Last weekend we attended a fundraiser for W.O.L.F., a sanctuary for wolves and wolf-dog mixes in the mountains about two hours away. The remarkable executive director, Shelley Coldiron, and her impressive staff explained the organization’s mission – rescue, sanctuary, and education – and gave us some insights into what W.O.L.F. does.
Approximately 100,000 – 200,000 wolf-dog mixes are bred in this country. When these animals reach adulthood, they are no longer suitable household pets. Almost all are eventually abandoned or euthanized. So one important mission is informing the public that breeding wolves and dogs is a very bad idea.
The sanctuary has room for 30 animals. Some are brought to W.O.L.F.; others are rescued by staff members who sometimes travel long distances to locate an animal.
Wolves and wolf-dogs are fed dry dog food with a fresh meat supplement every 2 – 3 days. Local supermarkets often donate meat, i.e. the wolves are not sent out to find their own.
We learned from Shelley that wolves, unlike dogs – surprise! – are not motivated to please humans. That does not mean they are vicious: Shelley has never experienced or heard of a wolf attack on a human.
Another principal goal is educating people about wolves. Well-trained and informed staff members take “ambassadors” to local schools. Children can see a wolf first-hand and hear about their lives and behavior. Travel is limited to an hour’s drive from the sanctuary; longer is too hard on the animal.
At dinner we met and petted a rescued wolf-dog puppy named Mona. I learned that wolves are naturally house-broken. That’s a good thing, since I can’t imagine how you would train a wolf. (No, no, we don’t do that…”) Mona may in time become a companion animal; but, if not, she has a home at the sanctuary for life.
What I saw and heard from director, staff, volunteers, and philanthropic supporters was an untiring devotion to the cause of wolf and wolf-dog rescue; a solid foundation of training, knowledge, and information; and a deep love and respect for the animals. Rescue and be rescued. Amen.