An animal control officer spotted what he thought was a wolf, wandering the streets alone. Cinder had been roaming a neighborhood in Flagstaff, Arizona, for weeks.
He would sometimes walk near backyards that had dogs and play with them through the fence. Since he was a stray, he began to get extremely skinny, so people started to leave food out for him. Some tried to approach him, but he was very nervous.
Animal control officials set up a trap and were finally able to catch him. They then brought him to a shelter run by the Coconino Humane Association.
Since they thought Cinder was a wolf, the Arizona Fish and Game Department was called. If he was really a wolf, they would’ve had to return him to the wild. But they tested his DNA and it turns out that he’s actually a wolf dog hybrid, which meant he wasn’t the state’s responsibility.
In many states, it’s illegal to keep wolf dogs as pets, but in Arizona it isn’t. Since Cinder was so afraid of people, it would’ve been hard to rehome him. Unfortunately, Cinder wound up escaping the shelter. They finally got ahold of him and contacted Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary in New Mexico, who then took in Cinder.
At the sanctuary, Cinder spent his time alone in an enclosure while he warmed up to people and waited for his perfect match. That’s when the sanctuary decided that an older female wolf dog named Riot would make a great companion for him.
Riot ended up at the sanctuary after she was no longer wanted. A woman had bought her with the intention of breeding her, but when she grew bigger than expected, the woman didn’t have the space for her.
Then the day finally came where it was time to introduce Cinder and Riot for the first time. Staff had no idea how their initial meeting would be, but they prayed it would work out for all of their sake.
They opened the gates and Riot ran right into Cinder’s enclosure. They touched noses and wagged their tails in delight. They got along better than expected and soon they became inseparable.