Thank you for joining us for the closing issue of 2017! Collectively, 2017 was a challenging year and we so appreciate you all for sticking around to follow our adventures at Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary. In this issue of the Monthly Howl we will touch on some of the animal stories that we released throughout the year and update you on their current status. Updates will be given on Yuni & Maine, Flicker, Honey, Flurry, Draco, Lyca, Bono and Angel. Before we go into those, we’d like to present a few numbers to fill you in on some of the things we have been able to accomplish in the year 2017.
- We served over 17,440 meals to our rescues.
- We educated over 5,000 people (this includes tours, encounters and Education Presentations).
- We provided sanctuary to over 65 wild spirited canines.
- We performed over 35 critical medical procedures.
- We rescued 5 new rescues.
- We drove over 8,284 miles in order rescue animals in need.
- We drove over 15,088 miles in order to acquire meat for our rescues.
- We were donated 3 gently used vehicles.
- With a grant, we were able to gravel 1 mile of dirt road to our Retreat Center.
- We significantly upgraded 8 animal habitats.
We are so incredibly thankful for everyone who donated funds and time to our rescues’ care and wellbeing! We could not have done any of it without your help!
Yuni & Maine
In the fall, coyotes Yuni and Maine began experiencing tension leading up to the coyote’s breeding season. Although we pride ourselves in the care of wolves and wolf-dogs, we found that we had some learning to do when it came to captive coyotes! We learned that coyotes need to be able to engage with one another during mating season in order to bond with each other. Our friends at the Indiana Coyote Rescue Center suggested that the female coyote remain intact and the male coyote be given a vasectomy to allow for their normal courting behaviors during the season. However, both of our coyotes were already spayed and neutered and due to his age, Maine had no experience with courting. Unfortunately, the tension rose to unacceptable levels, leaving Maine with small injuries, and we made the decision to separate them before he became seriously injured.
At the moment, Yuni is living in a temporary 20×10 enclosure that was constructed inside their habitat, allowing them to interact with one another through the fence. It is unclear whether we will be able to work towards re-introducing them, but in the meantime, Yuni enjoys leashed walks and play time with Maine. After months of being apart, the interactions between the two seem to be playful again. We will be talking to the experts at the ICRC to see if they have any suggestions for us. Although at this time they are living somewhat separate lives, we are hopeful that we will be able to find an arrangement that suits them both. It’s possible that they might be able to live together the majority of year and be separated during breeding season – however, we’re not certain yet. Either way, we will continue to give them the best care we can provide!
Earlier in the year, we rescued a frightened, low-content wolf dog, named Flicker. We hoped she’d be a great match for resident, Rayne, but within an hour, she climbed out of their shared habitat! With the help of some students, we were able to capture her and placed her into a smaller enclosure with a roof as a temporary measure. Less than a week later, she climbed out of that enclosure, bending steel bars during this second escape. Once again, we captured her, but it became painfully clear that Flicker would not be contained by any traditional habitat! (explain traditional habitat briefly?) We immediately created a plan to modify Rayne’s existing habitat and began to put it into action.
We had hoped that the project would have been finished shortly after we initiated it, but unfortunately, we faced limited resources and a few challenges to get it done swiftly. It has been difficult for all of us to witness Flicker contained in a temporary habitat while Rayne lives alone where she’s meant to frolic with him. Rayne’s caretakers frequently take him to visit Flicker throughout the week to establish and maintain their friendship in preparation for her release into his habitat. Staff met with each other and deemed Flicker’s habitat the number 1 priority over any other project, barring emergencies. Since that meeting, we are much closer to the day that Flicker gets to run around in her large space!
Although Flicker has been with us for a while, she has not become very social to humans, but loves it when our rescues visit the one acre enrichment habitat that she lives next to. Thankfully, she’s become used to our routine and seems to understand that no one here wants to hurt her. She loves feeding time and enjoys singing along with the other rescues! As Flicker’s story continues to unfold, we will keep you all updated.
Flicker has helped us better understand how to contain animals that are really good at escaping our traditional habitats. It seems that our low-content wolf dog rescues that have more dog in them than wolf, and potentially more husky than anything, are the master escape artists! The goal of improving Flicker’s habitat not only benefits her, but it will also benefit Honey. If our habitat improvements prove to be sufficient to contain Flicker, then we will modify a habitat close to Flicker’s with the exact adjustments.
Honey, a low-content wolf dog, was rescued around the same time Flicker arrived. Originally named Sloane, her name was changed after staff spent some time with her and felt Honey would be a perfect fit. Originally, the intent was to rescue Honey until we could find the proper placement for her, so she was moved into a 20×20 enclosure until that placement came through. However, Honey proved instantly that no habitat of ours would even contain her. Thankfully, the temporary enclosure she was placed into had a roof!
There isn’t much known about Honey’s history other than she was running loose in a neighborhood for over 7 months. When we rescued her, it was guessed that she wasn’t more than a year and a half old. It’s clear that Honey had very little socialization to humans, if any. She’s been with us for as long as Flicker has, and where Flicker has learned that we’re not out to get her, Honey’s anxiety is palpable when anyone walks past her habitat. It’s not uncommon for us to rescue shy, non-socialized animals, but within a few months, they all seem to calm a bit and become accustomed to our strict routine. Some animals take months to open up to us, others take years and some never come around, and that’s ok!
As soon as Flicker proves to us that our work can indeed contain her, we will immediately get to work on Honey’s new habitat. We hope that with a large space and potentially a male companion, she too will learn that we’re not the bad guys. We are crossing our fingers and hope for the day that Honey will begin to trust us.
10 year old wolf ambassador, Flurry, experienced a rough ending to the year 2017, but he was also immensely lucky. Flurry suffered from and survived bloat, or gastric torsion. Gastric torsion is a major killer of barrel chested canines and most often than not, takes their life. While at an Outreach event in Arizona, Flurry’s survival depended on a combination of the keen eye and quick decisions made by our Assistant Director. We are ever so grateful to the emergency team at the Blue Ridge Pet Clinic in AZ who helped save Flurry’s life that day! Although he lost some of his characteristic youthful, “happy-go-lucky” vitality since the event, he recovered quite well from the surgery. Due to this and the difference in his mood as of late, Flurry’s ambassador duties will slow down drastically.
Wolf dog, Lyca, arrived almost a year after her siblings Quinn and Leia were rescued from CA. When she arrived via helicopter, Lyca was very unsure of her new surroundings and the people who walked around her new home. She was very shy, especially towards men, but in the first two weeks, most women spooked her too. In less than a year, Lyca has blossomed into a social, very playful and easily excitable rescue. It has been a great transformation to bear witness to! She is still a bit weary to strangers, but when given the opportunity to warm up, she becomes a “flying” wolf dog, wanting to dive into anyone’s face that may not be giving her as much attention as she’d prefer! She has been living with her brother, Quinn, and the two seem to have a blast with one another’s company.
In the summer of 2017, Bono began limping heavily on one of his front legs. Not only were we concerned for Bono, we were concerned about the feces we were finding in his habitat that he shares with Reba and Princess. New Guinea Singing Dogs have sensitive digestive tracts and through further research, we found that many of the NGSDs that were rescued from the same place the Trio had been rescued had passed away from EPI (exocrine pancreatic insufficiency) or other digestive complications. Our vet partners at TLC Pet Hospital continuously worked with us ruling out any other causes to the unhealthy feces we were finding. We tried different diets to accommodate them when everything else turned up negative and oddly enough, found that a basic kibble diet was what they were in need of. So long as this new diet continues to work for them, we will continue to monitor their health on this front.
X-rays revealed that Bono was suffering from severe osteoarthritis. Bono is only 7 years old and the vet found it odd how unwell he was aging, but considered his bloodline as a factor. Since his diagnosis, Bono has been receiving anti-inflammatory supplements and medications to relieve the pain, monthly injections of Adequan and goes out on at least two leashed walks a week. The combination seems to be doing the trick for Bono as he’s not limping as heavily as he was last summer and the leashed walks forces him to use his leg to build up muscle around the joints. We’re incredibly thankful for our vet team and for their input on how to manage Bono’s pain!
High-content wolf dog, Draco, was rescued from Colorado in the summer of 2017. He’s settled in but has not come out of his shell just yet. As mentioned before, we’re used to rescuing shy animals and some take longer than others. Draco seems to be in his curious phase at the moment. Although he doesn’t seem to want human interaction just yet, he will often be seen watching the other rescues interact with their caretakers. Now that he’s used to our routine, his unique character is beginning to shine through and he has begun to initiate play with our Assistant Director – play bowing and then running around his habitat – which she deems a positive sign.
Our thoughts are to pair him with Honey as soon as his habitat is modified to contain her, but we have some planning to do if we’re going to begin construction in his habitat. Since he’s not social and doesn’t appear to becoming so just yet, we don’t want to stress him out during the construction and have his positive steps toward socialness backslide. Plans are still in the works, but we hope to reach a solution for his partnership soon.