October 2017

Hello everyone, thanks for joining us for the October issue of the Monthly Howl. This is usually an incredibly busy month that leaves many of us burnt out and exhausted. However, this year we decided to take it a little easy on ourselves and simplify our yearly October process somewhat.  Nevertheless, that does not mean that we were not busy! Wolfdog Quinn made an appearance at the locally hosted yearly event called the Fall Festival. This month we hosted our yearly Howl-o-ween event which had a great turn out. We have been dealing with some intense conflict with two of our coyote’s rescues as their breeding season approaches. We also had members of Navajo Tech University visit us once again to work on Flickers enclosure.


This month we presented ourselves at a very interesting and fun yearly event, which takes place locally and his hosted by the Ancient Way restaurant. It is called the “Fall Festival” and whoever goes on behalf of the sanctuary usually has nothing but positive things to say about the experience. Like the name implies, it is a celebration and honoring of the coming season. It is a lively event with hundreds of people and dozens of vendors in participation.  There is everything from local produce, to artisan soap and even native jewelry for sale. This event usually calls for us to take an ambassador with us, and this year our wolfdog puppy Quinn took on the responsibility. There is usually food for sale at these events, a fact which was apparently not lost on Quinn at all! In turns out that his whole day was fueled by the desire to get a hold of Ancient Way’s signature pulled pork and brisket, which I can personally attest to being absolutely delicious. The sanctuaries participation in this event was shorter than usual because Leyton and Quinn had a scheduled encounter with a guest on property that same day. Quinn performed amazingly at both the jobs we asked him to do and at the moment he proving himself to be an excellent ambassador.


Halloween is usually our biggest event, showcasing a broad range of activities, ranging from pumpkin carving contest to massive haunted houses. Preparation for this event is often excruciatingly demanding, and so this year, due to a variety of factors we decided to keep it simple. Even though we did a lot less  in terms of the overall scheme of things, the response was excellent and we actually had lots of newcomers who had never been here before join us. It was inspiring and motivating to see so many novel faces coming out this far into the wilderness to share the Howl-o-ween experience with us. Those who join us on that day get to experience our night time “fire ceremony” where the executive director himself performs a beautiful ritual saying goodbye to all the animals that have departed us that year. As usual, the ceremony was thoroughly touching and a tear jerker. Every animal is remembered and celebrated with stories about their life and how they came to be with us. There is something majestic and elemental about giving the ashes of our rescues back to the earth with reverence and appreciation for the time they spent with us.


Just like last month, Paris Martin contracted students from Navajo Tech University to come out and stay at the sanctuary in order to assist us with some big and important projects. This time around their focus was on helping us prep the Flicker enclosure. If you have been following us for any length of time, chances are you have caught a whiff of the Flicker ordeal and the challenges we have been facing in actually keeping her contained in one of our regular sized enclosures. Ideas had to be brainstormed, and plans manufactured first, and now we are one the last stage of executing our solution. NTU has actually been instrumental to this process and has taken on the bulk of the work, and we could not be more grateful for their assistance because many of us are tired of seeing flicker live alone in the little habitat that she is in. Hopefully, by next month this long multi-thousand dollar project will be complete and flicker will be content living with her companion Rayne.


Even though Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary puts a large premium on rescuing wolves and wolf dogs, we by no means restrict our open spaces to only those two species, and actually give sanctuary to a variety of wild canines, including dingoes, New Guinea singing dogs, foxes and coyotes. We are experts in what it takes to care for wolves and wolf dogs, but are still learning when it comes to coyotes. We have aquired some important lessons in the last few months. Currently the sanctuary houses four coyotes separated into two pairs of two, and each pair contains one male and female. One of the pairs, which consist of Yuni and Maine has unfortunately suffered a break up and will now have to be permanently separated. The break up has occurred because tensions between these coyotes had been steadily increasing to the point of injury and attack over the last two months.

Upon seeing these dynamics we started consulting coyote experts and sanctuaries; our research paid off and we now understand why their dynamic ultimately shifted from peaceful to hostel in such a short amount of time. It is apparently related to the coyote social structure and how that impacts their behaviors and needs during mating season. Unlike wolves which live in large packs, where only the alpha pair are allowed to mate during breeding season, coyotes appear to live in pairs, or small family units. They generally only enter into pack structures for short amounts of time.


Hence, during mating season most eligible adults get to breed, and more importantly they bond with one another through breeding. Without the ability to mate with one another, the effect is that tensions rise and there is nowhere to ease or discharge them other than in conflict. In captivity this issue is remedied by the proper use of reproductive surgical methods, which in the coyote means giving the male a vasectomy, but leaving both animals sexually intact so that they can mate without breeding. In this situation the male has been neutered and the female has been spayed. It is an unfortunate circumstance, but measures are currently underway to set up a situation for them that can accommodate their need for separation, but without isolation. For an update, check out the up and coming issues of the Monthly Howl!

We thank you so much for joining us and wanting to stay on top of the current happenings. If you already support us, thank howls of gratitude to your generous spirit and if you would like to start, consider supporting us in our mission in one way or another!








September 2017

Hi guys! Again welcome to another release of our Monthly Howl, this time featuring the wonderful and weary events of September 2017. Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary is, for all of our first timers, a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit organization and although we are regulated with the U.S.D.A, everything you will see on a tour is most likely a donation. As a Non-Profit we are not funded by the government and rely solely on our donors and guests to keep our facility open to the public and our animals properly cared for, and this month those donations were greatly needed and appreciated. While in one moment we were receiving voluntary help from our returning Navajo Tech students, in the next, we were fretting over our much-loved arctic wolf, Flurry, as he was rushed into emergency surgery. Our readers, just like you, keep this place going and our sponsors help our animals in emergency situations like Flurry’s. Everyday we are so grateful and look forward to giving back in the form of this newsletter aimed at giving you the details on each month’s ups and downs!


It’s no secret that our volunteers spend most of their days caring for, and worrying about, our animals. They focus their attention on reading body language and interpreting behaviors that may be an animal’s cry of ‘something is wrong with me’. In the event that something comes to someone’s attention we turn to our much loved (and very used) radios to call out these signs and signals so that the proper person is immediately notified. It takes years of knowledge, practice, and talent to be able to read these animals as our experienced staff members do, but there are always the occasional haphazard situations that arise when even the most experienced person is reminded how quickly the cards can turn against an animal. This happened during a routine outreach event at the Woodland Wildlife Festival in Pinetop, AZ.


It wasn’t long into the event that Assistant Director, Crystal’s attention was peaked by subtle signals that Flurry was expressing; he was drinking a lot of water, his stomach seemed to be a little bit bigger than normal, and his back was arching in ways that suggested discomfort and he continually paced. Using her experience and gut instinct, Crystal knew immediately that Flurry needed to be seen by a veterinarian, and luckily for him there was a Vet Hospital less than 10 minutes away. The kind staff of Blue Ridge Pet Clinic kept their doors open and escorted Flurry into emergency surgery when his situation was quickly identified as Gastric Torsion (otherwise known as ‘Bloat’) even though they were only a few clock turns away from closing for the day. Crystals fast acting knowledge and Blue Ridge Pet Clinic’s dedicated staff worked quickly and efficiently to get him into surgery and un-flip his stomach, relieve the pressure being caused by trapped gas, and tacking his stomach to the lining of his abdominal wall in an effort to try and prevent this from happening in the future. Flurry was brought home that night, rolling onto property at around 10pm, and was watched closely as his stitches healed for the next long, worry filled week. We are forever grateful to the hardworking staff of Blue Ridge Pet Clinic whom is directly responsible for Flurry’s successful surgery, and for his entire list of sponsor’s out there that alleviated a bit of the stress that comes along with a vet bill. Please know that everybody who donated towards Flurry’s sponsorships had a direct impact on his recovery. Surgery can cost anywhere from $2,000-$6,000 for a case of bloat, and our duty to these animals is to come through on our promise of lifelong sanctuary which can sometimes mean extensive vet bills.



On a more positive note, one that involves the Volunteer work of a wonderful group of people from Navajo Tech, we made a lot of incredible progress towards getting our rescues Honey and Flicker into their permanent habitats! This past month a group of 6 students and their instructor came out to help us weld brackets that could support extra tall top-wire fencing and they’ve committed to coming out later this month to finish the project. This wonderful group of people have shown incredible dedication, arriving as early as 8am and staying out in the middle of nowhere with us until sundown, and our appreciation for them is unwavering! These guys worked hard all day and our Building and Maintenance team sends them special thanks and a job well done! We look forward to them coming out and helping us mount these brackets because their voluntary work will give two of our rescues an impressive homing upgrade for them to frolic and play around in as two young, female wolf-dogs. Our girls, Flicker and Honey, are very lucky to have such a wonderful group of people helping them into their own forever sanctuaries.


Many of you on our mailing list may have received invites to a fundraiser that we held in Santa Fe, New Mexico this month, and we are thrilled to report that after the 65 tickets sold out within two weeks it raised almost $6,000.00! Our successful Santa Fe fundraiser was beautifully pieced together by Natalie Agraz with the help of Cathy and Gerard Vachez (whom donated several beautiful pieces of artwork) and their donated time and efforts helped spread our name and our mission. We hope to have another fundraiser soon so that those who called inquiring about tickets and being put on a waiting list can all have a chance to attend. We owe so many great people a lot of thanks for making this fundraiser such a success, and we hope to thank many more in the future. Stay tuned into our Facebook page, our monthly howl, and get yourselves on our email list so you can be one of the first to receive the word of when our next fundraising event will take place!

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Flurry wasn’t the only rescue to have a month unlike the rest; in fact, four others underwent significant changes that make September a month to remember. Remember in our last couple editions and how we spoke of our unnamed, male, high-content wolf dog from Colorado? Well, this month, he was finally given his own unique and fitting name — everybody, meet Draco! Although the Harry Potter fan base here is quite impressive, we really did feel that the name fit him in a way that just seemed right.


On a more somber note we did lose another member of our pack to the Great Pack in the Sky, Silva. Our wonderful girl, who led a peaceful life in with Nakota,  had suffered from a few hard spells of her previously diagnosed Vestibular Disease and in her old age it really took a toll on her. Watching her surge forward through this long, hard summer was a testimony for her stubborn, headstrong nature, but that tough girl had had enough hard winters. Rae McCue (our Animal Care Supervisor) helped Silva along on her next journey with the assistance of our Assistant Director, Crystal, and we honor Silva’s memory each day.


Not every day is a happy one at Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary. Some are riddled with laborious meat separation, weed pulling, and enclosure maintenance while others can be bright with sunshine and rich with rain, but each one is precious. If there’s anything to be learned at Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary it’s to appreciate the little moments in life that are often overlooked, and to treat each life with the respect and admiration it deserves. Losing a rescue but naming another is a perfect example of the balance always naturally kept in place, and our staff and volunteers are all honored to bear witnesses to each aspect of life in Candy Kitchen, New Mexico. Thanks for tuning in and being an audience we can share these day-to-day events with, and as always, your time and care means the world to our rescues!


August 2017


As always, thanks for joining us for our collective Monthly Howl! The hot season of summer is hard for both the humans and the wolves, in our Zuni Mountain community. Wolves are built for the winter and seem to prefer the cold weather in just about every circumstance. They naturally run hot with body temperatures that range between 103-104 degrees Fahrenheit; they have a natural snow shoe infused into their paw (long finger-like toes with webbing in between), and two thick layers of fur. Needless to say, we, and the rescues are thrilled that summer is almost over!

This month has not been as eventful as usual, but we are going to share with you what has been noteworthy. In August, we said goodbye to longtime low-content wolfdog rescue, Lakota; we had two animals visit the veterinarian and we did some filming for a short TV focus piece.

21105775_10159610634255221_6389906530486891909_nThe passing of our longtime resident, Lakota, was sad for many of us, but we are happy that we provided him with a lifetime of great care and sanctuary. When Lakota was about a year old, a woman had discovered him at a broken down animal shelter. He was in a deplorable state: he only weighed 40 pounds and was covered in his urine and feces. The woman took him in and slowly nursed him back to health. After 6 months of care for Lakota, she realized that he was better off living as a member of a sanctuary suited for caring for wolfdogs. She found WSWS, brought him to us and we took care of him for 13 years.


Lakota only ever had one companion that really touched his heart and opened him up to the joys of being a canine. After she passed away, he was never able to reconnect with another wolf or wolfdog due to his fragility, so he lived alone for the last year of his life in our geriatric habitat that is located near our common areas, so that staff and volunteers could always keep a close eye on him and his state. Although shy of people, he was one of the gentlest animals we ever encountered. Despite the toll that age took on him, he always seemed to be full of life, and his eyes always displayed the tremendous spirit and strength that he had. His strength manifested itself in his strong will to continue to live. In the end, his journey to cross the Rainbow Bridge was eased by our Assistant Director. We take solace in knowing that although Lakota started his life in a dark place, he left this world surrounded by love and light.


In August, we transported two rescues, Beric Dondarrion and Dakota, into town to visit our Vet partners at TLC Pet Hospital. Both were taken in for very similar reasons: checking tumor like growths. The vet confirmed that Dakota’s growths were only benign fatty tumors, which are common for aging canines. Besides being somewhat arthritic, Dakota was given a clean bill of health and is in great shape for a wolf his age!


Beric Dondarrion’s growths were found to be mild and non-life threatening as well. Beric’s growths are sebaceous cysts, or rather, severely clogged skin pores. While he was at the vet, we drew blood, took x-rays and shaved off some matted fur that hadn’t shed properly during the spring shedding season. All things considering, Beric is doing well for a 10+ year old wolfdog! Although our vet partners help us where they can with our vet costs, we are always appreciative of any donations toward accrued vet bills! If you’d like to donate to either of their vet care, please visit this link. Thank you for generosity!


Last, but not least, our friends from Cliff Dwellers Digital visited us with a small camera crew to record a short TV focus piece called “Who Rocks New Mexico”.  The intent of the piece is to showcase locals in ‘The Land of Enchantment’ (New Mexico) doing work that help and assist those in need. We are extremely grateful for the honor of being showcased in this segment for the work that we do! As always, we love working with Cliff Dwellers as they are professional, caring and have a passion for helping our rescues with their expertise! Check out their work with us in August! Remember, if you’re in New Mexico, stop by and visit the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary!

July 2017

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!


June 2017

       Hello Gang! This year feels like it is flying by now that we’ve hit the midpoint of 2017! In June, we felt the unending circle of life as we said goodbye to two of our very loved rescues, Lucian and Ghost; we traveled to Silver City, New Mexico to help a sister sanctuary capture and vaccinate a total of 34 animals; and throughout it all, together, we all survived the the harshness of the beginning of summer.



Every one looks forward to the summer season, but we weren’t prepared for the force this summer hit us with. While dealing with the brutal heat, this area also packs quite a punch in the form of tiny buzzing insects, all of which are out for, you guessed it, blood! While every volunteer suffers, the animals definitely take the brunt of this attack (especially their vulnerable ears). In response to this, we’ve been researching ways to protect and repel these insects. Whatever solution we do come up with, it’ll have to be safe and non-toxic for the animals and volunteers alike. To everyone who donated natural bug repellents, solar mosquito zappers and fly traps, thank you so much!!! For anyone who has natural suggestions for keeping the no-seeums at bay next year, please email us!




 Losing a beloved rescue is always a painful and difficult process for our team, especially those who formed a special connection with a particular animal. It’s important to remember that in the wild, the average lifespan of the wolf is 7-9 years. In captivity, that average life span sits somewhere between the ages of 12-16 years. Currently, over half of our rescues are over 10 years old! Unfortunately, we will be expecting an increase of losing our senior animals in the coming years. For more information on this particular topic, our Assistant Directer, has written a very thorough article about this subject in particular. It will be featured in our new and improved newsletter, “The Howling Reporter”. Due to unforeseen events, the printing of the updated newsletter has been postponed, but hopefully not for too long! Please bear with us.


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    For those who have been following the monthly news, the beginning of the wave we’re expecting to see of animals passing, has already begun. In June, we said our goodbye’s to Ghost and Lucian. Ghost was rescued from Iowa in 2012, along with his family members Nymeria, Lady, Brienne, Summer, Shae, Shaggydog, Arya, Jon Snow, Beric and Cassie. George R. R. Martin and his wife Parris, chose these names for the rescues who didn’t have names when they first arrived to WSWS. Ghost’s family lived in small cages when they lived in Iowa for a long period of time. We don’t know their full history, but we do know that most of them came to us with many health issues, and some with severe facial abnormalities. After weeks of watching Ghost’s appetite begin to slow down, and caretaker observations stating that he was licking the roof of his mouth consistently, Ghost was taken to our vet for what we thought might be a dental issue, but it turned out that Ghost was suffering from stage III kidney failure. Immediately after his diagnosis, Ghost’s appetite suffered tremendously, but we did our best to get the necessary medications into him and his caretaker had to get creative with the meals she was feeding him. During his last months, Ghost’s caretaker gave him whatever she could get him to eat and was able to pet him. Ghost tried to cross over the Rainbow Bridge on his own, but our Animal Care Supervisor and his caretaker were there for him to assist him along painlessly. Ghost’s life was fraught with difficulty but we were happy to have provided him with a peaceful, loving, and nurturing environment during his last few years.


As if losing one animal wasn’t difficult enough, we also waved a sad goodbye to Lucian. His transition started several months ago when his caretaker noticed Lucian acting not quite like his old self.  Our standard procedure in any situation where an animal displays peculiar behaviors quite unlike their normal routine is that we investigate it further, usually landing us at the Veterinarian’s office. It was discovered that Lucian had two tumors growing in his lungs, as well as arthiritis in his spine. Due to Lucian’s age, we opted not to perform an invasive surgery and with our vet’s assistance, kept him comfortable and pain free over the last months he stayed with us. As time went on, the tumors took their toll on Lucian and it became increasingly difficult for him to expend too much energy. Our Assistant Director and two of Lucian’s human friends helped Lucian along the Rainbow Bridge when his time came. Lucian was an animal bursting with character and personality. He is missed by so many people and previous caretakers. He will always be remembered with an enormous cacophony of stories his soul left with us.


Our capture team, which is arguably one of the best in the southwest, traveled down to Silver City, New Mexico to donate our skill-set to the Wolf Song Rescue. Over the years, we’ve assisted them multiple times; for some of our team members, the trip was a very familiar and exciting routine. Wolf Song is run by a loving and tough 60+year old woman who, unfortunately, doesn’t have the resources to perform coordinated captures on her unsocial animals. Eight of our members took the 4+ hour drive to Silver City on a Sunday, and teamed up with a local veterinarian bright and early the next morning in order to inoculate a total of 34 canids. After just three hours, the animals were inoculated and examined and our team welcomed the idea of a nap on the way home! We are so grateful for our volunteers and staff for coming together on their day off to help Wolf Song with their inoculation day. We believe everyone had a “Howling Good Time!”

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Last, but certainly not least, sweat was poured by several gentlemen in June! Our Westeros Habitat Project is moving along thanks to the help of George R.R. Martin, his wife, Parris McBride-Martin, and the team from Navajo Tech! In order for the fences of the habitat to be erected, a new perimeter fence must be put into place first. These gentlemen worked all week long welding parts and putting up new fencing out in the hot New Mexico sun. Thanks guys!! This project has been a huge undertaking from many weekend warriors over the last couple of years, but it’s slowly coming along. Thanks so much George and Parris! Your generosity continuously astounds us!


May 2017

Thank you for tuning in for the May edition of the Monthly Howl! Last month brought heartwarming altruism from various groups of people who came here to donate their valuable time; however, it also brought some heartache with it as well. Our beloved rescue Nazareth crossed over the Rainbow Bridge this month; Agana, Kota’s companion, wanted a puppy so badly that she actually induced a false pregnancy on herself; we welcomed Quinn and Leia’s sister, Lyca, to the pack; and more!


Early in May, we said farewell to our handsome, high-content wolfdog, Nazareth. We had been noticing various signs of weakness in him for days, and due to his age, there was an immediate concern. One morning however, it was clear that whatever was going on was too serious to leave unattended. He gently walked himself into a crate and he was loaded into a vehicle to be transported to the vet. Crystal and Patricia took on the responsibility of taking him to the veterinarian, as they knew that it would be easier on him to have those he loved there with him. Unfortunately, in transit from the sanctuary to the vet, Nazareth left us and joined the Big Pack in the Sky. It was very difficult for the two caretakers who were with him, but they continued their trip to the vet office and consulted with the vet on arrival. It is highly likely that he experienced some sort of organ failure in his old age. We were fortunate to know Nazareth and miss him very much. We hope to pair his longtime companion, Angel, with someone soon. For everyone who supported Nazareth during his time with us, we collectively howl a huge thank you! Because of you, we were able to make Nazareth’s last year safe and full of love.

High-content wolfdog, Agana, apparently wanted puppies with every single ounce of her soul this spring. One morning, her caretaker noticed that Agana was paying particular attention to her abdomen. She would lick her abdomen profusely, and if she was lying next to the fence, she’d growl at those passing by her to leave her alone. Needless to say, the behavior was concerning, especially since there was no physical evidence as to what was causing her discomfort. So, as is customary for us when we notice any odd behavior, we took her to vet to get examined.  Once sedated, the vet began his exam on Agana.


Leyton and Crystal were in shock when he palpated a nipple and saw milk ooze out! The vets at TLC Pet Hospital  consulted with one another and all took a look at her x-rays of her abdomen and chest. Everything looked normal and so it was in agreement when they told us she likely had a false pregnancy; the solution: spay her. Spaying was put off upon her arrival because of a heartworm diagnosis. When rescuing a large and older female canid, we generally opt to not spay her because of the risk of losing her in surgery. On top of that, Agana having heartworm made our decision pretty simple. However, during the vet visit, we found that she is now heartworm negative and after analyzing her blood test, we trusted our vets with the surgery. Agana healed wonderfully and is back to being herself. The most wonderful part of this story for us is Agana has allowed Leyton and Crystal to walk her on multiple occasions…a very different animal than she was when she was rescued in 2014. We are so grateful for our partners at TLC Pet Hospital and for YOU for enabling us to give Agana the life she deserves! See Kota and Agana meet for the first time. 


19205128_10211754952288261_30820653_oAs a non-profit, we rely on our volunteers to help us maintain our daily operations, and we are deeply grateful when large groups or Weekend Warriors come out to assist us in other projects. We were fortunate enough to have three different groups visit us in May and they helped us with an unassuming, invasive, grass-like weed that can be dangerous to our rescues. Foxtail grass has barbed seed heads that can embed themselves in the eyes, nasal passage, and more, of a furry, four-legged animal. Sometimes, if left unattended, an embedded foxtail can lead to an infection; some animals need foxtails surgically removed; and others may have more fatal outcomes. We have been battling this nasty weed for a few years after the weed made its way to our grounds, and it seems that 2017 has been their most successful year yet of taking over Wild Spirit. We have not yet found the solution to our foxtail problem, but so far, our best bet is to pull the weed from the root and throw the nasty buggers into a plastic bag. Girl Scout Troop 10073, Boy Scout Troop 505 and the students of Jimmy Carter Middle School helped us tackle our foxtail invasion by doing just that and made a noticeable dent! We thank you all for your assistance in this important matter! Due to the sensitive nature of our rescues, we do not use weed killers or other harmful chemicals in our soil, though, weed killing the foxtail is not a solution as they are most dangerous when dead. If any of our readers have any other suggestions for us, please feel free to let us know!


Last year, we welcomed Kabbalah, Mystique and puppies, Quinn and Leia. Less than a year later, their sister, Lyca, has joined us for lifetime sanctuary as well. Leyton did his best to warn the owner against keeping Lyca as a “pet” but he digressed and focused his attention on bringing Quinn and Leia home. At the end of May, Lyca was flown in by helicopter from her previous home in California.  Lyca is smaller and a little more timid than her siblings and she seems to be a bit wary of men at this time, but she is a cutie and we can see why she wasn’t fit to be in a home as a “pet”. With all of the socialization and routine that Quinn and Leia have encountered in their 9 months of being with us, we can certainly say that these two were not meant to be in a home leading a domestic life. In her short time of being present at WSWS, Lyca shows similar behaviors that her siblings have displayed over months; she is right at home with her brother and sister here! Lyca is living with Quinn and Storm is currently enjoying companionship with Leia.


Wolf Kitchen Supervisor, Brittany Chiapetti, organized a charity event in Gallup for WSWS. Brittany displayed ingenuity and ambition by suggesting we reach out to a different audience in the nearby city of Gallup, NM. Being an experienced, competition shooter herself, Brittany was able to help us hold “Aim High for Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary” at the Gallup Shooting Range. With virtually no cost to us, we were able to raise over $500 and believe it to have been a successful event. We are very proud of Brittany’s efforts and thank her for setting up this fun family event for the benefit of our rescues!


Last, but not least, Dr. Gonzales from TLC Pet Hospital made a house call! Bringing our vet on-site can be a bit pricey, but we made it worth his while. Dr. Gonzales and his Vet Tech saw Storm, Bono, Princess, Kota and Leia. Leia and Storm’s bloodwork were great and we are continuing Storm on his current regimen (Vetoryl) for his Cushings treatment. Princess had an allergen test performed and other than being sensitive to dust mites, she seems to be in great condition. However, Bono has arthritis, adding to an already diagnosed joint collapse in his right shoulder. Bono has been receiving Adequan injections but now has been placed on an anti-inflammatory for long term pain management.


Due to abnormal feces being found in the Singer Habitat containing Bono, Reba and Princess, we changed their diet, gave them filtered water only and saw no difference in the feces. We ruled out parasites, among other things, and so we began to set our eyes on changing and/or cleaning the soil in their habitat to see if what we were seeing was due to an environmental issue. We have recently discovered though, through folks at the New Guinea Singing Dog Conservation Society, that many of the Singers from this particular rescue have passed away or are suffering from GI upset. Why this family is having these issues, is a mystery, but we will do everything we can to keep our Singers as healthy as possible. As of now, Bono, Reba and Princess are on a new diet and have been showing signs of feeling better in their tummies. Foxy and Bowie’s diet has changed as well, since it seems that the diet change has helped the others thus far. We’ll keep you updated on that!

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It was most helpful to have Dr.Gonzales visit and exam Kota rather than us attempting to take him to the vet for the very first time in all of the years that Kota has lived with us. Kota received x-rays on his face, his spine and back legs. Kota is our largest canine resident, and with his size, we are certain he feels his age sooner than his companion, Agana. Our assumptions were correct as the x-rays revealed that he has arthritis in both hind legs, he has local inflammation in his right knee which could be due to an ACL compromise and his spine has a slight amount of bridging spondylosis in his lumbar region. He’s now getting Adequan injections like Bono is and until we see that Kota needs it, he’ll also begin an anti-inflammatory regimen.


We had another busy month, but we’re happy to be of service to our deserving rescues! Thank you for supporting them and for helping us give them a high quality life at Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary!








April 2017

Things are moving along at Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary!  Although this month was busy and productive, it offered a small reprieve for staff and volunteers compared to previous months. In April, low-content wolfdog, Angel, had a tumor removed from her back leg; mid-content wolfdog, Rain, also visited the vet; with the help of Parris McBride-Martin, members from Navajo Tech/Work Skills USA volunteered with us for a weekend; we had visitors from the Lineberry Foundation; a long-term volunteer heads back to her home; and we are working on new things with friends, Cathy and Gerard Vachez!

Angel underwent surgery in order to remove a tumor from 18718277_726895594178163_1371406102_nher leg. It had grown rapidly and was nearing a point that it would cause issues with her mobility. Biopsy revealed that it was a soft tissue sarcoma. Unfortunately, due the location and size of the tumor, the vet did not have a “clean” removal, which means that it’s very likely the growth will reappear. Thankfully, these types of tumors typically do not spread. For the first few days, Angel had to wear an e-collar to ensure she would not chew or lick at the incision site, but due to the stress it caused her, she was able to open the stitches by banging against the fence. We kept it as clean as possible, but took her back in for a second opinion. They cleaned the wound and prescribed her two sprays, one an equine wound care spray and the other a type of collagen spray for fast wound healing. During her second visit, we also had them remove another growth that was found on her spine, but thankfully that was just an apocrine cyst – she has a great prognosis.

Rain was takeimage_rain_01n to the vet because it was thought she could be developing Canine Cognitive Dysfunction. However, her test results showed that she was in perfect health other than having arthritis in her back legs. She was prescribed a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug which turned out to be the thing she needed to get her back to her happy and alert self!

A few years ago, George R. R. Martin held a campaign to fundraise for two non-profits, one for the Food Depot in Santa Fe and the other, WSWS. The funds raised for our rescues helped purchase fencing to build two large habitats for the Westeros Packs. Production has been slow due to the deep cleanup that was required of the space that will become the Westeros habitats AND the lack of skilled volunteers to erect the perimeter first required to get the habitats built. Thanks to Parris though, she coordinated with Work Skills USA to get skilled laborers to come and install the poles needed to attach the fencing for our new perimeter! Parris and George, we are so incredibly thankful for your generosity! 18685469_10158684047750103_749782705_n

In 2016, we were awarded a grant from the Lineberry Foundation for our on-site education improvement project. The grant helped us purchase gravel for our tour path to make it ADA accessible and to complete our on-site Education Center. Members from the foundation visited us to see the progress of the tour path and of the Ed & Novella Lineberry Wolf Education Center. 18685458_10158688967230103_89367112_nThanks to their support, we are closer to our goal of using the Ed. Center for on-site educational events, as well as an opportunity for our local community to present in a space for workshops, seminars, classes and community planning efforts.

Our amazing friends in Santa Fe, who own an advertising business, have been looking for new ways to support our rescues and our efforts. They have offered to donate their incredible skills to help us refine our image branding and have volunteered to revamp our brochures and newsletters! logo_1 (1)In July, we’ll be releasing our new and improved Howling Reporter. It will be longer than it used to be, so we will be sending out the newsletter twice a year for cost purposes. They have been working diligently with us and are also working on two other fundraisers of their own, all for the benefit of our rescues. Howls of appreciation to you, Cathy and Gerard!

Education and Outreach is important to us, as it helps to spread awareness about the detriments of the exotic pet trade and empowers us to broaden our reach to the public. We appeared at the Poppy Festival in El Paso, Texas on the 1st and at the University of New Mexico’s annual Wolf Fest on the 14th. Both were great venues to offer in depth information about wolves, wolfdogs and our mission. Thank you for hosting us and allowing us the opportunity to educate the public!

Our volunteers are fundamental to the success of the sanctuary. Many who come start out as strangers and become family members. 16508470_10212070237297572_7823791551901027571_nWhen it’s time for them to turn a new chapter in their life though, it’s always hard to say, “Farewell”. Meghan O’ Keefe left in April to return to home and occupy her important position at a wildlife rehabilitation center in Bellingham, WA. Although we know she’s needed there, especially when one is needed to perform emergency surgery on a bald eagle, we can’t help but miss her. Thank you for your devotion to helping “wild spirits”, Meg!

Last, but not leabelo-200x200-4d851c5b28f61931bf1df28dd15e60efst, after a few hurdles, we have been able to officially list our three rentals on AirBNB! Due to the unique nature of Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary, it required research and ingenuity to work out the details smoothly. We hope listing these homes pays off and ultimately betters the lives of the rescues in our care, because in the end, everything we do here is for them.

Thank you for taking the time to read this month’s update!