched over to a new email, breaking from the one I had used for around sixteen years. We now receive emails using the official direwolfproject.com prefix. Fun!
In preparation for the Dire Wolf Project Gift Shop happening as soon as we can set up the structure surrounding it, we purchased a Shopify account last year. We have many plans for this account to open up in early 2023. The thing that has stopped us from completely moving forward is the distribution requirement. We want to offer premium service to our customers. This means we need to solidify the distribution set up before we can offer anything for sale in the shop. But, plan on t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, tote bags, leashes, collars, harnesses, training/treat bags, etc.
In September, we were able to move all of the cedar dog cabins to their permanent new location. In 2021 and the spring of 2022, we worked to prepare the ground in the new kennel space so that it would drain easily and be level. Preparing the ground alone took around $20,000 and quite a bit of time to accomplish. Moving the cabins was a huge step forward with completing the permanent location for the dog kennel space.
This fall, Jay also set up a transitional kennel space complete with full roof to keep the dogs warm and dry throughout the winter. All of the dogs have now been moved from the former less-than-ideal physical outdoor space to a new, more secure space. This year, Jay will complete the inside of the cabins and move the dogs to their permanent set-up. A few days ago, we ordered the 12x30x6 metal carports that will run the length of each dog kennel behind the five cedar cabins.
At the end of October, the 2023 calendars were completed and distributed to our loyal insiders. Thank you for your support of our work. It is wonderful to know that you will be enjoying our dogs all throughout this new year.
Throughout 2022, we birthed five litters for a total of forty-eight sweet, loving puppies. Many happy families wrote us to share the joy their new puppy brought them.
We also saw an increase in dogs finding their way back to us this year. Each with a different, unrelated tragic story. As always, we will continue to be committed for life to all of our American Dirus families and their many diverse situations. Every dog we bring into this world has a devoted Dire Wolf Project family behind it should it require a safe place in which to return. That is part of each Dire Wolf Project breeder’s moral duty to the precious life we hold dear.
In addition, we found an increase in applicants who are not a good fit for our dogs. This led us to redo our application process. As a result, we are much stricter now, making it more difficult to become approved. A new warning was posted on the top of the application to give people a better idea of when they are not ready to begin the process of purchasing a puppy from us. We will continue to seek out families who fit perfectly with our dogs. This will ensure that both the families and our precious furry companions live full and happy lives for all the years they have together.
That being said, Jay and I have formulated a way to help the Dire Wolf Project grow while keeping the original integrity of Lois’s important work. We call it the “Surrogate Breeder” program. Much more work needs to be done to get this unique breeding concept off the ground, but the preliminary structure was begun in 2022. We will continue creating the full business structure of this plan in 2023. It will culminate with a thorough review by a business lawyer to make sure nothing has been left to chance.
Seven fluffy sea monsters out of Essex and Mary remain available for sale. They are ready to go to their new homes now. We work very hard, as you know, to provide the best homes for them that we can. If you think your home may be a good one, let us know.
But remember, our dogs are not for everyone.
We breed calm, loyal, devoted family companion dogs with unique and special loving temperaments.
If you want a dog that doesn’t know a stranger, wants to run and play all day, and isn’t a giant-sized, shedding fluffball, this isn’t the breed for you.
If you want a dog as a friend for another dog, look the other way. Our dogs are bred for human companionship.
If you want a wolfdog, you won’t find that here. Our dogs are 100% domesticated.
But, if you have been thinking of one of our dogs for the right reasons, this litter is exceptional. Go to the Sea Monsters Litter page to find out why:
Phew! I guess we accomplished quite a lot last year, after all. I am exhausted just writing about it. LOL
I hope you enjoy some much-needed quiet time after the holidays. Take care of each other and we will talk with you again soon.