The Apex Pack


Taboo was rescued by Paula and Steve in 2010 while they volunteered at a local wolfdog rescue. Taboo’s owner lost his job during the recession and then his house, forcing his family to give up everything and move into a small apartment where wolfdogs were not allowed. Not being able to find a new home for her, he told a neighbor that he was afraid he would have to take her to a shelter. The neighbor contacted the rescue immediately for help.

When Taboo was rescued, she was only a year old. Because of her wild nature, she had spent a lot of time tied to a tree in the backyard. Paula and Steve took her under their wings and jumped to the task of socializing her, which was not easy. Not having much exposure to the outside world, Taboo was afraid of many things and lacked confidence. Eventually, Paula and Steve adopted her full-time and she became part of their family.

Since then, Taboo has grown into a confident, loving leader, taking on the Alpha or “mama” role of the Apex pack, guiding and teaching the others proper canine etiquette. She also has the ability to be gentle and playful with creatures of all sizes.


Merlin was rescued from Phoenix, AZ by Steve and Paula while working at a local wolfdog rescue. He had been raised and cared for by a very responsible, loving wolfdog owner who began to suffer from a debilitating illness that hindered his ability to care for Merlin. As he became weaker, Merlin instinctively felt the need to step into the Alpha position and became more and more difficult to handle. Merlin continued his challenging behavior once arriving at the rescue. Perhaps it was his observing the connection between Steve and his owner when being picked up, but Merlin immediately bonded with Steve. Over the last few years, Merlin’s bond with Paula and Steve and the Apex Team has deepened, allowing him to learn to trust and love.

Merlin’s love of people shines through and every day he gains confidence and makes new friends of all ages.


Kona came from an owner who did everything in his power to give him the best life a wolfdog could have. He was very well cared for and loved. Having difficulty finding work in his field locally, it became necessary for his owner to take work out of state where Kona could not join him. He looked diligently for a safe place for Kona to live, eventually finding Apex through friends in the wolfdog community.

Kona is very outgoing and loves people, making him a wonderful wolf and wolfdog ambassador, teaching people about the beautiful energy wolves possess and how important it is that we protect them.


Thor and Loki were rescued in 2015 at the age of three and a half weeks old from a breeder going out of business. Their mother, being very sick and needing emergency care, was unable to nurse. She was immediately taken to intensive care where she stayed for a week and the pups were immediately brought to Apex. It is very rare for a rescue to receive such young pups and it took around-the-clock care from the entire Apex Team to raise these little characters. Today, Thor and Loki are bringing laughter and joy to everyone they meet, dispelling fear and misconceptions, and teaching people of all ages how wonderful these magnificent creatures are. Their mother recovered beautifully under the care of a loving foster and is now living happily at a rescue in Sonoma, CA.

Thor’s nature is sweet and gentle. He loves people and will never pass up a snuggle. He has an adventurous spirit and loves to run and explore on his daily hikes.

Loki’s a little shyer of people but is definitely the comedian when strangers aren’t around. He is also starting to take more of a leadership position within the pack.



Sarge lost his home in Oregon in 2016 at the age of 7 due to a domestic situation. Right before the family moved out of the house, he fell from the top of a children’s jungle gym in the backyard, severely breaking his back right leg. The family was unable to take him with them and, because of the recent circumstances, couldn’t afford the surgery required, so he was forced to live alone in the back of the vacated house in a 6×6 kennel to prevent him from moving too much. For over a month, a family member would visit once a day to feed and let him out to go to the bathroom while they looked desperately for a new home for Sarge. That’s when Apex received notice from the national wolfdog rescue network. He was a difficult rescue because of the expensive surgery that was needed and no one was coming forward. Time was running out for Sarge. If no one rescued him soon, he would have to be taken to the shelter where he would be put to sleep. Apex was not in a position financially to take an animal under these conditions but the clock was ticking and we couldn’t stand by and not do something. So we made the decision to take a leap of faith and rescue him. Days before he was to go to the shelter, we picked him up and brought him home to Apex. As soon as our community learned of his story, they came together to help and with one special angel named Barbara from Sedona, AZ, Sarge was able to get the surgery he needed. He had an excellent surgeon who was able to restructure his leg with a titanium plate. Sarge began rebuilding his strength with gentle walks and now, fully healed, is running in the hills and playing with his friends Loki and Thor. Since his recovery, he’s also blossomed into one of our top ambassadors, making sure he gives everyone he meets his undivided attention - and lots of kisses.


On a dark night in 2015, young Riggs was seen roaming a suburban Oklahoma neighborhood and animal control was called. They darted him and took him immediately to a local gassing facility where he was given 48 hours before death. A colleague reached out to us hoping that we could help and put us in touch with Freedom’s Song Wolf Rescue and Sanctuary in Oklahoma. Not having the space to rescue him themselves, they were working feverishly to save him before his euthanization by reaching out to as many contacts as they could. With the extremely short amount of time given, we immediately decided to bring him to Apex. Within hours, we rented a van and three of our team members started off on the 19-hour journey to Oklahoma. Once picking him up from the gassing facility, the team drove back without stopping. He arrived extremely malnourished and scared. He was also a complete wildling with little socialization but incredibly loving. The team – human and wolfdog – immediately went to work on helping the little guy acclimate. Today, Riggs is still a wildling, teasing and testing the rest of his pack relentlessly, and incredibly loving, never missing an opportunity to spend quality time with his human pack.


In the late months of 2018, Apex joined forces with several other small non-profit rescues to save over 180 wolfdogs and northern breed mixes from an out-of-control breeding facility in Northern California. It was one of the largest rescue missions of its kind and, in the end, with only a 30-day window and everyone working around the clock, every animal was successfully saved before the county came in to euthanize them all. Ryder was one of those 180.

At only a couple of weeks old, Ryder’s mother killed several of her littermates and tried to kill her. (Mothers in stress or who are sick will sometimes do this). Luckily, she was unsuccessful with Ryder but her neck still needed stitches. The first group of animals Apex transported to safety was made up of all of the mothers, puppies, and pregnant females. Because of the situation with her mother, Ryder couldn’t ride with her and the rest of her siblings. Instead, she howled and howled a tiny baby howl in a crate by herself the first leg of the journey. The Apex team couldn’t take it so they brought her up front to ride with them the rest of the way, hence the name “Ryder”. Ryder slept curled up in one of the team member’s laps for the next 700 miles.

When Ryder arrived at the rescue that would rehab and readopt them, she tested positive for a debilitating disease and had to remain in isolation for six weeks while she received treatment. Luckily, she never exhibited any serious signs of the illness and gained full recovery. By that point, the entire Apex team had fallen in love with this little survivor and knew she would make a perfect addition to the pack. Ryder’s strength and independent, feisty personality brings us all so much joy, her femininity brings balance to a male-heavy pack, and she reminds us daily of what feats can be accomplished when we work together.