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HOLMBERG: Perhaps the ‘white wolf’ of Chesterfield mystery is solved

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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WTVR)--The minute we starting posting and airing photos Tuesday evening of a wolflike creature ranging through a large section of southern Chesterfield County, we started getting calls, emails and Facebook postings.

Lots of folks have seen what many have called a  white wolf. Others believe it to be just a big shepherd, husky mix.

According to Chesterfield County Animal Control, there is a large white canine that is ghosting through the area.

“He or she is really trucking, so to speak,” said Rob Leinberger with Chesterfield Animal Control. It has been seen from the area just south of the Courthouse to Whitehouse Road, almost to Colonial Heights.

We were sent photos and well-wishes for the mysterious ranger, including those who believed the animal to be a good omen – a positive spirit, “a lucky wolf’ that should be hunted with cameras only.

And we heard from animal lovers ripping us for even doing the story, certain someone was going to overreact and harm the hound or hunt it for sport.

We heard from a woman who is certain the canine is her beloved lost Siberian husky, but that MIA dog has one blue and one brown eye.

The white rover appears to have yellowish brown eyes.

And we heard all the way from Boise, Idaho, from a mountain man who believes the white wolf is his hybrid – one of three that escaped in Chesterfield during a thunderstorm here three and a half years ago, when he was here visiting a badly burned relative.

The other two hybrids were located.

“But Dooley was nowhere to be found,” said Robert Clanton, who grew up in Chesterfield.  “And I searched, God, for three weeks. Looking for that dog all over southern Chesterfield County”

He even returned to Chesterfield from Idaho to search again when the missing wolfdog was reportedly spotted some weeks later. His brother, a local resident, also called us, telling the same story.

Clanton says Dooley, who had yellowish-brown eyes,  would be about 10 years old and “about 60 percent gray wolf and the rest a mix of Siberian husky and white German shepherd. He said he would come to Richmond in a minute if the white wolf is his dog.

Could someone have taken it in when he lost it , then recently tired of it? Huskies and hybrids are notorious escape artists and roamers.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Chesterfield Animal Control hasn’t heard from a resident reporting such a creature as missing. One resident known to keep similar wolfdogs isn’t missing any of his, Leinberger said.

Is the mysterious Chester roamer Dooley? Or some other critter than has escaped from home? Or a  high-maintenance pet someone dumped?

Leinberger said they’ve received plenty of calls about the creature. Animal control officers have been trying to capture it, like any roving  canine, but the closest they’ve come is about 15 or 20 feet. “This animal has wanted no parts of us and simply just takes off.”

He said their crew believes it to be a mixed husky/shepherd, perhaps a hybrid.

But the precise origin and bloodlines of this creature remains as slippery as it is.

Wolves fled this man-infested part of the country more than a century ago. If it is wolf or part-wolf, it was likely a human behind its appearance here in the Old Dominion.

We spoke with residents who have seen it  just loafing around their yards or neighborhoods, or heard it howling at night. It seems friendly to other dogs and is just kind of drifting around.

Common observations are its abnormally large size and its distinctive, wolf-like lope. Clanton said the way the hound’s tail curls is a “dead-ringer” for old Dooley.

“We’ve had no indication that this animal has been aggressive or acted aggressively at all,” Leinberger said. He said anyone shooting the dog would be breaking the law.

They’re not overly alarmed at animal control when it comes to this long-distance loper.

They’ll even roll with a little ribbing about the mystery canine that has eluded them, seemingly bringing a little holiday cheer to a lot of folks cheering on the White Wolf of Chesterfield.

I think many of us admire the spirit of the wolf, and would like to do a little roaming ourselves in  a world that seems evermore tightly controlled and pressurized.


  • M.L. Adams

    This critter does, indeed, appear to roam far and wide! He/She has appeared in the Beulah Farms/Fuqua Farms neighborhood, just off of Hopkins Road/Beulah Road intersection, every three or four months since we moved here two-and-a-half years ago. To be honest, I always thought animal either had an irresponsible owner, who allowed the roaming, or that the dog was one of those clever ‘escape artists’ who populate the canine community. The dog always appears clean, well groomed and well fed. He’s always friendly, even with the neighborhood dogs, simply sniffing them through the fence at them while they’re barking. I’ve tried to get close enough to see if he has a collar/ID tags but, as the animal control people have found out, he does shy away from actual contact with humans. Maybe he’s the reincarnation of ‘Black Dog’ and simply decided to switch neighborhoods and come over to ‘God’s Country!’

    • karen

      I love what you said about the reincarnation of black dog! I was thinking the same thing as I read the article! Haha! Both dogs seem to have a knack for eluding the animal control folks thats for sure! Black dog used to come by our house alllll the time. I think our dog may have b33n a romantic interest of his. (She was a stray that we took in for a little while)

  • Yaminah Spangler

    I posted just yesterday of seeing a white wolf on the back roads when heading home from s. Chesterfield to Colonial Heights around 9pm. I slowed the truck and stared in amazement. Never seen a wolf in the wild but is by far one of my favorite animals since a child. I wanted to back up turn the car and grab a picture but it wouldnt have been safe that late on a back country road. But it was absolutely beautiful and a sight I am so fortunate to have had. A creature so amazing, not in captivity/free, and so close to home.

  • Pulsator

    Legend has it if you see a white wolf you get magical gifts from our American Indian ancestors. This is true because a neighbor spotted one a few years ago and now he can fly and transport himself to other places instantly. If spotted it’s best to coat yourself in peanut butter (or Nutella) and be still.


      …And just make sure when you do coat yourself in Peanut butter or (Nutella) and being still make sure you VINE THAT! and write on the subject bar: My Vessel Receiving “Magical Gifts” from the WHITE WOLF!

  • Kiana Cunningham

    Has anyone considered using a blowdart to capture this guy? Just thinking that if he gets within fifteen to twenty feet that might be a viable option. If he is a wolf then it would be a shame to see him go into captivity but I think it’d be safer for him there. I’d hate to think of someone freaking out and accidentally shooting the poor guy!

    • EJ

      Animal Control officer told me it takes 20 minutes for the tranquilizer to take effect. Animal can cover a lot of ground in that time.

  • Jeff

    Let him roam free. He’s not bothering anyone, and he’s a beautiful creature that we don’t have anymore in these parts.

  • Suzie

    Leave him or her alone. No harm is being done. Why can’t humans just enjoy what God has created instead of trying to destroy it.

  • Cindy

    They are beautiful,friendly very lovable dogs,I hope she gets her special fiend home soon.. I had one years ago.i loved that dog very much. My heart goes out to her..

  • Aethyr Wolf

    I saw a wolf dog here with pure white fur and no owner but then again my friend has a pet wol that may have taken by hunters. poor baby came to see wolfy my friend and that was last time wolfy saw the wolf and the family he had with him..

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