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ai generated image of a wolfdog in the foreground on green grass with a forest in the background

Teen’s Summer Job Leads to Wolfdog Adventure of a Lifetime

Georgina's love for wolfdogs started with a summer job at a sled dog kennel

Georgina De Caigny has always had a deep love for animals. Her love started early. Before she could even walk, Georgina enjoyed playing with their family’s pets. 

“The more dogs I could have, the more animals I could have, the happier I was,” Georgina told The Cochrane Times

Georgina grew up in Belgium with her two brothers and two sisters. In 1996, when she was seven years old, her family moved to Canada for better opportunities.

It was challenging for Georgina since she didn’t know any English when she started Grade 2. She recalled feeling scared about going to school without knowing the language.

Georgina De Caigny posing for a photo next to a very happy wolfdog
Georgina De Caigny posing for a photo next to a very happy wolfdog | Georgina De Caigny | LinkedIn

However, she’s grateful for the move because it allowed her to develop a love for nature, mountains, and wildlife, which shaped who she is today.

When she was younger, Georgina rescued and rehabilitated stray dogs. This experience fueled her passion for helping and understanding animals.

She studied civil engineering at the University of Calgary and graduated in 2011. Despite her family’s high expectations for a traditional professional career, Georgina followed her passion. 

Her father, Patrick De Caigny, joked that they paid for an engineer but got a “pooper scooper,” yet he recognized her analytical skills developed through her studies.

“She wouldn’t be there, where she is now, it wouldn’t be what it is, if she didn’t do those engineering studies,” said Patrick.

A Wolfdog Pack Of Her Own

Georgina’s first encounter with wolfdogs happened during a summer job at a sled dog kennel near Canmore when she was 18. Wolfdogs are the offspring of a dog and a wolf–part wolf,  part dog.

She immediately fell in love with their beauty and started researching them. Little did she know then that she would become the founder of the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary.

Georgina’s connection to wolfdogs began in 2009 when she decided to get a wolfdog. She found a breeder online, and when a puppy became available a month later, she and her father drove to Saskatchewan to bring the pup home.

Georgina admitted that she might not have explicitly told her father it was a wolfdog. Patrick realized they were getting a wolf instead of a regular dog during the car ride.

Georgina named the puppy Kuna, and they formed a strong bond. However, raising Kuna took work. Georgina had expectations of how a regular dog should behave, but the wolf in Kuna made things different.

Nova, a snow white wolfdog at the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary, playing with an orange Pomeranian
Nova, a wolfdog at the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary, playing with a Pomeranian | Rocky Mountain Outlook

Georgina learned to accept Kuna for who she was and recognized her unrealistic expectations. This experience led Georgina to educate people and dispel myths about wolfdogs, which became one of the principles of the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary.

The sanctuary opened in 2011 on Georgina’s childhood property near Canmore. They had five wolfdogs initially and provided tours and education to visitors.

Due to zoning issues, the sanctuary relocated to a 160-acre plot near Cochrane in 2014. Over the years, the sanctuary grew, and the team expanded to include dedicated animal lovers.

Georgina aims to offer a permanent home to wolfdogs, rescue more, and continue educating people about these unique animals. Currently, the sanctuary provides 43 wolfdogs with a permanent home. 

Georgina’s recent project, Wolfdog Awareness, aims to provide comprehensive and accurate information about wolfdogs.

With the sanctuary and Wolfdog Awareness, Georgina is dedicated to helping these animals and promoting understanding among people for many years to come.

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