Wolves and Warriors: Combat Vets and Rescued Wolves Healing Each Other

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Today’s Guest

Dr Lorin Lindner and Matt Simmons from Wolves and Warriors

My guests today are Dr. Lorin Lindner and Matt Simmons of the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center (LARC). The Lockwood Animal Rescue Center offers a therapeutic work environment for returning combat veterans, and a forever home to wolves, wolf-dogs, coyotes, horses, parrots and other animals that are no longer able to cope in their natural environment.

In their Wolves and Warriors program, veterans care for the wolves and wolf-dogs in the sanctuary, and the relationships that develop often lead to healing from traumas eventuating from combat, or from being injured and unable to cope in their natural habitat – be it the human world, or the wolf world.

Often our veterans find it difficult to talk about their own trauma and their own feelings during therapy sessions. Learn how this special partnership with their paired wolf helps them to express themselves through their bonded wolf.

You’ll Hear About

  • [02:19] The Lockwood Animal Rescue Center (LARC) and the very special reason LARC is not open to the public
  • [10:35] How wolves show the subtle differences between envy and jealousy
  • [14:00] The difference between dominance and aggression
  • [06:00] How Veterans and Wolves are paired up
  • [13:24] Warriors protecting wolves
  • [16:30] The puppy-like behavior of one of the most dominant wolves at LARC
  • [07:00] One interesting way this relationship assists in therapy
  • [19:30] Whether wolf packs are patriarchal or matriarchal
  • [22:00] Significant similarities between dogs and wolves
  • [23:00] The myth that wolves are dangerous to humans
  • [24:45] The sad problem when we try to breed wolf-dogs for pets
  • [27:30] Whether wolves have the range of personality types that dogs do
  • [29:20] Differences between wolves and dogs
  • [31:40] When working with wolves gets scary
  • [35:20] Identifying a connection between a wolf and a veteran
  • [39:30] How YOU can help the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center

How You Can Help

Right now, an incredibly generous supporter has offered to match all gifts, up to $50,000 to help the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center Fundraiser get through this crisis! That means your vital, emergency donation will be DOUBLED to have twice the impact.

Click here before July 31, 2020, to DOUBLE your donation

Links & Resources

If you’re interested in learning more about the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center, check out this video:

Watch sneak peeks of Wolves and Warriors HERE

Learn more by tuning into the podcast!

Thanks for listening—and again, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes / Spotify to get automatic updates.


~Doggy Dan 🙂

Voiceover: Welcome to the Doggy Dan Podcast Show, helping you unleash the greatness within your dog.
Doggy Dan:


Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Doggy Dan Podcast Show. Today I’m so excited to have two wonderful people with me, Dr. Lorin Lindner and Matt Simmons. Dr. Linda is a clinical psychologist. She’s the author of Birds of a Feather, a true story of love, hope and the healing power of animals. She and her US Navy veteran husband, Matt Simmons founded the Warriors and Wolves Program, and the Wolf Sanctuary which allows for combat veterans to care for rescued animals at the sanctuary in the mountains above Los Angeles.


So this program was the focus of an eight episode docu-series on Animal Planet earlier this year. Now Matt Simmons is the director of operations. He was heavily involved in the launching of Warrior and Wolves Program, specifically, creating cross species support programs, building habitats for wolves, coyotes, all this sort of stuff. He’s got well over 10,000 hours of hands-on work with wolves, carnivores, wild animals, and loads more. Also, he was a member of Operation Desert Storm Desert Shield. He is a decorated US Navy Petty Officer. So you can see why I’m so excited to have these two wonderful people with me today. So welcome, Dr. Lorin Lindner and Matt Simmons. Good to have you here.
Matt Simmons: Good to have you here. Yeah, you might have some questions about how we end up with wolves and combat veterans, and what’s the similarity between the two.

Doggy Dan:

Yeah, you got it. You got it. Go for gold. How did it all come about Yeah, that’s kind of one of my very personal questions. I can’t wait to hear about your hands-on experience of the differences and the similarities. But let’s start with the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center, for people who have no idea, who have never heard of it before. Can you say how it came about, and what it is, and what happens?
Matt Simmons:


Sure. So one of the amazing things here at the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center is that we are not open to the public. We are a place of healing for both the veterans who work here and the animals who find sanctuary here. In America, a zoo, a roadside zoo, a sanctuary that charges ticket prices at the front door, a lot of times they’re putting their animals in an uncomfortable situation and putting them on display. We understand that all vertebrates, all animals suffer trauma the same way. Whether it’s a human, an elephant or a wolf.
[00:03:00] One big part of that healing process is getting a chance to be alone, getting the chance to be immersed in nature, getting a chance to be who you really are. That’s why Lockwood is so unique. Lockwood is a place of healing. It’s closed to the public. We do have some great supporters out there, people who follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and TikTok, and all that stuff. But what goes on here is a place of healing. So it was born out of a place of love, and it was born as a place of healing. That’s why the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center is so unique.
Doggy Dan: Wow. I totally get it. Yeah.

Dr. Lorin Lindn…:

Dan, one of the other things that makes Lockwood Animal Rescue Center so unique is that both the animals and the veterans have experienced trauma, and they’re both recovering from it. It’s not just that the dog acts in service to the veterans. They’re both healing from trauma, and they both actually heal each other. It’s a mutually healing experience, which is one of the things I love about it.
Doggy Dan: Yes.

Matt Simmons:


Most sanctuaries are set up, there’s small cages, there’s drop-down feed doors, you push the food in, you flip the water buckets, and you move on. Here at Lockwood, we have between one and three acre enclosures. They roll through the mountains, there’s natural trees and water in most of the enclosures. What we do is we allow the animals to select their caregivers. So it’s not like, “Hey Joe, you’re going to do one through nine. Hey Frank, you’re going to do 10 through 20.” We actually allow the animals to select the person they’re going to walk this road with, and then we support that selection. We support that growth as both the animal and the veteran heal together.
Doggy Dan: So for those people who still haven’t got it, because some of our listeners are outside of the US where it becomes even more remote about the word “vets” like where I’m from in New Zealand, the word “vets” actually means veterinarians. So just to clarify, the vets for people in the UK especially, vets are actually war veterans. Can you just dig into that a little bit?
Matt Simmons:



Sure. Sure. Sure. So yeah, what we mean when we say vets, we’re talking about war veterans. We’re talking about coursing predators in the form of combat soldiers who go out into the wilds, whether that’s the Middle East or Afghanistan, and they protect democracy and freedom. We find that the wolves here in North America and Canada do the same thing. So we have the coursing predator, the wolf that protects the native landscape and the waterways, and helps to move the herbivores from one place to another, picking the good from the bad. Combat veterans sign up to do the same thing for our nation. That’s why we’ve paired them together here at Lockwood Animal Rescue Center.
Doggy Dan: Yeah. Beautiful. I read somewhere or heard somebody say, “Inside every wolf is a warrior,” which yeah, beautiful.
Matt Simmons: Or inside every man, there’s two wolves, you got to be careful which one you listen to.
Doggy Dan:


Yeah, absolutely. I totally get it. I had a cat, which was the same. I actually made a song about my dear cat. He was a little Irish. He’s a little battler, and he’s tough. Then he’s also this absolute lover, and he was that balance, which is in a lot of it. 

Tell me, how do the wolves choose their caregivers? You touched on that. How do you go about that? Yeah, I’m just fascinated.

Matt Simmons:


Yeah, I mean, so, what we do … To make this clear for your listeners, when a combat veteran shows up here, and initially gets here for the first week or two, they do things like food prep, they move around outside the enclosures. They’re given a treat bag, we address some of the animals that come up to the enclosure, and we watch behavior. What happens a lot of times is there’s a wolf, for example, here at LARC, his name is Yoli. We’ve had him for about 10 years. He incredibly dislikes me. He and I had a run in when we first rescued him when he was very young. But if Yoli were to select, let’s say Bill to be his caregiver, we would then bring additional staff over, we would have someone support him in the enclosure. We would start the process of them meeting each other in a very safe environment.
[00:07:00] A safe environment to do that is with supportive staff in a two-acre enclosure, and then a lot of times that animal that selects that combat veteran becomes a gateway or a talking point in therapy. So many veterans suffering from trauma don’t want to say exactly how they feel. But one of them might say, “Well, Yoli is having a rough day today. Yoli’s not getting along with Virginia today.” We can dive into that knowing that’s a foil of his own emotions or a reflection of his own emotions.

Doggy Dan:

Wow. That’s just blown my mind right up. I get it. Yeah. It’s always easier to talk about other people, isn’t it? Yeah.
Matt Simmons:



Well, it is. Wolves, dogs have some amazing traits. But wolves are the masters when it comes to reading facial structure, reading expressions, looking at body language, smelling pheromones, and doing stuff like that. It’s an amazing, amazing process by which they assess their situation and assess everybody in their environment. They’re much more in tune, and they’re much more selective. A dog generalizes. So in other words, most dogs are good to most people. There are a few exceptions, you need special dog trainers, stuff like that. But with wolves, it’s the exact opposite. They might only bond to one person they might only bond to one caregiver. They might only bond to one of the combat veterans. We have to be very careful supporting that relationship because we know that animal is healing while the veteran caring for them is healing as well.
Doggy Dan:


Wow, you got me excited there just thinking of a wolf being even … You’re sort of saying that it’s almost like their senses are even more amplified and more … They’re more aware. They’re more able with their senses to gauge facial expressions you’re saying? That fascinates me.
Matt Simmons:


Yeah, well, they’ve actually been given more gifts than dogs when it comes to reflecting facial expressions. So for example, when a dog smiles or makes an expression, all of his whiskers either go back or forward. A wolf actually has three separate muscles in each side of his cheek so that he can move the whiskers independently, he can contort his face more. He can smile, he can grin. He could put his head down, he can move his eyes by moving his jaw line up and down.
So they actually have this when you pay attention, and you work closely with them. You can see so many different variations of their facial structure and how they express themselves. With things, nuances, the difference between jealousy and envy, you can see in their face.
Doggy Dan: What?
Matt Simmons:


The difference between dominance and aggression, you can see in their face. You can tell when they’re making a bluster, as we say in America, putting it all out there and trying to act tough when deep down inside, based on the way they’re moving their tail and their legs that they’re actually scared. There’s just a lot more expressiveness to a wolf than there is to any dog. I mean, you have to understand, even when we talk about dogs, we talked about some of the ancient breeds that have been around for thousands of years, wolves have been around since the beginning.
Doggy Dan: Yeah.
Matt Simmons: They are the ancient breed.
Doggy Dan:


So you talk about jealousy and envy. Can you touch on that? I barely know the difference myself, if I’m really honest, jealousy and envy. Can you help me out? Then just touch on, or if it’s easier to do the aggression… I think you said dominance and aggression, did you say?
Matt Simmons:


Yeah, we’ll do the hard one first. So we’ll do the difference between jealousy and envy. Okay, envy for all of us Homo-Sapiens is wanting what someone else has, and jealousy is the desire or the follow through to claim that or to grasp that or try to achieve that. So envy is something internally that makes us feel bad, right? Jealousy is something that might make you feel bad, but a lot of times, it makes people achieve more. I want to be like so-and-so. I want to be as good as this trainer, I want to be as good as this other person. So it can work both ways.


So an example with a wolf, when a wolf is jealous, he’ll stand sideways against the fence line, kind of snarl off his shoulder, and almost entreat the other animal to get closer in the hopes that they’re going to be able to mimic that behavior or be more like that animal. Okay, so that’s an example of that. When it’s [envy], it’s usually head on pose, their head’s down, almost like a crouching dog, arched back, there’s a snarl to their face and a snap that follows then. That’s their way of saying like, “That’s mine. I want that,” rather than, “I’m going to imitate you or be like you or want to be near you, close to you to replicate what you’re doing.”
Doggy Dan: Wow.

Matt Simmons:

With a dog, you don’t get those small differences. With a dog, it’s either they’re on or off. They want or they don’t want. They’re very food-driven. One thing I should tell you, one reason you know there’s so much more complexity to wolves, wolves are the only animals that will starve themselves to avoid a conflict.
Doggy Dan: Whoa.
Matt Simmons:


We look at them as these big, monstrous killing machines, and they do all this stuff. Really that’s not true. Most of what they do is being a coursing predator. But when they know they can’t win a fight, they’ll actually rather die than get into that fight.
Doggy Dan: Wow. Yeah. Yeah. There’s a lot of misunderstandings with the wolves, I get it. So much that we think we know about them is almost the exact opposite. We’ve almost been programmed with this fear of them when they actually … They’re so full of love.
Matt Simmons:


Yeah, I mean, a lot of the fears come from the old stories, going to grandmother’s house, looking at your big bad teeth … Those were all stories brought over with people who wore belt buckles on their hats in North America. The reason they brought those stories to them is that they wanted to have cattle and do open range. It all ties kind of back to the beef industry. Even in America now, many of the fights between preserving native space for wolves comes up against ranchers and comes up against cattlemen.
[00:13:30] That’s something that through the months of December and March, these combat veterans I’m telling you about who find their heart, and find their love, and find a place of healing here at LARC, fall in love with the wolf, understand how important the wolf is. They set out for months on end into some of the harshest conditions in North America to protect wild wolves from poaching. We support that program.
Doggy Dan: Wow.
Matt Simmons: That’s what the Wolves and Warriors do when we’re out in nature.
Doggy Dan:


Wow. So I want to talk about the dominance in the aggression stuff, but I also want to keep moving. There’s so much more to talk about. Well, can you touch on that dominance and aggression?
Matt Simmons: Sure. Dominance from a wolf can come in two different forms, it can come in an aggressive way and a corrective way. Dominance with a dog a lot of times … Well, I’ll stay with the wolf. Dominance with a wolf is usually the head over the shoulders from a side position, kind of pressing the dog down. It’s not like a Malamute, who jumps on top of a dog and tries to sit on the dog. That dominance is something that’s shown in a corrective way.


Aggression, on the other hand, is something that’s like flipping a light switch. That’s why we have to be so careful when we make these pairings because we have unrelated animals. We have animals we rescued from Alaska, animals we rescued from Mexico, animals we rescued from Washington, from New York. These are animals that are thousands of miles apart and genetically diverse. So we have to be very careful when we pair them up. That’s why the pairing process takes so long here at LARC, because we’re pairing up animals that never would otherwise come in contact with one another. The difference in dominance is, oftentimes it’s a corrective thing. It’s something they’ve learned from when they were very young. It’s a way that they stay alive. It’s something they respond to very well.



Whereas aggression is right before a fight for your life, right before fight or flee or faint, as we say, for human beings. We do everything in our power to avoid any of those kinds of conflicts here because when an animal can run 40 miles an hour, jump eight feet in the air and has 2,000 pounds of bite pressure in their jaws, you don’t want to get into a conversation about who can who can best who. So that’s why we use huge open closures, and we do enrichment and correcting in the form of beneficial things to the animal, whether that be a treat, whether that be a touch, whether that be allowing them to move from one area to another freely, to make sure that we take that stressor out of the equation.
Doggy Dan: Wow.
Matt Simmons: All my kids are howling in the background, I don’t know if your mic’s picking it up.
Doggy Dan:


No, no, there’s a tiny, sounds like a wolf in the background. It’s beautiful. So I’m sure you’ve seen some very, very moving interactions between the men and the wolves. Is there anything which springs to mind as something which sort of blew your mind in terms of, “Did that really happen? Did I just see that wolf do that, or connect?” Is there anything which springs to mind?
Matt Simmons:


The things that stand out the most for me are the animals that I’ve cared for 10 years that still have a little bit of distrust? For example, we talked about Yoli earlier, he was injured and running free. We had to capture and all that stuff. So there was a whole trauma tied to that. So when he makes relationships with Craig, who works for us, and when Craig goes in the enclosure, Yoli, a roughly 105-pound male wolf, one of the most dominant animals on the property, when all of our animals communicate at night and talk to one another and talk from pack to pack, Yoli is always the last one to chime in, and everyone goes quiet. He’s a trickster. He knows how to use his enclosure to his advantage. But when Craig goes in there, Yoli lays on his back.
Doggy Dan: Wow.

Matt Simmons:


He entreats into his world, and piddles a little on his belly, and kind of rolls like a puppy. This is an animal that’s 11 years old, and has given me a run for my life a few times. The way he reacts to Craig is amazing. Then as a generalization, what I would say is that many of the animals that come here are in fight mode, meaning they’ve just suffered a horrible trauma. They lived on a six-foot chain, they were illegally trapped, they might have been shot. They might have been starved, they might have been illegally bred and had their puppies taken away and mistreated.


So they’re right on the borderline of that fight or flight thing in their brain. Over time, they begin to forgive. One of the very special ones is a black wolf named Rider who lived under a wooden box on a concrete pad in a 10-by-10 cage. He was part of a drug seizure. A lot of times the illegal animal trade runs very parallel or overlaps with the drug trade. He was brought to us, and it took a year. But a couple weeks ago, he started coming up to me. He would allow me to touch him, and rub him. He would play-bow at my feet. It was an amazing moment for me to know that he had finally started to heal.
Doggy Dan:



That’s beautiful. Sometimes it’s when the biggest, toughest, meanest, strongest alpha pack leader, dominant dogs or wolves, it’s when they choose you that you can … I’m talking from my own experience, when they select you and say, “Yes, your heart is in the right place. It’s aligned. So I’ll allow you to rub my tummy,” sort of thing. That is one of the greatest honors I’ve found in life. So I totally get it, to hear Craig’s story of the wolf lying on his back. Can feel it. Wow. Beautiful. Can you tell me what’s the significance of him chiming in last in the howling, that wolf? Do you know what it is?
Matt Simmons:


So the way we understand the hierarchy or the way we used to understand was we used to understand the hierarchy to be patriarchal in a wolf clan. I will tell you by running the sanctuary for the last 10 years, I found out that 90% of all relationships are matriarchal, that they are dominated by the female. But the reason Yoli is the last to talk is, although he doesn’t have direct contact with every animal in the property, we move all of the animals from enclosure to enclosure about every 90 days, and we give them new neighbors and new people to talk to. Everyone on this property in the form of a wolf has met Yoli, and they know who Yoli is. So I think what they’re doing is they’re acquiescing or giving him the respect at night and saying, “Okay, enough screwing around. Yoli said ‘It’s time to be quiet’,” and they all hush up and quieten down.
Doggy Dan: Because there really is, what you’re saying is Yoli is kind of the king. He’s the leader. He’s the top one. Is that right?

Matt Simmons:

Absolutely, man, no doubt at all that he’s the top wolf so to speak.
Doggy Dan: Yeah.
Matt Simmons: Yeah. Yeah.
Doggy Dan: Is he a wolf or a wolf dog or …?
Matt Simmons:


He’s a wolf. He’s a wolf. In America, to explain to your listeners, we don’t have to go down the whole wormhole, but normally, what was considered a wolf dog was half wolf and half dog, meaning one parent was a wolf one parent was a dog. In America to make money, people have begun the breeding of wolf dog to wolf dog and calling them wolf dogs. You get some pretty weird genetic anomalies. For example, if you breed a wolf dog to a wolf based on dominant and recessive genes, you can end up with six puppies, and let’s say, two are dogs, two are wolves, and two are wolf dogs; or you can end up with six of them all kind of meshed up genetically where they might have three or five or 6% dog, which is what a natural wolf would carry genetically anyway.

Doggy Dan:

Got you, got you.
Matt Simmons: So there is no 100% wolf. They’ve been bred back from dogs, wolves sometimes choose to breed with wild dogs, they’ll also occasionally breed with coyotes. So wild wolves do carry a little bit of dog, and even coyote, genetics to them in the wild.
Doggy Dan:


That’s just fascinating. So something which really does fascinate me, and I’m so excited to ask you guys this because you’ve got the hands on experience… In your opinion, what are the key differences and the key similarities between the wolves, and the wolf dogs, and dogs? What stands out for you?
Dr. Lorin Lindn…:


Well, the key similarity is that they are all social beings. They are extremely socially-oriented. They’re pack-oriented. That’s why our dogs were so easy to be domesticated and want to be up by our sides all the time. The fact is that we have a very symbiotic relationship with canines. But with the wolves, of course, they’re much more socially adept at staying away from humans because throughout history, we have persecuted them. We have harassed them, we have slaughtered them, we have driven them to extinction. So they have learned to really pretty-much stay away from us.


All this fear of wolves in the wild is so unfounded. There are so few incidents of wolves ever harming humans that were not directly in their habitat. I mean, we’ve built all up into their habitat. So it’s very difficult to extricate ourselves from that. But even then, they don’t attack us. But the fact is that wolves have found ways to try to stay away from us, although we’re very canny. We do all kinds of things to trap them, and poison them, and kill them because we’re afraid of them. We’ve created all these new myths about how dangerous wolves are to humans, and they’re simply not true. So the fact is that wolves in the wild are not going to come in contact with humans for the most part, unless we’re out trying to capture them. They’re very long legged, they’re very swift.



They have long toes and incredibly hardy, physical natures. They can run for 20 miles at a time. When I say run, they move at a trot. At that trot, they are very, very, swift. They can go quite a ways. They typically in the wild can go … They’ll have about a 400 square mile habitat. So it’s quite large. They’re one of the monogamous species, which is very different from humans. They mate for life, the alpha female and male. When we breed them with dogs to essentially make this new trophy pet that people want, they think it’s cool. They think it’s some kind of tough thing to have.


The fact is that those animals very often are euthanized as soon as they are … They create whatever trouble they’re bound to create, which is jumping over eight foot fences, digging under fences, getting out into the neighborhood, terrorizing the local dogs and cats. So once they’re out doing that, they end up in animal services or like the animal shelters here. They’re euthanized because they cannot be adopted out. In many states, they’re illegal, in many counties they’re illegal. So they’re not allowed to be adopted out and they’re euthanized.



The ones that do live in people’s homes, they create such havoc. They usually are just locked in crates or in garages or in very small areas. They’re just chained up. It’s really a horrible hardship. But these animals have both wolf and dog traits. You can usually distinguish them because they have the small ears. Wolves have very small kind-of rounded ears instead of the pointy tipped ears like a German Shepherd might have. They have very furry ears. Their fur is there to protect them from insects and from the cold. Most wolves have evolved to live in colder climates because we’ve extirpated them from the lower 48 states for the most part, until we reintroduced them back into Yellowstone National Park in the 1990s.



The ears are like a hallmark of a wolf, those rounded fur-filled ears, the long legs, the very long toes, their disproportionately large feet. You look at a wolf’s feet, and you think you’re looking at somebody on stilts. Then they have these big huge feet. They have golden eyes, yeah, their eyes can be spooky. I think that’s part of what scares people, what contributes to the myths, is that these golden eyes, they pierce. They can look right through you. When they’re loving and looking at you with desire for belly rubs and social bonding, it’s all fine and dandy. But if you’re out in the wild and you see those eyes, I can imagine that that would be pretty intimidating. But that’s another hallmark of the wolf.
Doggy Dan: Tell me, in terms of the personalities and behavioral characteristics are they very similar to dogs or what’s the similarity there? I guess what I’m saying is like with people, you get this full spectrum of people from fearful to aggressive to passive to crazy, silly. With dogs, I always say you get the full spectrum. Is it the same with wolves? You get kind of clowns and …

Dr. Lorin Lindn…:


I believe so, and with the wolf-dog as well, the combined nature. I think that for all the hundreds of wolf-dogs that we’ve rescued, I really believe that less than a handful have not wanted to bond with one or another human. They just want to, they want to have a relationship with us. I can’t quite understand it, but they really do. It doesn’t take much, and it’s not based on food. It’s very much not based on food because when they’re anxious, they will not eat. You cannot tempt a wolf or a wolf-dog with food.
Doggy Dan: Wow, that’s amazing just to hear that they just want to connect.
Dr. Lorin Lindn…:


Yeah, yeah. Then they can go for quite a long period of time. They gorge themselves on five to 20 pounds of meat, depending on male, female, and age and so forth. They can go for a good week or more without eating. So you can’t really tempt them with food. The fact is, they want to be physically handled. They want to be rubbed, they want to be petted. They want belly rubs. They want back scratches. I found that almost all the animals I’ve ever interacted with want to interact with me. Even those who have been terribly traumatized. Yeah. It’s quite remarkable.


I don’t recommend it. Don’t try this at home. Don’t attempt to do this yourself and think, “Oh, I’m going to get a wolf-dog puppy, and raise it, and have the greatest relationship.” It’s not what I’m saying, it’s not recommended. These animals, if they don’t end up in sanctuary, they cause tremendous havoc. They’re not good pets.
Doggy Dan: Yeah.
Matt Simmons:


Then also just to tie in with your dog listeners, a lot of people have gone to dog training. They talk about motivating your dog when you’re training it. There’s five levels of dog servitude, right? So there’s pack, there’s if they want to go after prey. There’s all these different levels of servitude that you can use based on the different species or subspecies of dog to train them more efficiently to do a task you want. Whether that’s the task of protection, whether that’s a task of retrieving, and that’s why certain breeds are better at these five levels of servitude.



The difference between a wolf and a dog is before those five levels of servitude get in which the wolf performs all five levels of those levels of servitude within the wolf pack, there’s one most important rule in front of all those, and it’s self-preservation. It’s because the wolf is an independent sentient being. Because of that, no matter how much training you do, no matter what relationship you have with the wolf, no matter whether that wolf has been on a leash a thousand times or been with you for 500 car rides or whatever it might be, when threatened, they’re going to go to Rule Number One. Rule Number One is to preserve themselves. Sometimes that can make for a catastrophic problem with the person nearest to the wolf, when that initial thing gets sounded off, so to speak.
Doggy Dan:


Wow. I was going to ask you, I’ve only had a couple of experiences like this, and I’m sure you’ve had some where … Have you ever been in a situation where or a time where you’ve thought, “Oh, shoot. Oh, no. Uh-oh, uh-oh,” and you think it’s going to go so wrong? Maybe it did or maybe you survived and came out okay? Because I’ve had some with dogs. So have you had any with wolves? Where you thought, “Oh no, this is …?”
Matt Simmons:



Yeah. Yoli. We talked about him earlier. Yoli got to a point where he used to show a lot of aggression to me when I would try to enter the enclosure. Basically, I didn’t go into the enclosure. Right? I would ask other staff that had a relationship with him. Then when he got to be about six or seven years old, he got a little more coy. What he would do is he would walk out into the middle of his two-acre enclosure, lie down in the high grass, and act like he didn’t care at all whether I was there. Then he would slowly move between the door and me. Once he did that, he would drop his head, his snarl would come out, his tail would come up and he would start moving in my direction. I spent the better part of an afternoon on top of a den box in the middle of a tree in his enclosure, waiting for the staff to come get me.
Doggy Dan: Wow, because you just can’t tell if he’s serious or not I guess, eh?
Matt Simmons:


Well, like I said earlier, I don’t want to get into an argument where I have to find out. But yeah, he’s done that a few times. Then a lot of these animals that we rescue, we have to perform an immediate medical procedure. We have to knock them out. We have to get them into the vet hospital, and that’s always a real touchy moment. An animal you’d never put hands on before that you’ve knocked out. With dogs, a lot of times, every time I’ve ever seen, you administer a certain amount of medication and the dog goes to sleep. With wolves, sometimes they fight it. Other times they kind of play possum. So they go down even though they’re not down, and you put a stretcher under them, pick them up, start carrying them into the hospital. Next thing you know, they’re kind of up and moving in your direction.

Doggy Dan:

Oh wow. That’s quite hilarious. Well, not funny, but yeah, yeah, I can feel it. Like you say. they’re clever. They’re intelligent. They’re smart. They like to play, they like to joke, eh?
Matt Simmons: Yeah, they like to test the boundaries of their environment.
Doggy Dan:


Brilliant, brilliant. So something I’m also fascinated with is the ability of these animals to read the psychological state of the vets.
Matt Simmons: Yeah.
Doggy Dan: And the emotional state. I mean, I know how my dogs can read me. What goes on there from a psychologist’s, a clinical psychologist’s point of view, maybe, how do you work with that, Dr. Lindner in terms of matching up the vets, matching up the correct vets with the correct dogs, is there a …?
Dr. Lorin Lindn…:


Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s wonderful. It’s very easy for me because the animal does it. I don’t have to do it at all.
Doggy Dan: Brilliant.
Dr. Lorin Lindn…:


I know that for the new vets who are just up here for the first time, and they really don’t have a lot of experience with dogs, we can always rely on good old Nikki, or Huey, or Willow to be a good ambassador. They will always allow us body scratches, they’ll roll over and lay down for the veteran. So I always know that if worse comes to worse, I can always bring a vet in with Nikki who’s largely German Shepherd. She’s maybe 50-50. But even some of the higher content animals, higher wolf content like Huey who’s more like 65% wolf, I know he’ll still be very accommodating to someone.
[00:35:30] But it’s truthfully the veteran on his own who starts making the rounds and doing the simple things like dog poop pickup because that’s essential, and doing the feeding, and doing the water trough sterilization, and filling the troughs up with water, that certain animals will gravitate and we’ll say, “This animal seems to really like you.” Sometimes they’ll be flat out receptive right from the start, and won’t be receptive to anyone else.


They make this choice. Matt has a theory about it, but they make a choice because there’s something that they know that they relate to. Remember that all vertebrates experience trauma in the same way, we all have the same axis of fear that we respond to physiologically in the same way. So they make these choices based on their own experiences. I can’t really speak to that. But these animals have been traumatized as have the veterans been. They make a relationship based on a growing foundation of trust which is, obviously, the bottom line for any relationship.
Doggy Dan:


Yeah. An electrician came to my house just yesterday to talk about getting some internet fiber put in. He wants to get a puppy. He was saying, “What breed should I get? Where should I get it? I said, “Have you ever thought about turning up at a rescue center and just letting that …” Because he’s got young children. I said, “If you just, at the rescue center, just let the puppies and the dogs whatever. Let them select and choose you, you’ll know which ones connect,” and –  great way to do it.
Dr. Lorin Lindn…: Exactly. So important that you talked to him about rescuing, so important.
Doggy Dan: Yes, totally.
Dr. Lorin Lindn…: That you embrace rescuing, number one. There’s hundreds of thousands of animals put down in the United States every year just because they were irresponsibly bred and then there’s no homes for them.

Doggy Dan:

Yes, yes. Tell me, Matt, what’s your theory on the connection that we were just talking about, Dr. Lindner, mentioned you have a theory on why some wolf dogs, dogs?
Matt Simmons:


Yeah, my big theory is veterans when we get home, I’m sorry, combat veterans, for those people in London who don’t know what we’re talking about, not doctors. When they get home, they’ve lost something very close to them. They’ve lost a friend. They’re suffering from trauma. They’re not sure how to express themselves. They’ve got an inner war raging inside of their head. That’s the difference between the husband who left and the infantry man who comes home. Those two worlds are colliding inside this veteran. Here at Lockwood, we have wolves that have that same inner turmoil suffering inside of them. They were once free, they once roamed free.


They should, as my wife says, run 400 miles, and they’re caught in a cage. They have to figure out this argument that’s going on in their head between socializing with humans and sharing their space with us. Many of the veterans coming home have this same trauma and struggle going on inside their head, wondering if they’re an infantry man or wondering if they’re a husband. I think that duality inside both those suffering traumatized species draws them to one another. They’re both looking for an answer in the other. They’re looking to reflect from the other back into them as to what they might be or how they can heal.
I think that’s why the veteran is so drawn to the wolf, and the wolf is so drawn to the veteran. That’s why we see these amazing pairings where animals we would never suspect come out of the back of a three-acre enclosure, walk down to a fence, and choose to spend time with Joey or choose to spend time with Albert. We never saw that relationship coming, but now we understand the animal better by who they selected to care for them.
Doggy Dan: Wow.
[00:39:30] Hey guys, that has just been absolutely fantastic. So for people who want to help out, who are fascinated, who are saying, “What can I do to help,” where can they go? How can they best help?
Matt Simmons:



The best way to help us to save a wolf and save a human life at the same time is to go to our website which is LockwoodARC.org or you can follow us on Twitter at @LARCwolves, or you can follow us on Instagram at wolvesandwarriors, which is our Instagram handle, talks about the veterans and the wolves. Every little bit helps. Right now, we’ve got a big fundraising campaign going on. We’ve got a donor who’s matching everyone dollar for dollar, 100%. So if you give us $10, it’s $20. If you give us $50, it’s $100. So we’d love for all your listeners to be part of this fundraising campaign and make it a really great year for the wolf in 2020 here at the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center.
Doggy Dan: Wow, you can double your money, guys. So if you put your money over here, you’re going to double it, somebody’s going to match it. Have you got a Facebook page where people can follow as well?
Matt Simmons: Yeah. We do. We have a Facebook page called Lockwood Animal Rescue Center, and then we have a separate Facebook page for the Wolves and the Warrior stories called Wolves and Warriors on Facebook.

Doggy Dan:


Great, I do follow you on Facebook. I just wanted to double check I was getting the correct Facebook group because I watched your videos. They’re beautiful, guys, anyone on Facebook. 

Yeah. Hey guys, thank you so, so much. All the links that Matt’s just mentioned, they will be on my website. So anyone you know who knows me or wants to go to the OnlineDogTrainer.com, the links to the Facebook page, the Twitter, all the videos, how to donate, links to LockwoodARC.org. 

Wow, guys. I don’t know what to say other than if I wasn’t a dog behaviorist, I’d love to do what you do. Yeah.

Matt Simmons:


Hey, and if you can’t donate or you’re not sure if you believe in us yet, check out our TV show Wolves and Warriors on Amazon Go. You can also download it on your local cable subscriber, you get a chance to really look at our lives. It’s eight episodes, they’re an hour long. It shows some of the amazing work, running into fires, rescuing wolves, and tigers, and bears. Really great group of guys, really great crew. We’re all in America staying in COVID lockdown. So if you want to check out our show, tune into Wolves and Warriors. We might have a new episode coming out in July. More to come about that on our website and our social media feed.
Doggy Dan: Brilliant. Hey Matt, I love the show. I’ve been watching bits and pieces here, there and everywhere. Yeah. Dr. Lindner, Matt, thank you so, so much.
Dr. Lorin Lindn…: Thank you, Dan.

Doggy Dan:

It’s been an absolute pleasure. Yeah, like I was saying, I just love your work.
Dr. Lorin Lindn…: Thank you.
Doggy Dan: Yeah. Thank you guys. Take care. Have a great day.
Dr. Lorin Lindn…: You too.
Matt Simmons: Thank you.
Dr. Lorin Lindn…: Thank you.
Matt Simmons: So much.
Doggy Dan:


So there you go, guys. You’ve been listening to another episode of the Doggy Dan Podcast Show. That was Dr. Lorin Lindner and Matt Simmons from the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center. What a fantastic place, what a beautiful place, what beautiful people doing amazing, amazing work there, saving the lives of wolves and helping veterans overcome their trauma. Thank you, guys. Of course, if you’re interested, if you’ve enjoyed the show, remember to subscribe, do go to my website where you can find out more about LockwoodARC.org. Have a great day. Love your dog and see you on the next show.
Voiceover: You’ve been listening to another episode of The Doggy Dan Podcast Show, bringing you one step closer to creating harmony with your dog.
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Doggy Dan

Doggy Dan is the founder of The Online Dog Trainer, a wildly successful online training program for dog owners. His goal is to continue to share his unique approach to dog training with like-minded people who wish to make a difference in the world of dogs. His training methods focus on creating and building the connection between dogs and dog owners, and are shared and used around the world.

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