March 2017


Thank you for tuning in for our 3rd issue of 2017! March has been the busiest month of the year so far; it was filled with new developments, adventures, challenges and rewards. We rescued wolfdogs, Sloane and Flicker; our sweet girl, Maki, crossed the Rainbow Bridge; Weekend Warriors from Arizona, New Mexico and Illinois came out and assisted in some of our projects; and last but not least, one of our vets came out for an on-site visit and we received results on Westeros member, Ghost.

On March 10th, Leyton and Crystal headed to Las Vegas, NM to pick up low-content wolfdog, Sloane (Low-content refers to the possibility of her having some wolf in her, but she is mostly dog). The Shelter Director in Las Vegas had seen many so-called “wolfdogs” come into her shelter. When an ACO captured a wolfdog and brought her to the facility, the Director immediately knew that this one was indeed a wolfdog and that she’d need placement with experienced professionals immediately. Thanks to our friends, Sloane’s information and story was shared repeatedly until someone was willing or able to take her in. From what the shelter told us, Sloane was running loose in Las Vegas for about seven months. It is anyone’s guess what her life was like before being captured, but it is apparent that Sloane has no desire to be in “containment”. When Leyton and Crystal first saw her in the shelter, she instantly showed off her climbing skills. Originally, Leyton’s agreement was to transport her and house Sloane until another placement could be found, but Sloane has proven to be a “special case” and may end up being one of our many, wild-spirited rescues. For now, she is alone in a temporary, 6-sided habitat. Sloane’s placement future is uncertain at the moment, as we are acutely aware that she needs a habitat that is 100% escape proof.

Almost one week after Sloane’s arrival, Leyton and Steve brought home, newest rescue, Flicker. In February’s edition of the Monthly Howl, we wrote that Flicker had escaped the home of her previous owner. Flicker’s story is very long, but we will try to give you all of the highlights in a condensed story here, and we hope to give you the full scoop in our next Howling Reporter due in July 2017. You may also watch this video: (video link)


Flicker was purchased from a horrible place in Ravensdale, CA, at five months old. The woman who bought her was looking for a companion animal for her 6 month old dog. She was not prepared for what she encountered when she arrived to the place that had Flicker: 130+ animals, many of them newborns and pups up to 6 months and older; many of the animals completely un-socialized, if not feral; dry water bowls everywhere; an overwhelming amount of animals injured, riddled with worms, paralyzed and so on; and all of them in small enclosures or under old cars, out in the hot desert sun. Even though this was not what the woman had in mind, she could not leave this place without rescuing at least one of those souls. Flicker is now over 2 years old, and although the woman provided a safe space and loving home to Flicker for more than a year, she is still very untrusting of humans. Flicker is extremely “flighty” around humans to the extent that a vet had to prescribe her Prozac! Although the woman loved Flicker and did her best to give Flicker what she needed, she started to look for sanctuaries that could help her and Flicker. Our hope was that she’d be partnered with Rayne, who recently lost his companion, Shasta II.

After Leyton received word that Flicker had escaped her home in CA, he regrouped, kept in touch with the owner, and coordinated with her vet to ensure that sedation was available to him for safe capture when he arrived. On March 14th, Leyton and Steve met with the vet, located Flicker and with the vet’s assistance, were able to dart her and contain her in less than two hours.


The trio arrived back home on March 16th and Flicker was immediately placed into Rayne’s habitat at about 3:30pm. At around 5pm, Building & Maintenance Manager, Mike Francis, went into the habitat to do some maintenance that would prevent her from climbing out. He heard a noise, turned around, and watched Flicker climb out of the habitat as if she were climbing a ladder. With the help of our Weekend Warriors from Armand Hammer United World College and our team, we ensured she could not get out of our perimeter. Long story short, we are grateful that Crystal was able to display non-threatening and submissive body language to Flicker in order to get her hand on her collar and leash Flicker safely. She was placed back into the kennel that she arrived in until she was moved into a large 6-sided habitat on the 21st.

On March 29th, we had an appointment for wolfdogs, Angel and Rain. Being shy, we had to capture Angel in order to get her kenneled and loaded into the transport van. It was the easiest capture any of us had seen, as Angel must have read our minds and literally ran into the kennel on her own. Unfortunately, we overlooked how much stress this would cause Flicker, being that her habitat is adjacent to Angel’s. During our “easy” capture, Flicker bent steel pipes, pulled apart chain link panels and snapped steel wire in order to break out. Thankfully, her temporary habitat is attached to our enclosed one acre habitat, so she was still contained. Thanks to great team effort, we were able to once again, capture her and leash her and kennel her until the temporary habitat was reinforced in ways that we had not thought was necessary.

Flicker has taught us an important lesson and expanded our perception of what an animal that has experienced trauma like Flicker is capable of when wrapped in fear. Because of Flicker, we have a new standard of what a secure habitat truly looks like and from now on, we will ensure new rescues are in “Flicker Proof Habitats”.  We are still waiting on materials to arrive before we can reinforce Rayne’s habitat to ensure it is secure enough for Ms. Flicker. Stay tuned for more on Flicker’s story!

Maki 03-18-07 All (1)

On March 17th, our dear old Maki joined the Big Pack in the Sky. Maki slipped away peacefully in her sleep at age 15. A wolf’s lifespan in the wild is 7-9 years old on average; Maki would have turned 16 in May. We mourn with her longtime companion, Nikki, but take solace in the fact that she was loved and supported by so many wonderful people over the years. We thank you all for helping us give her a beautiful place to live, with great care and good food.

Westeros pack member, Ghost, headed to vet in March, as it seemed he was having trouble eating his meals. We assumed he’d need a dental, but unfortunately, it was discovered that he has stage 3 kidney disease. For human patients with this diagnosis, it’s typical that they are placed on dialysis, however, due to Ghost’s shy nature, this is not feasible. He was sent home with three different medications and suggestions on how to entice him to eat. Although we know Ghost will not survive for years to come, the day-to-day well being of our rescues is a top priority; we will combine our knowledge and resources with our partners at TLC Pet Hospital, in order to make his last days as comfortable and pain free as possible.


In addition to Ghost’s visit, Dr. Gonzales and tech, Michelle, made their way out to the sanctuary for an onsite vet visit. Westeros pack member, Summer, was showing signs of a potential spinal issue and/or digestive issue. If Summer had a degenerative spinal problem, we did not want to risk injury during a capture, so Dr. Gonzales met us with his portable x-ray machine. Since our vet was driving out two and a half hours from the office, we tacked Storm, Flurry and Angel to the onsite vet visit as well.

It turns out Summer does not have any joint problems; in fact, his spine, hips and joints look GREAT! Instead he was diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, anemia and decreased lymphocytes. He was prescribed medication and nutritional supplements for his deficiency in certain nutrients and the prognosis is positive. Summer originally lived with Shaggydog, Jon Snow and Shae, but to better treat him and provide him the medications without fail, we separated him and placed him with Brienne, who had been separated from her pack containing Ghost and Arya. The two seem to be faring well with each other and he has been doing much better with his new regimen.

Flurry received bloodwork and his results came back with no discernable issues. Storm also received bloodwork and the current regimen he’s been on to treat Cushings seems to be working well for him, and thus requires no change. Angel had a lump checked and it was noted to be removed as soon as possible. Originally, Angel was scheduled to get it removed in March, but will have it removed in April.

Whew, t18035611_10211239721767820_242361945_nhis is turning out to be a novel for this month! We won’t be able to cram everything that happened into this post, but we’ll give you some other highlights:

We welcome our new member to the human pack, Josh McNitt. Josh lives in our community and has come on board to help our Building & Maintenance team with the ever-growing list of things to maintain. We are very happy to have him join us!

We presented at three Santa Fe Libraries, a Senior Center in Albuquerque and at Mountain View Middle School last month. We are incredibly thankful that we have brave rescues like Flurry and Quinn who are willing to go out to the public and help us educate people on wolves, wolfdogs and other matters related to their importance in our ecosystem, as well as the tragedies of the exotic pet trade. Thank you all for allowing us to present at your facility!

We send out a huge howling thank you to the  group that came out for a week and helped us prepare Rayne’s habitat for Flicker’s arrival and also helped us begin building smoke and fire proof houses for Lucian/Nymeria and Nakota/Silva. You guys rocked and we truly appreciate your helping us with getting Flicker the first time!

A collectivejj0lom782qddqy505r6r_400x400 howl of thanks goes to the University Of Illinois Spring Break Group for helping us secure Flicker’s temporary habitat, as well as helping us organize our maintenance yard and doing some fire prevention at the Retreat!  We think it’s awesome that you all choose to spend your spring break with us! Thanks!

To the 10+ boy scouts from the “Adventure Crew”, thank you for painting our shower rooms!! There are few things better than a fresh coat of paint to liven things up. J

Thank you, Amy and Gabriel, for coming out again and sprucing up a couple of our picnic tables! We are so thankful to you and love your return trips to the sanctuary!

Last, but most definitely not least, thanks to your support, we were able todrontal pic purchase $1,600 worth of Drontal Plus to cover our 1st deworming of 2017. Drontal Plus is the most efficient dewormer available; however, it is one of the most expensive dewormers on the market. Spring typically marks the end of the hunting season, and since our rescues are fed raw, wild game meat during the winter, it is important for us to ensure our rescues are parasite free. In April, all of the rescues will receive their required dose needed to eliminate parasites such as whipworm, roundworm, tapeworm and other nasty parasites that can be found in the donated game meats we receive. We will make the same purchase again in September to stay true to our bi-annual deworming schedule. If you would like to help us with our next purchase, feel free to email us at or donate here!

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