January & February – 2018

Hello everybody! Due to a variety of extraneous circumstances, we are combining the January and February Monthly Howl into one large post. It has been a busy beginning to 2018! There are many changes taking place. If you haven’t already noticed, we are excited to share that we have released our brand new website, which can be found here! A serious medical condition was discovered in one of our rescues, low-content wolfdog, Rayne. The Flicker saga-drama has, at least temporarily, come to an end, because she has finally been moved into her new mega enclosure! We said goodbye to a few long-term volunteers, and have welcomed a new one. Executive Director, Leyton, helped transport a coyote in need to a new shelter. Last, but not least, we have altered the structure of our specialty tours and the nature of what we offer to the public.



Unfortunately, the most pertinent news is of the recent diagnosis of cancer in our low-content wolfdog, Rayne. Rayne was presenting symptoms of extreme lethargy and tiredness, and Animal Care Supervisor, Rae, knew something was wrong immediately.  He was promptly taken into the vet where an abnormality in his red blood cells was discovered. The first veterinarian diagnosed him with an autoimmune, red blood cell disorder, and suggested the therapeutic recommendation of a blood transfusion.  Upon his visit to a specialist that same day, the real cause of his abnormal blood readings was discovered: an erupted splenic mass. The spleen was completely removed and they found that it was riddled with tumors. We later found out that the tumors were malignant and that the prognosis wasn’t great; we would have Rayne for no more than six months.  Our hearts are heavy and were more so after the news, as his partner, the infamous Flicker, was just introduced back into his enclosure with him. At the very least, we take solace in knowing he will have companionship and lots of love from us for the remainder of his life. We will do the best that we can for him for as long as he is with us.


For those of you regularly following our updates, you no doubt have heard some of the issues we had containing the escape artist, our low-content wolfdog, Flicker. Despite all the challenges we have faced keeping her contained, it appears as though we have finally found success! Her new enclosure has been reinforced with fence lines that go out 6 FT horizontally, and are 10 feet high. The photo below this paragraph showcases what we are talking about. Contrary to her initial arrival here, she is a lot less interested in escaping at this point, so the fact that she is not fighting to escape her enclosure also helps.  After many months of feeding, care and safety, it appears that she has at least somewhat learned that we are here to help and not harm. We were thrilled to see her move into this larger space and finally get to watch her zoom around the habitat with her new companion and neighbors! It was such a great sight to see.


The volunteer pool has shifted in the last two months. We said goodbye to three long-term volunteers who worked diligently for the rescues: Madeline Harrington, Molly Shaw and Meghan O’Keefe. We appreciate all they did while they were here and will miss them. We wish them the best on their next chapters of life!


We welcomed Alex D’Amico to the pack! Before coming to WSWS, he volunteered at a Llama sanctuary. He will be here for six months working in both the Animal Care and Building & Maintenance departments. Since his arrival in January, Alex has shown exceptional qualities of the volunteer we love seeing around here! We are excited to see what he will bring to the table throughout the rest of his stay.


We are very happy to report that we launched our new website!  After a whole year in the making, we have done enough work that it is ready for the public. Budgetary restrictions have been a long time issue for us, especially for departments outside of Animal Care. However, with the pro-bono work Felipe Gonzales provided, along with the help of longtime staff member, Georgia Cougar, and volunteers, Madeline Harrington and Paul Koch, we finally have this beautiful website for all to see. We felt that in today’s internet driven world we needed to step up the professionalism and quality of our website as its typically the first thing people see before visiting WSWS. We are entirely grateful for everyone’s help on this important, long overdue task! Although the new website is live, please be aware that we are still working behind the scenes to flush out broken links and unfinished pages. We expect the management of the website will be a full time job! Check it out here!

Encounters capture

We love interacting with the public through our educational programs, standard tours and specialty encounters. Specialty encounters are intimate, onsite experiences with one or several of our social rescues. Specialty encounters have been available for years but are not always easy to provide because it requires significant training to become a Qualified Animal Handler, and animals that actually want to interact with the public are few and far between. Since our Wolf Ambassadors are over 11 years old, we are taking steps to alleviate their workload. Although we have always left it up to the animal to decide if they’d like to do an encounter or presentation, we felt it best to provide other opportunities to our guests. We are now offering Education Presentations that will include three different species: the Australian dingo, the New Guinea singing dog and wolf OR a wolfdog. These presentations will be hands-off and we have been preparing an area of our compound for the sole purpose of the presentations.

Educational presentation capture

These presentations will also allow us to educate multiple families in one day as we are leaving these opportunities open for 20 slots to be filled on Fridays and Saturdays. We are now providing the opportunity for guests to meet a dingo or a singing dog with our Singer/Dingo Encounters! Most of our dingoes and singers are social critters and love to meet people – therefore these encounters will be hands-on. We will still continue to offer Feeding Tours, Photo Tours (hands-off), K9 Encounters (hands-on) and Wolf Walks, however Wolf Walks may be done with a wolf OR a wolfdog, and we will NOT guarantee interactions. Along with these changes, we have also made some adjustments to scheduling formats. For more information, please give us a call or visit our website! At the moment, we are not scheduling off-site Education Programs. We are working toward programs that will no longer need the presence of a live wolf; however, this will be flushed out before the end of the year.


Director, Leyton, and volunteer, Steve, helped a coyote in January. Remington, the coyote from Georgia, was found in a family’s garden. They believed he was no more than two days old as his umbilical cord was still intact and his eyes were still closed. They also saw that the poor pup had several puncture wounds and that his tail had been chewed on by an animal. It can only be speculated that he was taken from his den/birth site by an animal, and for some reason, the animal wasn’t able to finish the job. Thankfully, the family took him into their home, believing him to be a dog. Within a few weeks, they quickly realized that he was in fact a coyote! Remington lived with this family for about two years, but they knew they couldn’t keep him forever as it’s illegal to own a coyote in the state of GA. They decided to find him a permanent and safe home and sought out help for placement. Having our hands full with our own coyotes and not having an extra space for a new one, we could not take him in, but we offered our assistance with transportation once we learned that placement had been found in Arizona. Leyton and Steve drove to Georgia to pick up Remington and drove him out to AZ where he now happily resides!




2 thoughts on “January & February – 2018

  1. I enjoyed reading the blog & have enjoyed watching “Wolf Daddy” on TV. We have scheduled a tour & overnight stay with you in June. We are so excited to see the Singers. This will be the highlight of our vacation. Until we meet, keep howling. Marti Repic

    Liked by 1 person

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