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Upcoming EventsWild Spirit Wolfstock - July 11, 2011
Get ready for a day of music and fun at the Wild Spirit Wolfstock Music Festival! Local bands from Albuquerque and Santa Fe will be performing all-day long, and we encourage people to camp the night before or after the event, possibly even both. Nothing beats listening to some great music while wolves howl majestically in the background. Tickets are $25 per person, $30 after June 1st or at the door. Ticket price includes free camping. To learn more and order tickets, please visit our Wolfstock page.
Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary
Time: 1:00pm - 10:00pm
Price: Adults: $25 (includes camping, guided tour); Children: Free
What Else is Going on at Wild Spirit?
We hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! We are proud to say we had great success with our Pond Building Party. We want to thank all of the volunteers who spent their Memorial Day weekend digging holes, spreading concrete, and framing cave houses. We were able to get a huge head-start on the project and we couldn't have done it without you!
Last updates, I briefly mentioned that Akela sustained an injury on her paw. She has since spent her time in our isolation enclosure with a cone over her head to prevent her from messing with the injury. The good news is that she healed wonderfully and was released back into her enclosure with her two brothers. We hope she learned her lesson about fence-fighting with neighbors (although we seriously doubt it).
Looking to help out the Sanctuary without opening your wallet? Consider coming out for the weekend and helping with one of our summer projects. Our plans for summer volunteers include:
Tour Path Construction: We'll soon begin construction on our tour path. We are ecstatic to announce that Home Depot recently donated $9,000 to aid us in purchasing materials, meaning we are only $5,000 from reaching the half-way point. Supplies are already sitting on-site waiting for ground-breaking day. The project has many steps, which you can watch in a video Leyton created (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIET_i69uO8). The tour path will last us all summer, so just give us a call (505-775-3304) or email (email@example.com) the dates you plan to help.
Weed Patrol: Want to help but cannot perform such strenuous activities as tour path construction? Think about joining weed patrol and helping us eliminate the vicious foxtail weeds. Not only do the foxtails need pulled, but we could also use help removing weeds from the courtyard and along fencelines. Volunteers of all ages can help us get rid of the weeds, hopefully before monsoon season turns the Sanctuary into a jungle!
Howling Wolf Grill: Know your way around a grill? Volunteer a day to work in our Howling Wolf Grill! Serve up some hamburgers and hotdogs to hungry guests - after all, feeding our visitors' hunger helps to feed our wolves! Just call (505-775-3304) or send an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) about dates you would like to spend in the grill, and we'll get you on our calendar.
Did You Know?Did you know that the Aztecs used wolf liver as an ingredient for treating melancholy?
There are the people you meet in life that will forever have a lasting impact on the way you perceive the world. Their kind heart and optimistic outlook rubs off until you too are viewing the world through rose-colored glasses. Ed Gardner was that person to many of the staff and volunteers at the Sanctuary, and his tragic death on Memorial Day shocked us to our very core.
Ed Gardner first visited the Sanctuary with friends during the summer of 2009. It wasn't long before Ed was hooked and soon began a summer ritual of traveling to the Sanctuary to volunteer his time. Ed always dove head-first into projects, regardless of what we threw at him! It was a joy to work with him due to his amazing ability to make friends with everyone he met. After work was over, he would join the volunteers for movies in the kitchen or a bonfire in the campground. He was easy to talk to, and laughter abounded whenever Ed was around. As soon as word went out that Ed was returning, eyes would light up as we fondly remembered his last visit.
By far, Ed's greatest quality was his compassion. Never had we met such a selfless person. He deeply cared about animals, and while volunteering at the Sanctuary, formed a special bond with Cove and Lucian. He donated the funds necessary to build them a pond and cave house, and had planned on coming out next month to help with its construction.
Ed Gardner was struck by a vehicle on Memorial Day morning while attempting to help a goose and her goslings safely cross the interstate in Chicago. His death, while tragic, was truly a testament to the kind, selfless, gentle person he was.
Our hearts go out to Ed's family. A tragedy of this magnitude is heart-wrenching and his family is in our thoughts. In honor of Ed, we are erecting a memorial bench in front of Cove and Lucian's enclosure.
You will be dearly missed, Ed.
As you probably know, we are able to walk some of our wolves and wolf-dogs at Wild Spirit. Every morning the volunteers and staff check the walking schedule to see if it is their turn to grab a leash and take out one of their enclosures. Generally, the list of animals that can go for walks doesn't change much, but every now and then, we re-evaluate an animal and attempt to take them out. These past few weeks, four animals have been on their first walk with varying results.
Kota is one of our newer animals to join the walking schedule, but his penmate, Duchess, has never been walked while living at the Sanctuary. During one of our visits to the enclosure with a leash, Duchess seemed so excited that we decided to see if she wanted to go. Angel was able to easily leash her and soon, she was taking her first steps out of the enclosure. They didn't go far on their first walk but it was successful enough that a few days later, Duchess went out again, this time with Leyton and Kota tagging along. We are thrilled in the personality change we have seen in Duchess these past few months and it won't be long until Duchess and Kota regularly walk side-by-side around the Sanctuary.
One of my goals for the year was seeing if Nakota wanted to go out for a walk. According to his old owner, Nakota used to be walked but always had some difficulty. I worked diligently on being able to touch him all over his body and waited until his sociability improved. Luckily, due to a string of great caretakers Nakota has had, he seems like a different animal compared to the nervous-aggressive wolf he was a few years ago. Angel and I walked up to his enclosure last week with two leashes: one for Nakota and one for Lani. Of course, Lani bounded right into the sub-enclosure and Nakota quickly followed. This was Nakota's first time in the sub-enclosure, and after the initial shock of the gate closing behind him, calmed down quickly. We slipped a collar over his head and opened the outer gate. He darted out like a race horse at the starting line, spun in a circle, and threw himself to the floor. I quickly followed suit; well, not the darting and spinning, but I kneeled to the ground to calm him down. I gave him a few moments to see if he wanted to continue, but seeing that he may become too stressed, we quickly turned around and walked back inside the sub-enclosure. Although it seems like our first attempt on a walk ended in failure, it actually wasn't that bad. Nakota let us easily collar him and he wasn't afraid of Angel and I, just startled about a leash holding him back. We will try again using small baby steps, but it's possible that Nakota will never truly be comfortable enough on walks; however, the payoff for Nakota if he does begin enjoy walks will be tremendous.
Last Thursday, Jaeger went out for his first real walk. We had walked him before to move him from the isolation enclosure to his new enclosure, but never had we taken him out for a pleasure walk. Jaeger's biggest problem is that he still is nervous of a few of our volunteers. He is getting much better, but in a situation like a walk, it could make him too nervous. At 7:45 am, George and I walked into Jaeger's enclosure, hoping to avoid volunteers beginning their morning chores. After a few minutes of slipping the collar on, we left the enclosure and began our adventure. Jaeger seemed uncertain at first, but once we were away from the business of the compound, he visibly calmed down. It wasn't long before he was sniffing trees and marking rocks. We made it a short walk to ensure that his first time out would only be enjoyable. I'm confident that in a few more trips, Jaeger will shed all of his nervousness.
Finally, an unexpected animal enjoyed her first walk a few days ago. We have been performing an enclosure shuffle with a few of our enclosures, including Dusty-Pup and Gypsy. Dusty-Pup frequently goes out for walks (although he one of the most difficult animals to leash due to his extreme stubbornness), but Gypsy still remains aloof. Donna, Gypsy's caretaker, has been working on getting her in the sub-enclosure which Gypsy now does easily. Both Dusty-Pup and Gypsy ran inside the sub-enclosure, and instead of bring up one leash, we brought two. Gypsy was quickly collared, leashed, and out they went. At first, Gypsy was fairly confused. However, after a few moments, she began to walk while checking over her shoulder every now and then. By the time they were halfway to their new enclosure, Gypsy was walking better than Dusty-Pup! We were all shocked but extremely pleased. We will definitely continue our work with Gypsy and have no reason to think it will end poorly.
I hope you aren't getting the wrong idea, that we are stress out animals by forcing them on leads and dragging them out of their enclosures. Trust me when I say that we thoroughly evaluate an animal before attempting their first walk and it is only executed by staff members. Many times, an animal's first walk is iffy. The first time Rain was leashed, Angel and her spun around the enclosure until Angel could take off the collar. Cove bucked like a bronco on her first walk. Now both of these animals are excited to see the leash and behave wonderfully while enjoying the sights outside their enclosure. We are experienced enough to know when it isn't going to happen or to keep trying. Walking is extremely beneficial to the animals for two reasons. First, it is a way to enrich their lives and give them something fun to do. Second, walking an animal is always preferable to a capture. If an animal is moving enclosures, or if an animal has to go to a vet, it is a lot less stressful to leash them than to do a full-on capture.
Besides, who doesn't enjoy a nice stroll through the New Mexico countryside?