Rafiki, whose name means “friend” in Swahili, was a stray feral dog who wound up at the local Humane Society shelter while still quite young. Believing her to be a wolfdog because of her vaguely wolfy appearance and her feral behavior, the shelter contacted SFWS for placement.
Rafiki is very gentle and sweet towards humans, and loves getting “tickle time” from her two-legged friends. But since she lived on the street early in life, from the start she has been extremely skittish, particularly of strangers. For a long time she was only comfortable in one corner of her shift pen. Rafiki took on the role of surrogate mother to the two pups, Romulus and Remus, when they arrived in 2009. They ran and played together and she was always sure to teach them the proper way to talk to others. With this experience, Rafiki blossomed into a wonderful, loving mother, and gained lots of confidence in the process!
More recently, we continued to work with Rafiki on expanding her comfort zone, encouraging her to leave her corner to get petted. She has made exceptional progress, and now approaches strangers (albeit cautiously) and runs up to get pets through the fence! We are so proud of her!