The founder of Pets First Nationwide wants to be the voice of animals.
“The dogs I’ve had for years are technically called wolfdogs,” Pinon said. “I was always getting messages and questions about them, so that’s why I started the organization.”
The wolfhound breed is technically a combination of several breeds and northern wolves. They can be controversial because while they can be good pets, they can also be troublesome if not trained properly.
“Our organization is all about education before buying any animal,” Pinon said. “If people actually know what they’re buying, they can decide not to buy, and that would start to reduce animal husbandry and ultimately reduce the number of animals that need to be saved.”
Pinon says many animals sold online, in particular, are misrepresented. This includes wolfdogs, but can also include more exotic animals like tigers and cubs.
“You can’t just buy a bear cub online and take it home without first knowing how to care for it,” Pinon said. “Most people have no idea what’s going on inside a bear’s head.”
This is an extreme example, as most people probably wouldn’t bring a wild animal into their home. However, wolfdogs sometimes have a higher percentage of wolves, and Pinon said people need to know the facts about what they are getting and bringing home.
“What got me into the breed was ignorance,” Pinon said. “I was in my twenties, I had a great job and I could go anywhere and wanted a challenge.”
Pinon thought a pit bull or Rottweiler would give him this challenge, but he spotted an ad for wolfdog puppies and immediately thought it would be cool to have one.
“I’m like everyone else,” Pinon said. “When I got my first wolfdog, I didn’t know much about them.”
All dog breeds are actually descended from wolves and are genetically the same species. For this reason, a dog and a wolf can mate and produce offspring that will have characteristics of both wolf and dog breed in varying proportions. Most wolfdogs are a combination of Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, or German Shepherd.
“A lot of people see them as a status symbol,” Pinon said. “Money is also a determining factor, as is ego.”
After getting several wolfdogs, Pinon said he realized they didn’t suit his lifestyle. But he knew he couldn’t just throw the dogs away.
“People buy animals and if they don’t work for them, they end up rehoming them,” Pinon said.
And that’s what he and his organization hope to prevent. He wants to teach people that when you buy a puppy or an animal, you agree to raise that animal until it dies.
Pets First Nationwide’s mission is to be a voice for those who have no voice and cannot be heard.
“There are too many people mistreating animals,” Pinon said. “If we’re not trying to help and do something to change that, then we’re not human.”
Part of what Pinon and his organization do is take the wolfdogs out in public and allow people to socialize with them. Many of his animals look 100% like wolves, which can be unsettling.
“We host events on our property and invite people to come ask questions and interact with our animals,” Pinon said.
Pinon said that although he has wolf dogs, he doesn’t want people to think he’s promoting the breed through Pets First Nationwide. Its goal is to work closely with humane societies and animal rescues and end puppy mills and the overbreeding of all animals.
“I want the community to understand that this is a movement,” Pinon said. “Everyone should work together for the same cause. Animals don’t choose their fate, so we encourage everyone to watch out for and report animal abuse. We try to improve the lives of animals of all kinds.
For more information, log on to petsfirstnationwide.com