Carol Sanchez has big plans for her 4 Corners Wolf Dog Rescue Sanctuary.
She recently purchased 80 acres of land near Cuba, New Mexico, where she plans to move 16 wolf-dog hybrids she is tending on her own 2-acre property in San Juan County, north of Farmington.
“These dogs like to roam. They’re inquisitive. They don’t like to be enclosed, and we don’t have enough space,” she said.
In preparation for the move, Sanchez will move her 2nd Hand Wolf Thrift Store & Gift Shop from its current 1,200-square-foot shop in the San Juan Plaza in Farmington on East 20th Street to a location three times the size in the same strip mall.
The store raises anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 a month to support 4 Corners Wolf Dog Rescue Sanctuary Inc. It serves as the nonprofit’s largest source of financial support, Sanchez said.
“Since we opened the store about a year ago, it has really helped,” she said. “When people find out about our mission, and all the money goes to rescue animals, they’re very supportive of us.”
The thrift store plans a grand reopening from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
The bigger store will support the land purchase to move the sanctuary to the Jemez Mountains near Cuba, where Sanchez would like to provide the 16 animals she now cares for about a half acre for each pair to live and wander. The animals are currently in smaller enclosures on Sanchez’s 2-acre San Juan County property.
“We’d like to move by spring, and we want to generate revenue for the move,” Sanchez said. “The new place will have trees. It’s at 7,000 feet in elevation. We’ll have snow. The dogs will love it.”
Ideally, Sanchez said, people would stop breeding wolf-dog hybrids.
She said the history of her animals usually traces back to people who don’t research the nature of a wolf-dog hybrid and can’t handle the animal once they bring them home as pets.
“They’re high-energy and have a high prey drive,” she said. “They don’t do well with children and small animals.”
She added the animals are curious and like to roam and are hard to keep contained to a yard – even 6-foot-high fences are frequently defeated by the animals.
“They’re inquisitive and they like to keep their minds occupied. They like to explore,” she said.
Many breeders, she said, exaggerate the amount of wolf DNA in a wolf-dog hybrid to get a higher price on a puppy.
But even a small amount of wolf DNA makes the dogs difficult to keep as pets, she said.
“If it we’re up to me, no one would breed dogs with wolves,” she said. “Most of our dogs have come from several homes, multiple adoptions where it hasn’t worked out. Most people don’t know what they’re getting into. Many times, these dogs are euthanized because shelters can’t adopt them. But we try to save them.”