We are so glad you could join us for the news that occurred in July! We have officially passed the first half of the year and are collectively amazed by how fast 2017 is whizzing by. In July, we received a beautiful new wolf-dog rescue, said ‘see ya later’ to Brittany Leigh Chiapetti, welcomed two new volunteers and two returning volunteers, helped out an adorable coyote pup in need of transportation, and continued visiting different locations for the purpose of education and awareness. This mid-summer issue of the Monthly Howl will cover all of that and more, so thanks for tuning in!
In general our sanctuary houses between 60-75 rescues throughout a year and up until just recently, we had our hands comfortably full with 66. However, this month has bumped that number up to 67 with the smooth rescue of a high content wolf-dog, originally named “Koda”. This stunning guy was rescued from a loving home within Colorado suburbia; unfortunately, he had been upsetting the neighbors due to his howling. The reports of howling earned him a few red flags with animal control right off the bat when his neighbors reported this totally natural behavior. This plight completely touched our hearts, as howling is such a fundamental behavior in the emotional well-being of a wolf. This poor guy was being chastised for doing something so innate that we felt strongly about getting him into a more suitable situation, one that catered to his natural behaviors.
“Koda” was located about 11 hours away from Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary, tucked in Idleville, CO. Crystal, our Assistant Director, and I (Ramon) traveled the distance to rescue him. This was not only our first rescue together but the first rescue in a very long time that our Director, Leyton Cougar, was not a part of. Upon our arrival, it was clear that “Koda’s” owner was (and is) very closely attached to him. The gentleman considered “Koda” to be his “fur kid” and loved him very dearly, making this a hard decision for him to make. Letting his handsome fellow go was an act of love because he knew that “Koda” would be much happier and comfortable surrounded by his own kind at Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary, but also that his life would no longer be in danger due to the complaints made on his songs.
A few other things immediately stuck out to us when we arrived to “Koda’s” original home. Instantly, we could see that he was indeed a very “wolfy” animal, a high content for sure; sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish the content level of an animal by the photos alone. Surprisingly, the yard “Koda” had been held in was surrounded by 4 foot fencing, with no history of attempted escape! At WSWS, an 8 foot high fence is the bare minimum for our habitats; it was shocking to see that he had decided to stay put all this time. When we entered his yard we immediately noticed a strong curiosity and puppy like playfulness, which makes sense for his age of 2 years old. Wolves and wolf-dogs generally mature slowly and it can actually take up to four years to become a full adult (behaviorally) so it was natural to see this wolf-dog behaving like a young pup. Despite the fact that he was playful and curious, “Koda” was still exceptionally skittish and wary of the new people inside his home.
When the time came to get him into our transportation van we weren’t sure what to expect. Considering his content level, as well as the size of his teeth (which seem to be the biggest at the sanctuary in this moment), we were set up for a number of different outcomes. Thankfully, with coaxing from Crystal and his owner, “Koda” went into the van without much hassle. Throughout our 11 hour drive back to the sanctuary he was surprisingly calm and relaxed. It was a long drive that day, and by the time we arrived it was quite late at night. Since it was too dark to see much of anything, we left our new rescue to “chill” in the van overnight. We wanted his energy calm before transitioning him into his new habitat, and early the next day, Crystal went to the van alone and was able to get a slip lead on him. Together, a few senior staff members created a human wall between the van’s side door and the sub enclosure of his new home. Once we were all ready, Crystal transitioned him from the van into the sub enclosure, proceeding with exquisite skill and a lot of caution to take the slip lead off of him. A few warning bites were thrown out of fear, but he wasn’t committed to hurting anyone, so in the end it all went very well and he was safe in his new home. So far, he shows curiosity toward people, but is still too nervous to come up for interaction. As with all of our rescues, we will provide him with a lifetime of sanctuary, understanding, and care. We will have to change his name as his name sounds too similar to four of our other rescues, making it confusing for radio calls between staff and volunteers. We also hope to introduce rescue, Honey, to him for companionship in the near future!
On top of saying goodbye to our volunteer/Wolf Kitchen Supervisor of 7 months, Brittany Chiapetti, we welcomed two new volunteers, as well as two returning volunteers. Mckenzie Stribling and Tom Neider have come back to commit a year, and we could not be more thrilled to have them back. We are always happy to welcome back hard working people with nothing but positive feedback from everyone around them. We are also saying a happy ‘Hello!’ to Kaity Moody and Tiffany Bock, our two new volunteers that have eagerly passed their training and each additional step along the way. Our excitement to see what they will bring to the table during their stay is palpable, and we are just as grateful that they decided to come and serve the animals here.
With the help of folks like you, Leyton was able to help a lucky coyote pup who came into an unfortunate situation. A gentleman in Deming, New Mexico, encountered a very young coyote that had been abandoned, so he decided to take him home, bottle feed him, and nurse the little guy back to health. Not many people would be willing to do that and not everybody would have the skill set, which is why in these situations it’s always best to call your local Wildlife Center and seek their advice and help. However, once the coyote had regained sufficient strength and vitality, it was time for this young coyote to find a proper home. Since coyotes are quite the acrobats, we did not have the facilities needed to properly house another coyote. We wanted to help find him a solution, so we transported him to a rehab facility in Texas. There, he will be worked with in order to release him back into his natural habitat, which is the ultimate success for a wild animal! The drive was a smooth success and we were thrilled to partake in a situation that helped an animal be re-released into their natural habitat.
This month wasn’t as busy in our education department, but as usual, we did remain active to some degree in educational outreach. During July we visited two different libraries and as would be expected, the wolves were a huge hit. During one of them, our WSWS superstar, Flurry, decided that he was going to pick the most comfortable cushion in a children’s reading room and plop down, so that the program participants he deemed worthy could approach and meet him. Everyone enjoyed themselves and of course, Flurry enjoyed all of the attention! Both programs were a success with over 200 attendees educated about wolves, wolf-dogs, and the need to leave them wild!
Howl-o-ween is one of our most anticipated and celebrated events. For many years, we have gone all out and offered guests spooky night tours and haunted houses, which required weeks to prepare. This year, we’re going to keep it simple and focused on the “heart” of our Howl-o-ween event; our campfire ceremony. This ceremony involves the stories of our recently deceased animals and also the release of their ashes into the flame, as a heartfelt goodbye to their souls. It is one of the most beautiful events we host here and draws out the best memories of each animal we miss dearly. Normally, we hold this event towards the last few days of October, however this year we will be doing it earlier than usual due to a variety of factors. We’ll post details about the event on our website and will share it on our social media soon. In the meantime, plan on joining us on October 21st for our Open House/Howl-o-ween for free standard tours and discounted Ambassador Meet & Greets!