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Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary ‘at capacity’ as popularity of ‘direwolves’ from Game of Thrones grows

Click to play video 'Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary ‘at capacity’ as popularity of ‘direwolves’ from Game of Thrones grows' Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary ‘at capacity’ as popularity of ‘direwolves’ from Game of Thrones grows
WATCH: They're too tame to survive in the wild but often too wild to be pets. Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary takes in surrendered wolf crossbreeds, mostly from homes unable to handle them. As Sarah Offin reports, the Hollywood effect is leading to an influx of the animals – Feb 16, 2018

Nova is part wolf, part dog. He’s one of 23 permanent residents at Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary. He also has a celebrity in the family.

“He’s actually a cousin to Ghost on the Game of Thrones,” facility manager Alyx Harris said.

They’re known as “direwolves” on the popular television series, which may be part of the reason Nova and others at the sanctuary are now running out of space.

READ MORE: ‘Game of Thrones’ star Maisie Williams visits Banff, Calgary

“They’re a really fearful animal. So when we have TV shows that are, in some sense, making people want to go out and get a wolfdog, the problem is that people aren’t thinking,” Harris said.

“They’re not actually knowing what it’s like to have a wolfdog.”

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So what is it like?

“It might be a matter of being escape artists. Some of them could easily scale six-foot fencing,” Harris said.

“Their recall is not necessarily the best. They won’t necessarily come when called. They can be super destructive. We’ve had one chew a couch down to the frame in about a half hour.”

Five new animals were surrendered to the sanctuary last fall, including three puppies. That puts the facility’s cages at capacity, leaving the organization in desperate need of new enclosures.

The sanctuary is now hoping an online auction will raise enough money for them to build at least one more safe space.

“We want to keep taking in more animals for as long as we’re able to because it means that that animal has a second chance.”

Yamnuska is the only wolfdog sanctuary in Canada.

Watch from Feb. 2017: An actress known for her role on Game of Thrones has been spotted in and around Calgary. Online reporter Melissa Gilligan has details on Maisie Williams’ visit to Alberta.

Click to play video 'Game of Throne star Maisie Williams visits Alberta' Game of Throne star Maisie Williams visits Alberta
Game of Throne star Maisie Williams visits Alberta – Feb 22, 2017

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