From online cats with more charisma than A-list celebs to hamsters caught mid-gnaw on an oversized carrot, the internet never fails to be a treasure trove of unforgettable pet encounters. But this story stands out because of the rather hairy circumstance of misidentifying a supposed 'lost dog' that was actually a wolf.
Picture it: One fine day Jasmine Quinonez crossed paths with a creature of such shaggy grandeur, it might as well have stepped out of a fairy tale. It was large and fluffy, an oversized teddy bear but with notably more teeth and a far better coat. Taking to TikTok, Jasmine posted a video of her heartwarming encounter, showing the world how the 'dog' she had found even started playing with her and a friend in a way that you would recognize from seeing dogs play.
You might think she'd adopted a long-lost husky or an unusually large malamute, but the plot, much like the creature's fur, thickened.
Turns out, Jasmine's fluffy companion wasn't a fan of fetch or belly rubs. Instead, its interests probably lied in the direction of roaming the wild and howling at the moon. Soon after Jasmine spotted a social media warning, a cautionary note that made her heart skip a beat. It warned of a 'wolf on the loose.'
Launched on August 1, this video, with a twist as wild as the creature it showcased, saw an internet fame that would make any influencer green with envy. Boasting over 20.4 million views and a whopping 4.2 million likes, Jasmine's saga quickly snowballed into an international sensation. The internet, as it does, reacted with a mix of shock, horror, and wolf puns.
Spectators began to wager if this might be an instance of a pet wolfdog mistaken for a wolf. 'Wolfdog,' for those less attuned to the canid family tree, is a hybrid creature, a crossbreed between a domestic dog and a wolf.
This wolfdog incident that blew up the internet is yet another example of humans mistaking random animals for dogs though, it happens enough that it has become an entertaining internet trope, and one urban legend called "The Mexican Pet" involves a woman on vacation who takes pity on what she thinks is a stray, hairless dog in dire shape. However, things take a bizarre turn when the animal turns out to be a massive, sewer-dwelling rat. Though amusing, this particular tale is likely just a fun story, but there are true stories of people confusing animals for dogs do exist, and they are just as hilarious!
The Fox in Sheep's Clothing
In May 2018, a woman purchased what she believed was a Japanese Spitz puppy from a pet shop in China. With its long, pointed snout and fluffy coat, the animal seemed like an adorable addition to the household. However, within three months, the "puppy" stopped eating dog food and sprouted a long tail. Strangely, it never barked. As it turns out, the woman had unknowingly brought home an Arctic fox, which the Japanese Spitz closely resembles. The furry critter found its new forever home behind fencing at the zoo's fox habitat.
The Lion that Roared... Like a Dog
Imagine the panic that gripped citizens of Norfolk, Virginia in 2013 when numerous calls to 911 reported a lion on the loose within the city limits. One caller even described it as a "baby lion," while another likened its size to a Labrador retriever. The reality? The "lion" was none other than Charlie, a regal-looking Labradoodle with a fabulous mane and a grooming style that could rival a sports mascot at Old Dominion University.
Coyote in Disguise
One day, a resident of Bartlett, Illinois, spotted a cowering animal on a busy roadway and immediately thought it was a lost dog. Taking the seemingly stray pup to the local police department, they were in for a surprise. The animal turned out to be a baby coyote! The little fellow was safely taken to Willowbrook Wildlife for proper care and protection.
The Not-So-Tibetan Mastiff
In 2016, a family in China eagerly adopted what they believed was a noble Tibetan Mastiff puppy. Imagine their surprise when the adorable puppy they thought they adopted had grown into an Asiatic black bear cub, reaching a whopping 250 pounds in just a few months. With a penchant for standing on its hind legs, this "puppy" was far from being a domesticated dog. The family sought help from authorities, and the bear was relocated to a sanctuary, considering it is a protected species in China.
Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
Even the most unsuspecting individuals can fall prey to the charm of a mischievous wolf. In 2016, a man from Arizona responded to an ad offering a free "puppy" and took the furry creature home. The man, completely oblivious, named him Neo. Little did he know, Neo wasn't your ordinary canine; he avoided eye contact and had no interest in dog treats. When the man built a fence to keep Neo from mingling with the neighborhood dogs, the animal's true identity was revealed. Neo was, in fact, a wolf—an illegal pet without proper permits. Thankfully, Neo found a new home in a sanctuary called Wolf Connection.
After being around dogs my whole life, I like to think that I would not be one of these people who accidentally mistakes a random wild animal for a dog, if a canine looking animal I came across looked funny I would be suspicious, especially after writing this article. Remember folks, if you come across any strange looking animals in the wild, identify them correctly before trying to play with them, or take them into your home!