Wolf-dog warms up to Corbett family; woman says animal is domesticated, friendly

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: CARI HACHMANN - Sitting in a Corbett field, the black dog that looks like a wolf - Sweet Pea - has a gentle demeanor. The black wolf-dog spotted in Corbett over the past few months — the one wildlife biologists have called a hybrid — may be more domesticated than originally thought.

The Outlook first ran a story about the suspected hybrid in its Nov. 8 edition (“Lone Wolf in Corbett? Biologists think it’s a hybrid.”)

Her name is “Sweet Pea.”

At least that’s the name she has been given by her Corbett foster mother, Ann, who prefers her last name not be used in the article.

Ann lives near the big grassy field the pup likes to hang out in.

An Outlook reporter was out on a ride-along with Citizen Patrol volunteers when the mysterious black beast was spotted. Subsequently, the patrol car was blocking Ann’s driveway as she was pulling up to her house on her way from work.

The Corbett woman started noticing the animal — wolf in size and color, but domesticated and dog-like in behavior — as it started appearing around her house more often. Eventually, Ann reached out to her.

“She is domesticated,” Ann said. “We call her Sweet Pea, our girlie girl. She’s adopted us.”

Ann thinks the animal was someone’s pet and the owner dumped her in the field about 300 feet west of the Corbett Grade School near the Historic Columbia River Highway.

“She was very skittish at first,” Ann said. “She was very afraid, especially of men.”

When the wolf-dog first appeared, it had injuries on its front leg and was limping, Ann said.

Ann called animal services too see what to do about the animal that had been hanging around her house for a couple of months.

“Nobody claimed her,” she said.

Ann said she wasn’t aware of the article in The Outlook and that several people in Corbett had perhaps wrongfully linked Sweet Pea to the brutal killings of a deer, cat and a neighbor’s lamb.

“She’s very gentle,” Ann said. “She’s still afraid of men, but she’s more willing to come closer to me than anyone else.”

Ann noticed the animal had a collar that was too tight around its neck.

“If it stayed on any longer, it would have become embedded in her neck,” she said.

A veterinarian told Ann to try and take it off.

Ann said it took a while for Sweet Pea to become comfortable around people.

“The first dish we set out she took into the woods,” Ann said.

But after she warmed up to her over time, Ann was able to gradually loosen the collar until she could take it off.

Sweet Pea has also made friends with the family’s two English setters.

“She loves to play with our dogs,” Ann said.

While the three get along great, Sweet Pea isn’t quite ready to sleep inside with the whole family.

“She sleeps in the woods,” said Ann, but they keep a mat out for her by the door.

Ann said when she’s being mischievous, Sweet Pea will pull her bed away from the house and the dogs will come play with her.

Ann said she’s worried people who see the big black dog that looks like a wolf roaming in the field will shoot her.

“I’d hate to see someone do that,” she said.

Ann said they are trying to get Sweet Pea in a cage long enough for a veterinarian to come give her a check up and make sure she has all the shots she needs.

“We want to do what we can to get her healthy, get her shots and whatever she needs for now,” Ann said.

At that point, Ann said they will decide whether to keep Sweet Pea or find a her a good home.

“But it’s been a few months,” Ann said. “So you kind of get attached.”

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