Wolves visit Wild Bear

Barbara Lawlor

Kim Stefane loves wolves.

When she looks into their eyes she feels a connection, like meeting a kindred spirit. Kim owns Blue Owl Bookstore, across from the shopping center where Wild Bear is located. Last week, she saw two wolves in the grassy area next to the Carousel of Happiness and went to say hello. She approached Ashima, who is about eight months old, knelt down and talked to the black female who looked Kim in the eye and licked her face.

For the past year Kim has been funding a wolf she adopted at the W.O.L.F. Sanctuary, donating money to keep her wolf in meat, knowing she was helping to save the wolf population and care for those who have been abandoned.

The sanctuary provides an environment that is appropriate for the animals who are adopted as puppies and later given up to rescue agencies because their hybrid doesn’t act like a domestic dog. Wolves are beautiful, they are great conversation starters, they bring out a feeling of adventure, of all the drama and wildness that nature has to offer.

Wolves are affectionate, they can be tamed, but not domesticated. They are wild animals and always will be. The volunteers who interact with the wolves are well aware of these facts, and when the wolves are taken out to schools or camps, they are kept on leashes but allowed to explore the area, sniff the markings of other dog, especially on the fire hydrants.

Ashima was sold to a young couple when she was three weeks old. She was to be a family pet. At one point she was left alone in the house with an adult German Shepherd who shattered the puppy’s femur. The couple couldn’t afford to treat Ashima’s injuries and brought the wolf to a husky shelter.

W.O.L.F. stands for Wolf Offers Love Friendship. The non-profit agency is located northwest of Fort Collins and was started in 1995. Wolves are the most common exotic mammal currently kept as a pet. Many live chained up or in basements and are often bred with dogs. A wolf hybrid usually costs around $1,200. Over 300,000 wolves and wolf dogs are kept as pets in the US. About 150,000 are born every year to be sold as pets. Up to 90 percent of them will be killed before reaching the age of two.

Ashima and Spartacus are part of an outreach program to educate the public about wolves and wolf dogs to promote understanding of them and their value. They take the wolves to schools, clubs or places like Wild Bear to share the information and raise money to help save as many of the wolves as possible.

For more information contact: info@wolfsanctuary.net or call 970-416-9531

Barbara Lawlor

Barbara is a reporter for The Mountain-Ear.