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Featured Wolf | Ambassador Wolves | Other Wolves | The Alaska 9 | Departed Members | Cassidy & the Oakland 6

Forever members of the pack

"We will be known forever by the tracks we leave." - Dakota Sioux

Eileen (January, 2024)  


We are sad to announce we lost our sweet Eileen, (Leena). She was Mica’s pen mate and long term resident here at WolfWood. Leena had an inoperable, cancerous tumor. She remained stoic and interactive up until the end. Leena was strong, playful and determined. She loved her food and was always very vocal when we showed up the hill with the feeding truck and would make sure we knew she was there until she got her food.

Mica is inconsolable and cries for her every day. She was such a part of his world, and ours. We moved Mica next to Valkyrie to see if they will get along, but it might take some time. Leena was named after one of our regular and generous supporters and they have come to visit her often. She had a sweet personality, but could be tough when she had to be. We all miss her very much, but Mica does most of all.

She was wolf/dog who came to Wolfwood, from Utah, during October of 2014. Her family loved her but they did not have the right situation for her to be in. It made them sad but they knew that coming to WolfWood was best for Eileen. She was named after the wife of a generous Wolfwood donor. Leena was paired up with wolf dog Mica shortly after she arrived at Wolfwood. Since then, they have become the refuge’s oldest couple. They are inseparable, preferring to cram together into one dog house instead of using both that are in their pen.

Her favorite past time was to pull at the fence on feeding days and whine about how hungry she is--don't worry she does get fed plenty of food. We can all relate to getting excited about our meals sometimes though, right?

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Bruja (November, 2023)  


Wolfwood had to say goodbye to Bruja, another one of the Alaska 9 wolves, and the last of Oakley’s 6 pack. For the past year now Bruja has shown signs of neurological issues that were being treated for and managed. After losing her sister Banshee, Bruja took time to mourn but bounced back quickly as she seemed to feel better on seizure meds. She found joy in her human friends at Wolfwood, as well as in her numerous daily meat snacks. Up until a week before her passing she was bouncy and smiley in a way we hadn’t gotten to see much of since Oakley passed away. Because of that it was noticeable when she suddenly took a downward turn. One day she decided she didn’t want her snacks anymore, and she didn’t want to engage with her people. We spent a couple of days loving her up and allowing her friends to say goodbye. In the end she was surrounded by people who loved her, and she was given a peaceful passing. She is now reunited with her pack, and I know it was a joyous reunion for them all.

Bruja was a trickster, a trouble maker, and above all else, a very very good girl. She was sweet even when she was nervous or uncomfortable about something. She was Wolfwood’s best hair stylist and would spend as long as you would allow her licking and nibbling your hair. She is the main character of the story Paula and caretakers share with tours on why they need to empty their pockets and mouths of anything that resembles food. Once someone went into her enclosure with gum in their mouth and Bruja stuck her tongue down their throat and stole the gum before they even knew what was happening. She was often a tease with her friends when she wasn’t quite in the mood for loving. She would come within feet of them, play bow, and then zoom around the pen as if to say “catch me if you can.”

It is hard to believe that Oakley’s pack has all passed away now. They were such a staple of Wolfwood for a decade. They leave behind a legacy that will be passed on endlessly by old volunteers to new. It will never truly feel like they are gone because of the thousands of stories there are to share about them.

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Chica (September 7th, 2023)  
Chica came from the same bad breeding situation that Destiny did. She came to Wolfwood through the La Plata Humane Society in 2012 as a pretty 9 month old  little girl. She is a very low percentage wolf/dog, but because of her terrible background she is not very social. We put her in with Aspen . They get along well, and Chica was happy to run and play.

Two days after Aspen died, we went to do our nightly meds and discovered that Chica had passed. She has had many friends at the refuge, both human and canine. She ended up paired with Aspen and the two shared many happy years together. Chica was 11. We believe she had heart failure, possibly exacerbated by the loss Aspen. 

It was quite a shock to loose them both in 2 days, but that sometimes happens with bonded pairs. We will be able to scatter their ashes together and share our stories and our sorrow, knowing they are together still.

Aspen (September 5th, 2023)  

Aspen is a rowdy animal.  She came to Wolfwood in 2009 at the age of 3 months after a court battle with the puppy mill where she was born.  It took quite a while to get her healthy. Then the owner of the puppy mill said we stole her and took us to court. Needless to say we were not letting her go back to that terrible place, and we won the court case. 

In her middle age, Aspen had to have surgery. There were unforeseen complications, and Aspen ended up needing to be hospitalized for 9 months. It was a hard battle for all, especially Aspen, but she was a fighter and eventually got to come home. 

Aspen was a feisty girl up to the end, when we had to let her go due to cancer at the age of 14. Everyone person here had a great Aspen story to tell and she left a large imprint on us all.


Sienna (August 2023)  
Sienna came to Wolfwood during October 2016 from the LaPlata County Humane Society along with Goblin. They had been running loose and were taken to the Humane Society. They recognized that the pair needed to be together and rehoming them as a pair was going to be difficult. We believe that Sienna is Goblin's mother. They were very bonded and the Humane Society asked if we could take both to give them a loving and safe environment where they could stay together.

Nothing is known about Sienna's time before the Humane Society took them in.  We estimate that she was about 6 years old when she arrived.

Sienna was one of our oldest animals. She passed away this past month. The pair was inseparable and lived at the top of the hill where they would greet visitors. After Goblin passed away, Sienna lived on her own. She loved to be petted by people on tours, especially the kids. The last 6 months were hard on her. She was a strong girl and happy until the very end. Her spirit wanted to live on, but her body just failed to the point she could no longer manage.

We are inspired by her strength, her buoyant personality and her determination. Her beautiful face will be in our memories. She is now running pain free again with Goblin

Siren (July 2023)  

Siren is a dog.  She came to us when we got a call from a person claiming to have a litter of "Mexican red wolves." We assured her there was no such thing, but she insisted. Of course the group did not have an ounce of wolf in them, but we agreed to take them out of their bad situation and brought them home for one of our other wolves, Juno, to foster.  We found homes for all the puppies with the help of the La Plata Humane Society, except Siren, who we kept to be Juno's pen mate.  Rowan is the third member of this playful pen.  Juno & Rowan have since left the pack and Siren lives with Henna.

Sadly we had to say goodbye to Siren, the oldest animal at the refuge. She was Henna’s best friend and a very sweet dog. Siren was a part of the refuge for 15 years, always there to say hi or get petting from her favorite people. She loved butt scratches, had a refined palate and enjoyed all the fancy foods people sent for her and from time to time would remind us why she was named Siren with her emergency vehicle siren of a voice! We will miss her and her gentle self.

Banshee (June 2023)  

Sadly, we have lost the 7th member of the Alaska 9 pack.

Everyone who has been involved with the refuge in the last 12 years knows about the “B” girls. Bruja and Banshee were sisters that were a force to be reckoned with. They have been a bonded pair their whole life, in a way that gives the word loyalty a whole new meaning.

When the pack lost Oakley, the alpha, the girls banded together tighter than ever. They were separated from the boys because of Banshee’s diminishing mobility, and the disintegration of the pack.

As they aged, Banshee had more trouble walking because of nerve degeneration. She was getting increasingly more irritated with Bruja. It came to a point that we had exhausted all our medical options. After a particularly bad week of watching her struggle and fall, we all agreed it was time. Banshee went peacefully and quickly in the arms of her human brother, Ben. 

The wolves teach us lessons. Every day. Part of our grief, when we loose an animal, is witnessing the grief of their animal companions. They teach us about love. They teach us about honor and respect. They teach us how to grieve and let go.

We will miss Banshee in a way that is hard to explain. She is woven into the fabric of WolfWood’s history, the stories that we tell. We will miss her. We will not forget. - Paula

Izzy (May 2023)  


WolfWood recently said goodbye to the loveable, playful, spirited Izzy. 12 year old Izzy came to WolfWood in September of 2022 and shortly after was diagnosed with an inoperable, fast growing tumor. We thought we would only have a month or two with her and we were blessed to have her for almost 8 months. Izzy was a shy animal who had lived most of her life as a stray and was quite pleased to get daily treats and live the last days of her life in “luxury”.

Izzy loved to howl when the rest of the hill howled and would also “shriek” for her multiple snacks throughout the day. She loved playing through the fence with her neighbors Paloma and Albion and would nap next to them on the cooler days. She enjoyed spending time on her cushy blankets and awaiting her human servants with the next batch of goodies (we spoiled her extra knowing she only had a short time left)! Though she never really wanted to be petted she would “dolphin nose” a few of us when we were most unsuspecting. Izzy was a determined, sweet, ornery, loving girl who will be greatly missed.

Vesta and TJ (Jan 2023)  

Vesta and TJ: (by Emily Rikard)

At the beginning of the month Wolfwood said goodbye to two of the longest term residents, Vesta and TJ.

15 years is a long time for a resident of Wolfwood to be around. And although TJ and Vesta may have been “just dogs,” their presence was a staple at Wolfwood for that long. One evening 15 years ago Paula was contacted by a good Samaritan in Walsenburg, Colorado about a starving dog and her puppies detained by animal control. The mother was set to be euthanized the next morning. The timeframe Wolfwood had to get to the mother and puppies before the euthanasia was just about impossible to work with. Just about. A midnight, high speed run was made and someone on the inside at the Walsenburg animal control building made it possible for the rescue to even happen.

When Vesta was rescued, she was so starved she could barely even stand. She was breaking down her own body to continue to feed her nine puppies. A weaker dog wouldn’t have survived, or would have given up on her puppies in favor of self-preservation. But not Vesta. Anyone who knew Vesta knew she was strong willed and defiant. Giving up was never and option for her.

Once at Wolfwood, Vesta and her offspring had the opportunity to flourish. They were a rowdy bunch and Vesta kept them all in line. When the puppies were old enough to be separated from Vesta, seven of them were adopted out. The remaining two were thought to be difficult placements in a home. This included Druid, who was the shiest of the bunch, and TJ, who at the time was extremely rambunctious. It took Vesta over a year to fully recover from the poor medical condition she was rescued in, so rehoming her was never an option. Instead she got to live with two of the puppies she fought so hard to keep alive.

Druid had to be let go last winter due to cancer, TJ got to live with his mom until the very end.

Despite his rowdy start, TJ mellowed out into a sweet and calm demeanored guy. Of the Vesta pack, he was the sweetest. Over the past year it became clear that TJ was starting to fade mentally. Despite this he never lost his positive attitude or desire to soak up attention from any volunteer who visited him. Once TJ started to struggle to move around in his enclosure, it was determined that it was time to let him go. He was 15.

Vesta was still full of the attitude she had always been known for, and her pure determination would have fooled anyone that she could live forever. Her body was deteriorating though and our vet confirmed what we had all suspected, it was time. At the incredible age of 17, Vesta moved onto the next life with her son. Now she is reunited with all nine of her puppies and is no doubt back to keeping them all in line.

Vesta is in the foreground of this picture and TJ is in the back.

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Kweo (Aug 2022)  

Kweo: (by Emily Rikard)

Wolfwood had to say goodbye to Kweo, the last male wolf of the Alaska 9 pack. Kweo stood out from the rest with how starkly black his coat was and how it remained so dark even into old age. Of the original nine wolves that made up Oakley’s pack, Kweo was one of the shier animals. To the casual visitor or volunteer he was standoffish and would often chuff to signal his nervous demeanor. He gave people a more accurate representation of what it might be like to see a wolf in the wild since he was always the one to hang back and watch new visitors from a distance while his packmates soaked up attention through the fence during tours.

Before Oakley passed away there was another more secret affectionate side to Kweo that only a select few people got to experience. It had less to do with who you were and more to do with when you were interacting with the pack. Kweo was always nervous around large groups, as most normal wolves are, but when his most trusted human Ben and one or two volunteers would sit in the pen for a while, they might get lucky enough to be blessed with Kweo’s affection. He was somewhat of an armpit nibbler in his prime. Even if he didn’t always want to be pet in return, he would sit nearby and bask in the ambiance of his family and chosen people.

Paula always thought that Kweo would have been an alpha if he had been born in the wild. He had the right personality for it, but the pack didn’t choose their alpha based on skill as wolves in the wild need to do. Since they were all babies at the same time, they looked to the biggest one to lead them, and that was Oakley.

Once Oakley left the pack unexpectedly, dynamics shifted and the pack inevitably had to be split apart. They didn’t know how to resolve disagreements peacefully anymore without their leader to guide the way. This is common among captive and wild packs when they lose their alpha. Kweo lived with his brother Falcon for a time with his sisters Bruja and Banshee nearby, separated only by a fence. At this point Kweo became more reserved, preferring the company of only those he knew best. Once Falcon passed away, Kweo moved in with his sister Ginger, one of the nine who had been dispersed at the age of two because of conflict between two alpha female personalities. Even though it had been nearly eight years since the two had lived together, they recognized each other instantly and were overjoyed to be reunited. He was far more reserved when he lived with Ginger, choosing only to engage with people from a distance, but he was content.

Kweo and Falcon are brothers and are the only members of the 9-pack with black fur. Kweo started out as a shy puppy but has lost that shyness. He will be right up front greeting visitors to the enclosure although he won't be as insistent as Torq for getting pets and attention. He tends to be very gentle.

Kweo loves to enjoy the sun while resting on top of the various wolf houses. If the other wolves are playing around, Kweo is often content to watch and take in the sunshine.d
Kweo seems to be the most photographed wolf at the Refuge. It may be his coloring, his calm demeanor or his willingness to stay in one place for more than a second. But everyone agrees, it is hard to get a bad picture of Kweo.

Now he runs with his brothers Oakley, Torq, Falcon, and Billy as well as his sister Sita on the other side. I’m sure they’re all happy to see each other again.

For more of Kweo's story as part of the Alaska 9 click here

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Dante (July 2022)  

Dante: (by Emily Rikard)

Wolfwood lost one of its pack members unexpectedly due to an unknown cause. Dante was nine years old, which for a large canine like him is within the age range that we can lose animals due to complications from old age. However, the loss was not one anyone was prepared for.

Dante was beloved by many volunteers and caretakers alike. I often lovingly referred to him as the jock or the frat boy of the refuge. He was athletic and always down for a good time.

He spent a majority of his nine years at the refuge with Stella, who passed away earlier this year, also unexpectedly. Upon her loss, Dante was inconsolable. He'd spend day and night pacing and crying, longing to have his best friend back. It was heartbreaking to watch.

Eventually Dante did find solace in Tala, one of our senior wolf residents. Their connection was instant when they were introduced and he spent his last several months bonding with her. He rediscovered joy in life.

Dante's passing struck everyone deeply. But at least some consolation can be found in the fact that now he is reunited with his deepest love, Stella.

Dante joined the Wolfwood Pack in July of 2014 when he was less than one year old. He came from Aztec NM when his owner passed away.

He was very skinny, had parasites and a bacterial infection when he arrived. However, after his vet visit he was given shots and medication and is getting healthier every day. He is a large animal and is in a new pen with Tala.

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Siku (July 2022)  

Wolfwood recently had to say goodbye to the oldest member of our pack. Siku's age finally caught up to her as she passed not long after the loss of her latest pen mate, Jill. She was 17.

Siku came to us in March of 2009 from a private home. She was one of the more shy and laid back animals at the Refuge and was incredibly gentle and loving to those who spent time with her. Her passion for life was truly contagious and she always played with the energy of a puppy, even in her later years.

As the years caught up to her and after the passing of her pen mate, Storm, Siku moved in with Jill, another of our elder residents. The two were loving known as the "golden girls" as they lived out the rest of their lives together, moving on within mere months of each other.

Siku came to Wolfwood from Farmington, NM as a one-year old.  Her owner had to move due to his job and couldn't keep her.  She is a shy, submissive animal and will allow you to approach her if she likes you.

She lived many of her younger years with Orley until his passing in 2018. 

Siku will be deeply missed by all who knew her, her gentle spirit never to be forgotten.

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Jill (May 2022)  

Jill was a medium percentage wolfdog who came to the Refuge in January 2014. Her age ass not known but she appeared to be a middle-aged animal. Both Jill and Kodiak came from the same sordid situation where 130 animals were stacked in airline crates, on top of each other, in a warehouse. The abhorrent details can be found here.

Nothing is known about Jill from her time before the rescue. She was scared and skittish when we first picked her up. Jill appears to have had some muscle atrophy from her time in the crate and may have some skeletal damage. She was an energetic, playful animal and she was happy at the Refuge. As with many of our animals, physical rehab was a priority with her.

Jill lived with Kodiak. They have both passed on, surrounded by people who loved them. They have room to throw back their heads and sing with the other animals that have found a home in the Forever Pack at Wolfwood Refuge.

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Goblin (February 2022)  

Goblin came to Wolfwood during October 2016 from the LaPlata County Humane Society along with Sienna. They had been running loose and were taken to the Humane Society. We believe that Goblin is Sienna's son. They are very bonded and the Humane Society asked if we could take both to give them a loving and safe environment where they could stay together.

Goblin had dental issues when he arrived at the Humane Society so he was very thin from not eating. The Humane Society had dental surgery done on him and he is fine. He quickly gained back the weight he had lost.

Nothing is known about Goblin's time before the Humane Society took them in.  We estimate that he was about 4 years old when he arrived.  Goblin and Sienna remain together.


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Stella (January 2022)


Stella was a sweet andloving girl. She came to us in 2013 from a private party in NM. Stella was an active and happy animal and it was a shock to lose her to liver failure at the age of 10. Visitors often got kisses from Stella from the top of her dog house.

Her pen mate, Dante, is inconsolable. We will try to find him a new friend as soon as possible, however it is very clear that no one can take the place of Stella.

Druid (December 2021)

Druid was one of our older animals. He was almost 14 when he passed away from cancer. He has lived here at WolfWood since he was 6 weeks old. He lived with his mother, Vesta, and his brother TJ. 

Vesta and her puppies were rescued from Walsenburg where they were in a very bad situation. It took an emergency midnight run to rescue them. Vesta was so weak she could not even get in and out of the truck. It took a year of rehabilitation, but the small pack of 3 that called WolfWood home went on to live happy and healthy lives. 

Druid was the shy one of the pack and was very attached to his mom. We will miss his interactions and antics every day.

Ipo (November 2021)

We've lost another one of our long term residents. Ipo passed in the night. She lived with Aspen and we have had her since she arrived as a sick little puppy. Ipo was shy, but tough. She survived a rattlesnake bite last year and loved to run and play. We add her to the list of animals for whom we are grieving.

Ipo came to Wolfwood in April of 2012 as a 12 week old, little  female.  She was very sweet and extremely shy. She was in the Aztec NM shelter when they contacted us.  We agreed to take her, but she developed a respiratory infection and it took a while to get better. When she got better she came to live with us. She was only 3 months old and very scared. She has really grown and now livesd first with Justice.  and then with Aspen. Ipo was always shy with people and hide n her house sometimes, but that's ok. We loved her and were glad she was safe.

Billy the Kid (October 2021)

One of the most difficult parts of rescue is dealing with the loss of the animals we love so deeply. Over a third of our animals are over 12 and we know we will continue to experience loss. As the animals and humans mourn we also celebrate the lives of the animals and the joy they had and were able to pass on to so many people. Without the compassion and generosity of so many people, many of the animals would not have been given the chance for such a good life.  Every animal we have lost leaves their tracks in our hearts.

Sadly we have lost yet another member of the Alaska nine pack.

Billy passed away from cancer. He and Ginger lived in their beautiful enclosure towards the back of the refuge. Billy was a big beautiful male and was one of the most photographed wolves at WolfWood. He and Ginger were famous for their very large den and their elusiveness. Billy loved his forest and took full advantage of the trees and terrain in his enclosure. He will be missed by everyone who was lucky enough to interact with him. 

For more of Billy's story as part of the Alaska 9 click here

In a few weeks we will attempt to put Kweo in with Ginger and see how they do.

Apollo (August 2021) by Michelle

Wolfwood has lost a precious soul. Apollo was a great round bear of a wolf-dog who loved his friends and his food. He was sadly young - just eight - but suffered from an inoperable tumor. His pen mate was Abra, and he was her faithful companion despite her shyness. He was beloved by those who knew him, with a wonderful howling greeting when a friend approached.

Apollo loved his food. He and Abra had to be fed last because she is so shy that the crew of volunteers had to be down the hill before the two of them would get their bowls (at a distance from each other). Otherwise, he would clean his bowl and head directly for hers. This afforded his friends a blessed opportunity for quality time with him while awaiting work up the hill to be completed.

Funnily enough, while a bit of a food-a-holic, he was very picky about his treats. He would sniff and dismiss most offered. As his friends sat with him, however, he eagerly sought a scratch behind his ears, a tummy rub, or a hug. You left Apollo feeling loved.

Smokey (August 2021) by Paula

Smokey is the real reason that WolfWood is important. Smokey was a shepherd/wolf dog who was very shy and apprehensive. He was not an ambassador and never interacted with the public. He did not like to be touched but he was loved from afar by many. Smokey was representative of all the hurt and abused animals out there in the world in need of our help. Smokey needed to be saved and so did we.

Smokey came to us in 2011 at 2 years old. He loved his treats and he loved Chica, his penmate. He was a big healthy animal until the night he died at 12 years old. Smokey was happy running with Chica, soaking up the sun on his dog house roof and participating in group howls. In short, he loved his life at WolfWood. He was not fond of people in general but he did not need to be. He lived his life because he got a chance to, here with us. Like all of our animals he had a presence that was uniquely his and we will all miss him.

Smokey was a high-percentage wolf/dog who came to the Refuge when he was a puppy.  His owner had dropped him off at a humane society and left no information about him other than to say he was a German Shepherd. As he grew, it became obvious that he was not a German Shepherd.  The humane society gave us a call saying they had a wolf/dog and we picked him up. He is very shy around people and lived with Chica

Ra (July 2021) by Jeanette

Wolfwood has lost an angel. Our beloved Ra passed away Thursday morning. Age had taken its toll on our big boy. He passed with Paula at his side. Paula Woerner's heart is broken, as he was truly her boy. She was the only mom he had ever known.

Here is Ra's story from Jeanette Metzner who was lucky enough to have been there for some of the early days of Ra's life at the refuge.

Ra came to the refuge in the summer of 2009 as a very sickly and scared baby wolf. He and his sister Tala came from an illegal breeder in Alaska. They were both in very poor health when they arrived. The breeder had taken them away from their mother at a very young age because he believed the myth that in doing so, they would bond with humans instead. They were chained and fed a horrible diet. Ra had a severe under bite and Tala, due to her malnourishment, was very small. The breeder deemed them not sellable. Some friends of Wolfwood who were in Alaska at the time stepped in and secured their release. They were flown to Albuquerque airport where Paula and Craig picked them up.

Paula had been told it was two females, and that they had their health checks before flying. What they found was a scared, growling black male and a tiny grey female. Ra's name comes from both the Egyptian sun God and the fact that all you heard coming from that kennel, was "Ra!!" He was terrified.

Tala's first night with Wolfwood was almost her last. She started running a fever and was quickly rushed to the vet. She had an upper respiratory infection and was severely dehydrated. She was admitted and put on an IV of antibiotics and fluids to rehydrate her little body. The vet wasn't sure she would pull through.

That left Ra in the care of strangers without his sister. He was a fear bitter from the start. It was the only way he knew to protect himself. Even baby wolves have a very strong bite. Brian Clark and I sat with him trying to comfort him, wearing bite gloves. We realized the bite gloves were making it worse. Ra associated the gloves with humans trying to touch him. Brian took them off and threw them over the fence. It calmed him just a little. He at least saw the bad things that grabbed him go away. He stopped snapping his jaws at us. Then Brian told him something that sticks with me to this day, "Don't worry boy. You're going to live in a place where you will never have to be afraid again."

Ra and Tala had to be put in the hospital pen at the refuge. They not only were sick from neglect, they also needed to have their shots. You can't risk making the other animals sick.

Ra needed a mom. Paula didn't have an alpha female at the refuge capable of raising puppies. Wolves need to be taught how to be a wolf. How to hunt. How to play without hurting your siblings, etc. Tala was the playful pup who just wanted to roughhouse. Ra was afraid of the world. Paula knew she was going to have to fill the role of Ra's mom. It would not be easy. He didn't trust anyone.

We built a temporary enclosure attached to the hospital pen. The pups were growing. Paula was spending every day gaining the pups trust. Especially Ra. He would not be won over easily. The humans he dealt with before coming to Wolfwood had only caused him pain. The day we built the temporary pen, I got to witness the moment Ra decided Paula was his mom. We were sitting on the ground watching them play. Suddenly Ra came over and laid in Paula's lap. He then crawled up and laid his head on her chest. That was it. He made the decision in that moment, this was his mom. I was lucky enough to be there and captured that moment with a photo.

While the new babies were spending time in their temporary enclosure, plans were made to build what would be Wolfwood's largest enclosure (at that time). When it was finished, watching this growing boy and his sister be able to run and play was pure joy. Ra was the king of his world.

Ra would travel with Wolfwood to events as an ambassador. He was turning silver as he grew. Black wolves often do. We had to put signs on his travel enclosure telling people not to touch. Not because he was the big bad wolf but because he was still a fear bitter. There were few humans in this world that Ra trusted. If you were lucky enough to watch him with Paula, it was pure love. He needed to know she was there. His world was okay as long as mom was there to reassure him. He learned to trust some of the other volunteers over the years. Elizabeth K Lawyer was one. When Paula wasn't there he would allow her and Joel to enter his enclosure to feed and care for him. But there was only one mom.

This tribute to Ra is also a tribute to Paula. If not for her love and patience Ra would not have had the wonderful life at the refuge he did. It was pure joy to watch him roll on his back for belly rubs from her. He was not the big bad wolf of myth. He was just a scared boy who needed his mom.

The promise Brian made to Ra as a scared little pup was kept. He lived life as the king of his domain. He had a large enclosure to run and play with his sister, Tala. He had plenty of food. He had the safety of the refuge itself. Everyone loved Ra. Most of all, Ra had what he longed for. A mom who loved him with all her heart. They had a very special bond.

I have paintings, photos, videos and especially memories of Ra. He meant a lot to me. I also loved him with all my heart. I hope he knew.

Our hearts are broken. But, we take comfort in knowing that Ra lived his best life at the refuge. For a pup that started out his life in such horror, he went on to become one loved and admired by everyone who knew him. He was special and we will all miss him greatly. I want to thank Craig Watson, Keith Lawyer, Brian Clark, Elizabeth K Lawyer, Tanya Roth and many other volunteers. But, most of all, Paula Woerner. They gave Ra a beautiful life

Kodiak (July 2021) by Emily

Photos by Ashley Weims

Wolfwood had to say goodbye to one of our gentlest souls this week, Kodiak. Over the past few weeks it became clear that Kodiak’s age was starting to catch up with him, as he had more and more trouble getting up and moving around. He passed on surrounded by people who loved him and his pen mate Jill lying by his side.

Kodiak was well known as having the best smile at the refuge, as well as one of the sweetest demeanors. He quickly became one of Wolfwood’s prime ambassadors after his arrival in 2014. Over the years he has attended most of Wolfwood’s events, and been pet by thousands of people. He was a fan favorite everywhere he went with his striking colors and size. Anyone who wanted to pet an animal could pet Kodi, including the smallest of children, disabled, and elderly people.

His story is one of resilience, and has always been one of my favorite stories to tell at the refuge. Kodiak and Jill came from a place claiming to be a dog sanctuary in Washington state. What the owner of the “rescue” was really doing was collecting money from doners online, and stacking dogs in crates in a warehouse. Eventually someone was able to get a picture of the conditions the dogs were living in online. There was an outcry against the place now dubbed the “Sanctuary of Sorrows” and in a panic the owner loaded up half the animals into a semi and started to drive south. An organization in New York called the “Guardians of Rescue” managed to contact the man and broker a deal with him. He left the trailer in Kingman, Arizona where the dogs were unloaded, triaged, and sent to other local vets. Wolfwood got a call that there were two wolf dogs in the trailer and Paula agreed to go down and pick them up. When Paula got there Kodiak immediately jumped in the truck, seeming to say, “I don’t know where I’m going, but I know where I’ve been.” His pen mate Jill took longer to warm up.

Wolfwood was concerned that the mental damage caused by the conditions they came from would be irreversible. However, within two weeks Kodiak and Jill were loving life. They loved each other, they loved Wolfwood, and most remarkably, they loved everyone else too.

Kodiak has always been a fast friend of volunteers who come to the refuge. My first time at the refuge I was told he and Jill would be a pen I was “guaranteed to get lovin in.” It didn’t take long for me to claim Kodiak as a favorite.

Kodi has been my best bud at Wolfwood for the past five and a half years. The loss of him has been one of the hardest for me, even though I know he was ready to go. He was my go to companion for lazy days at the refuge, and he never failed to put a smile on my face even on my worst days. He has also been one of my biggest teachers in my time at the refuge. Through sitting with him at events I learned how to better speak to people I don’t know, as well as how to be a better advocate for the animals.

His presence will be missed by everyone at the refuge, perhaps most of all by Jill, his constant companion through the worst of times at the Sanctuary of Sorrows and the best of times at Wolfwood.

Kodiak was a low-mid percentage wolfdog who came to the Refuge in January 2014 as a 4-year-old. Both Kodiak and Jill came from the same sordid situation where 130 animals were stacked in airline crates, on top of each other, in a warehouse. The abhorrent details can be found here.

Nothing is known about Kodiak from his time before the rescue other than his age. Fortunately, he seems to have tolerated his time in the tiny crate fairly well and now enjoys spending time with the volunteers at the Refuge. If he is given the choice of food or getting pets, he prefers pets. He definitely loves attention although he prefers to meet one person at a time.  If more try to visit at one time, he shies away.

Falcon (2021)

Falcon was the fourth member of the Alaska Nine Pack to leave us. He was mischievous and loved to tease the members of his family. Falcon was 10 and the third member to pass away in the last year. It has been very difficult for all of us to experience the loss of each individual and the loss of the pack as a whole.

Falcon's fulll story as a member of the Alaska 9 is located here.

Storm (2021)

Storm was 14 and lived with Siku, who was also 14 at the time of Storm's passing. Storm lived twice as long as wolves typically live in the wild! Before that he lived with Echo and Pan. He was shy and loving and his sweetness will be missed.

Storm first came to the refuge as a 2-year old in 2009 from the Aztec Animal Shelter.  He liked to bark but was very sweet.  He was quite active and sometimes a real challenge to catch.

Storm was part of a long-time 3-pack that consisted of Storm, Pan, and Echo.  With the passing of Pan and Echo, Storm was the last of the 3-pack to leave us.

Oakley (2020)  

Oakley is the third member of the Alaska 9 to pass. When Oakley went in for emergency surgery hope was high, but reality was always in the back of our minds. Oakley gave signs the end was near. The animals always seem to know. 9+ years with Oakley is not enough, but it will have to suffice for those of us lucky enough to have known him. All of Wolfwood feels his loss.

Thousands of people have had the opportunity to meet Oakley. They have petted him, been kissed by him, and even had the infamous wolf rub from him. Oakley was one of a kind. Oakley was the only full wolf who welcomed visitors and strangers alike. Oakley was the happiest animal ever. He was so patient with the public and so loving and so giving. It’s no exaggeration to say he's changed so many people’s lives for the better. There’s hundreds of people that will tell you they’ve never been the same since they got to interact with him.

Oakley underwent 5 hours of emergency surgery on Dec 4th, 2020 for a perforated stomach.. The x-rays didn’t show any foreign bodies however what could be determined required immediate action. So Oakley was prepped for surgery. It took 3 people and 5 hours to find the perforation, fix it, and do everything possible to clean the cavity of the digestive contents to prevent infection and peritonitis (lavaging the abdomen). Unfortunatly, at his age it simply wasn't enough.

Oakley joined the refuge, along with the other Alaska 9 wolf pack members, in July of 2011 as a weeks-old puppy. The Attorney General of Alaska had removed them from an illegal operation and they were flown down to the southwest to their new home at WolfWood. Early on, it was noticed that his personality seemed to be a fit for an ambassador animal but we never dreamed that a full wolf would welcome strangers and give love to so many.

When Oakley started going to public events, his affection for people became clear, especially with children. He would smother them in love and kisses to the point that we had to restrict the size of the children who could go in with him. We were concerned his size would hurt the very young even though he didn’t intend it. He just loved children. People would stand in line for hours to get to pet Oakley for a few minutes.

Oakley did have a “love interest.” It was Trinity. When Oakley and Trinity traveled to events, he insisted that he was next to her in the traveling trailer. If she went somewhere without him, he was not happy. When we lost Trinity, in 2018, Oakley’s heart was broken but he did rebound.

In 2018, Oakley had major surgeries for skin growths and tumors. His recovery was so extensive that he couldn’t go to events. It couldn’t be helped. He had surgeries like this since he was 2 and the condition was chronic. He was getting up in age and recovery was getting more difficult.

Oakley continued to meet visitors at the refuge. He was home, he was happy, and he was having a blast. In the back of our minds, we knew this was the best of times as he approached 9 years old. That is well beyond the life expectancy of any wolf and at the end of the life expectancy of any canine that size. 

As 2020 progressed, Oakley was relaxed. He had additional surgery for continued skin issues and hated the medications. But he recovered. With limited visitations and no public events, volunteers made the best of the situation and got to spend huge amounts of quality time with Oakley

Oakley's history as Alpha of the Alaska 9 is located here.

Roxy (2020):
We lost Roxy suddenly in early November. She had an undetected cancerous tumor on her spleen that burst. She showed no symptoms and had been her usual, lovable self.

Roxy came to Wolfwood in August of 2019, at the age of 7, from Aspen, CO. She was well taken care of and lived next to a neighbor who had a dog she was very friendly with. When the neighbor moved, Roxy constantly escaped and roamed the area looking for her friend. Unfortunately, she got herself into trouble with her behavior and needed a more secure setting.

Roxy was a favorite of everyone. She was a gentle, loving fur ball who liked nothing better than meeting visitors, getting pets, and giving kisses. She would gently walk up to greet people and the visitors would immediately fall in love with her. With her big smile and gentle ways, there was no way anyone would pass up a chance to say hello to Roxy. She was the biggest mush on the hill. If your day wasn't going well, all you needed was some loving from Roxy to make things better.

During her time at the refuge she lived next to Apollo, another very friendly animal, so she was never at a loss for company.

Roxy was 8 and in the 1 1/2 years she was at Wolfwood she made a big impression. It won't be the same passing by the corner on the hill and not having the big luv-muffin there to greet you.


Torq  (2020):
We had to let Torq go in May. He was 9.

Torq was the 2nd member of the Alaska 9 wolf pack to leave us. Each year, during shot days at the refuge, Dr. Wagner gives the animals preliminary examinations while administering vaccinations. Torq had not been quite himself and Ben noticed it. Dr. Wagner felt a large mass inside Torq and he was brought into the vet hospital for a more thorough investigation. The results were not good. Torq had a large cancerous tumor that had metastasized. Dr. Wagner is always willing to try surgical solutions to issues but the surgery in this case had a very low chance of success. Even if the surgery worked in a limited fashion, Torq's recovery would have been painful, both physically and mentally. He would have to be sedated constantly for wound treatment, given constant pain meds, and completely separated from the pack that is his family. He has not ever been separated from the pack since the time he was a puppy. Wolves play very rough and Torq would always be in the middle of it. He would be fragile and vulnerable even if he recovered. The heart-breaking decision was made to forgo surgery and return him to the pack at the refuge to enjoy some final time with his lifelong pack mates and friends. He left surrounded by the pack.

Torq joined the refuge, along with the other Alaska 9 wolf pack members, in July of 2011 as a weeks-old puppy. The Attorney General of Alaska had removed them from an illegal operation and they were flown down to the southwest US. As a puppy, he had a strange habit of lying down with his head arched backwards towards his tail. He was a quiet puppy but as he grew Torq quickly became known as the goofball of the 9-pack and earned the nickname "Torq the dork" for his silly behavior. Unfortunately, we also found in the first year that Torq has seizures and he would be on seizure medication for the rest of his life. (These were the same type of seizures that took his half-sister Sita's life in 2015.)

Torq was always one of the first animals to greet visitors to the enclosure. He liked seeing people and was one of the larger wolves in the pack. You could easily pick out Torq in the pack because he was very submissive to Oakley and always followed him around, even using Oakley as a pillow. Oakley never minded. Torq would often give a lesson in wolf submissive behavior that visitors initially would misunderstand. He would wrap his jaws around Oakley's snout and appear to bite down. You would then hear lots of whining that it was assumed was coming from Oakley and that Torq was hurting Oakley. Nope, the behavior was Torq showing his submissive role to Oakley and it was Torq who was making the sounds. When playtime came, especially in the evenings, Torq would be in the middle of a bunch of wolves that looked like they were going to kill each other. They would be running around, piling on, jumping in and out of the stock tanks, and just being a bunch of big kids. It was the ultimate in roughhousing play that the pack constantly took part in. Torq never tired of it.

We sometimes forget that the average wolf only lives 5-6 years in the wild. At the refuge they live much longer as they have full vet care, more than enough food and drink, constant companionship, and they don't get injured hunting. But that also means they develop conditions not seen in the wild that are naturally seen in older canines. In this way, Torq was no exception.

The pack dynamics will change with Torq gone and it will be closely monitored. Torq has a special place in our hearts and in the pack. He had a full life, surrounded by companions. We should all be so lucky. We will miss Torq, the goofball of the Alaska 9 pack. The memories he gave us are priceless.

Sable  (2020):

Sable quietly left the pack on a Sunday night in early May, just 2 weeks after losing his long-time penmate, Akayla. He was 12 and had no apparent health issues other than moving a bit slower due to his age.

Sable was one of Wolfwood's resident dogs and he had a special job at the refuge; His role was to instill stability, calm, and security to Akayla. Since Akayla had been severely abused, she needed a companion she could feel safe with. Sable provided that to Akayla for many years until Akayla's passing.

Sable was Vesta's son and the brother of Tj and Druid, all of who continue to guard the top of the hill. He came to the Refuge in 2008 from Walsenburg, Co. with Vesta as one of her nine puppies. They were in a very bad situation and Vesta was starving and too weak to get up and walk around. Vesta was a good mother but without nutrition, her future and that of her pups was bleak. Sable was one of the pups that was adopted after everyone got healthy and he went to a good home with a loving owner. Unfortunately, his owner fell on hard economic times and could not keep Sable anymore. He brought Sable back to the Refuge, as is our policy when things like this happen, and we welcomed him back. Sable was the calm member of his family and that made him a good match for Akayla. He was confident and friendly. He welcomed visitors with dainty kisses while Akayla stood to the side. Sable and Akayla became penmates and best friends for many years.

Sable was downcast when Akayla passed just 2 weeks ago. He was given new neighbors in hope of helping him recover but his melancholy remained. He missed Akayla. After so many years together, he didn't know what to do without her. He and Akayla can be together again.

Akayla  (2020):

Akayla left the Wolfwood pack in April. She was 12 and in failing health.

Akayla was the last member of the family trio that included Trinity and Rowan. She came to the Refuge early in 2009 after being severely abused. When she arrived at the refuge, both her front legs had been broken by either a bat or pipe. She spent 6 months in casts and Joel took care of her every day. It took many months, but Akayla recovered physically. Mentally, she retained some wariness for strangers and male visitors, except Joel, whom she loved.  Akayla lived many years with Sable, who she got along with very well. Sable was more social and he helped Akayla break out of her shell to a certain point.

Over the past few years, Akayla has had a series of medical issues, each of which was under constant treatment. However, mobility had become an issue for her and moving around was difficult and painful. It was time. She left surrounded by her friends and neighbors at the refuge. We are very happy that she got to be with the pack for so long.

Akayla is a good example of why Wolfwood exists. In situations where others would have put down an animal as abused as Akayla was when she came to Wolfwood, Wolfwood focused on getting her better regardless of the cost. As she aged, she was treated to the best care possible to make her comfortable until the right time came.

We wish Akayla well on her journey to meet Trinity, Rowan, and all the departed members of the pack.

Moki  (2020):

We lost Moki the end of March due to the effects of a black widow spider bite. He was 5.  His kidneys and systems shut down and there was nothing that could be done.

Moki came to Wolfwood in December of 2018, as a 4 year-old wolfdog, from the Los Angeles SPCA. He flew into Denver where volunteers picked him up and transported him to the refuge. After spending some time in the hospital pen, he moved into the "Palace", one of our larger enclosures on top of the hill.

Moki didn't have a penmate but he had neighbors. He really didn't know how to interact with other animals but a shared fence line with Xena provided him with the socialization he needed. It had been hoped that Moki and Xena could share an enclosure.

Moki was exceptionally playful with volunteers. He quickly became a favorite with everyone and got lots and lots of visits. He liked to try to have volunteers chase him around his enclosure. Of course, there was no way anyone would catch him. He loved visitors and he loved pets.

In his final hours, Moki enjoyed pets and some outdoor time. He was young and strong and initially survived a bite that would have killed most animals. But, in the end, his body couldn't fight any longer. In the one year he was at the refuge he made a lasting impression on everyone who had the joy of visiting and playing with him. We will miss him very much.

Echo  (2019):

Echo left the pack to join her brother Pan in October. She was 11.

Echo was part of a long time 3-pack that included her brother Pan along with Storm. Pan left the pack in 2017. This was a favorite stop for slightly older children as a visit with this wolfdog 3-pack would be filled with kisses, nuzzles, licks, and general silliness. Visitors had to be prepared for an enthusiastic reception, especially from Pan and Echo.

Echo and Pan joined the Refuge in January of 2009. They came from the Larimer Shelter. Their owner had to move back east due to a family illness and couldn't take them with him. Being they were wolfdogs, their chance of being adopted was zero. They were scheduled to be put down on the day Wolfwood contacted the shelter. So began their energetic life at the Refuge. Storm joined them later that year. Early on in their residency they were ambassador animals. But all 3 enjoyed the freedom of their large enclosure above all.

Echo, along with Pan and Storm, was visited by hundreds of children. Their pack was one of the most athletic, and silly collections of Wolfwood members. As Echo aged she developed arthritis of the spine. She became less active but was still very loving. She was on medications for the pain but she told Paula the medications were no longer enough and it was time.
It will take Storm a while to adjust, but he has been given some new neighbors to help him. The visitors and volunteers at the Refuge will always be thankful for the fun and adventure that Echo, and her packmates, provided over many years.

Sam  (2019):

Sammy left the pack in September. He was at least 13.

Sam was one of our resident dogs who joined the pack during January of 2014. He was a very unsocial lab/mix who was sent to the Adams County Shelter after a hoarding situation was shut down. He was considered unadoptable and was recommended for euthanasia. The shelter kept him for over 4 months looking for a place for Sam. WolfWood agreed to accept him at the request of our state inspector with the hope that he will be a companion animal for Cinder, another dog, who had recently lost her partner.

Sam and Cinder were paired in a new pen. Cinder had been used as a hospice companion for many of our older wolves and she took right to Sam. She made sure he ate and Cinder guarded the gate. Sam started to come out of his shell. He became braver and stayed outside his house and barked at people coming up the hill. After Cinder passed away at the end of 2015, Destiny joined Sam. Of the two, Sam was actually the more out-going.

Sam never fully took to people. But for more than 5 years he had constant companionship, lots of food, and a safe environment while he guarded the bend at the top of the hill.


Justice  (2019):

Justice left the pack in June. He was 12 years old.
Justice came from Ignacio and arrived at the Refuge in May of 2013. His owner had to move to a small place in town and could not keep Justice. The neighbors complained and he lived in a very small cage with no exercise. He barked a lot but was not aggressive.

Justice was rarely seen by visitors and was pen-mates to a couple of extremely shy animals, first Minnie and then Ipo. Since Justice was quite curious, and Ipo was excessively shy, a casual observer wouldn't know that he had any companions. But Justice and Ipo got along just fine when they thought no one was watching.
We believe that Justice had a sudden seizure. 

We wish Justice well in his travels over the rainbow bridge. He was a great companion to our shy animals. 




Finn  (2019):

Finn left the pack in August.   He was 8 years old. Finn was a gentle giant. He wasn't a wolf but he was a key part of our educational program for several years.

Finn joined Wolfwood in March of 2014 from the Aztec Animal Shelter. He had been severely abused. He was emaciated, weak, and very scared. He had food avoidance issues, which indicated that he was beaten when he tried to eat. His neck was damaged from the chain he was always on. He required extensive physical and mental rehabilitation.

With extensive work, Finn learned to trust the volunteers and gained weight. He loved being petted and getting attention from Refuge volunteers. He even went on daily walks. With his recovery, he went on the road with the education programs as Paula showed the differences between wolves, wolfdogs, and dogs. Finn was a great example since people assumed that, due to his size, he must be a wolf. Nope, he was a very big, lovable German Shepard. Visitors to the Refuge would often stop and see Finn when he retired from the road.

Several attempts were made to pair Finn with a friend. But he didn't like having a penmate. We believe it was because of his vision issues. While Finn trusted people, he didn't trust other animals that he couldn't see clearly. So, he had his own bachelor pad but always had neighbors. He liked that arrangement.

The last few months, Finn had been having GI issues. He would stop eating for periods and had lost quite a bit of weight. Recently he appeared to be eating better but it was a last rally. He was arthritic and had trouble moving around. It was only a matter of time. He left on his own terms during a beautiful summer night.

We will miss the big guy. We are very happy that we were able to give him a loving home for over 5 years and thank all the volunteers and supporters who helped with Finn's extensive recovery.


Nikki  (2019):

Nikki (aka Nikita) left the pack in April due to the severe effects of the heartworm he arrived with. He was probably 5 or 6 years old.

Nikki was a dog that came to the Refuge in April of 2015 from Longview, Texas. A Wolfwood volunteer had gone to pick up another animal and saw the terrible shape Nikki was in and decided to bring him back to the Refuge. Nikki had been scheduled to be put down the next day at the Humane Society.

Nikki arrived close to death and required extraordinary measures to save his life. He had been abused and starved almost to death. He was in such poor shape that he couldn't stand up. He was exceptionally emaciated and it was a wonder that he was still alive. However, it is the Refuge's policy to do everything possible to help any animal we take in, wolf or dog. Nikki was put in an isolated pen and given plenty of special food and water. After several days, he was able to get up and he started moving around. His personality showed he was a loving and gentle guy. However, Nikki had several serious infections and advanced heartworm. After 2 years of intensive medical care and special food Nikki tested negative for heartworm. But the damage had been done. He had scarring on his lungs and heart damage.

After recovering enough, he lived next to Abra and Apollo. He eventually went to greet volunteers but remained rather shy and always protective of his food

Special thanks goes to Karen Meroney Wilbert for sponsoring the high costs associated with Nikki's special food and care. With her help we were able to give Nikki 4 additional years of life, safety, and love.


Aldo  (2019):

The pack lost one of its younger members when it lost Aldo in January due to a previously unknown heart condition. He was only 5.

Aldo came to Wolfwood November of 2013 as a 5-month-old German Shepard/wolfdog. He was living in a car with his owner, who contacted us and said he couldn't keep him anymore. He took Aldo to the La Plata Humane Society, where he was neutered and given his shots.

When Aldo arrived at the Refuge he was put in with Trinity. Trinity had lost her longtime companion and young Aldo provided a new challenge to her. Aldo was energetic and in need of a parental influence. Trinity provided that and several years of happiness ensued.

After Trinity's passing in 2018, attempts were made to put Aldo with other animals, but it was never the same as it was with Trinity. Aldo spent the last few months being a neighbor to Chica and Smokey. This arrangement suited him as he had his own bachelor pad but could endlessly run the fence-line with his neighbors. He was always a bit shy and liked meeting people but he only welcomed pets from selected volunteers, especially Joel.

Aldo had a severe reaction to a spider bite and was very sick. He was treated and seemed to recover but it is possible the bite and reaction exasperated his heart condition.

Aldo was one of the few animals at the Refuge who did not come to us from an abusive situation. He had a short life that was full of play, companionship, and lots of treats. We are heart-broken to have lost him so young.


Sheba  (2018):

Sheba left us in July due to complications from her advanced age. She was 13.

Sheba was a wolf/dog who joined the Refuge during July of 2014. She had been well cared for by a local woman but a divorce meant that Sheba no longer had a place to stay.

Sheba became a surrogate mother when Jinn arrived at the Refuge as a puppy. Jinn was put in with Sheba. Sheba's maternal instincts kicked in and she was lovingly referred to as "St. Sheba" because of her enduring patience with Jinn. As a puppy Jinn constantly chewed and licked Sheba. She jumped all over her and Sheba took it all with a big smile. Sheba was great at allowing Jinn to be a rowdy puppy, but reminding her when enough is enough. Jinn was very lucky we had this gentle wolf/dog to be her role model. The two of them became inseparable and went everywhere together including to external educational events.

Sheba took on the motherly role again when Gideon joined the Refuge as a weeks-old puppy in April 2018. She nurtured Gideon and we had our amusing issues associated with a wolf/dog trying to communicate with a dog. Gideon was well cared for by Sheba.

With all this love it was easy to miss the fact that Sheba was advanced in her age. She had thyroid cancer and she had lost control of her hindquarters. Sheba told us it was time. She stopped eating and drinking. We all know those signs.

It is rare that we get an animal into the Refuge like Sheba. She was kind, gentle, and a great surrogate mother. She loved to be petted and gave the love back to everyone. We were lucky to be able to give her a home for her last 4 years. We will miss seeing her everyday at the front of the Refuge.


Tavi  (2018):

We lost Tavi the same day as Sheba, in July. She was almost 14 years old and had been at the Refuge 11 years.

Tavi was a wolf/dog who came to the Refuge from Delta, CO in 2007. She had been starved and abused by her owner. She required extensive physical rehab and socialization. It took almost a month to go through the process to get her removed from her situation and get her to Wolfwood.

When Tavi arrived, she was put in with Lakota. Lakota, who was equally under the weather, became Tavi's best friend and they spent many years together. However, Tavi remained very shy and visitors to the Refuge rarely saw her. She was sweet and interacted well with Lakota but she remained wary of human interactions preferring to be left alone by people. Volunteers might get her to come to the fence by offering her a treat and would sometimes be allowed rare one-on-one time. After Lakota passed in 2014, Tavi was briefly paired with Kewa but, for the most part, she preferred to remain alone. She liked being in her own space next to Finn the last year.

Tavi had two strokes recently and had difficulty getting up and moving around. She was tired and she went peacefully.

Tavi is a good example of why the Refuge exists. She came in broken and abused and was able to spend the next 11 years of her life safe, secure, and cared for. Even in her shyness she showed everyone how sweet and strong she was. Travel well, Tavi.


Trinity  (2018):

Wolfwood lost the heart and soul of our educational programs when Trinity succumbed to her yearlong battle with a nasal tumor in early April. She was 9 years old.

Trinity came to the Refuge early in 2009 as a young puppy. She had been found abandoned on streets of Pueblo CO and ended up at the Pueblo Animal Shelter. She was born with hip complications and the bones of her hind legs did not fit into her hip sockets, the result of bad breeding. 

When she arrived at the Refuge it became clear that her personality was a great fit for the educational program. She loved to be petted endlessly and loved everyone, especially children. As Trinity grew older, we waited to see if the hip problem would correct itself. One of her legs fused correctly, the other did not. Trinity had several hip surgeries. The latest, in mid 2012, had her leg bone cut and muscle wrapped around the bone to hold it in place. The operation worked and her hip problems were finally fixed.

As part of the education program Trinity relished in attention. She was a wonderful example of a wolfdog with clear features of both. She would have endless patience as Paula showed Trinity's ears, tail, wolfspot, legs, etc to point out similarities and differences with other dogs and wolves.

For the first few years at the Refuge, Trinity lived with Navarre and Domino. When they passed, in 2011 and 2012, the search started for another penmate. In 2013, a puppy wolfdog named Aldo joined Trinity and several years of happiness ensued.

In the Spring of 2017, a nasal tumor was found. The condition was terminal and the priority was to make Trinity's remaining time as comfortable as possible. Dr. Wagner consulted with experts from around the country and a treatment plan was decided on. Donors stepped forward to help offset the treatment costs and Trinity made her final visits to many events, again welcoming endless pets and belly rubs.

Trinity was unique. She would gladly roll over for belly rubs. At every event she was the rock star. She was petted by thousands of people over the years. While other animals would lose interest in the attention, Trinity never tired of it. She loved kids and was completely comfortable around visitors in wheelchairs. Paula took her to countless elementary schools for educational events and Trinity loved it.

When Trinity's body was moved on a stretcher to the truck, Paula heard something she had never heard before. It started with Ra and Tala, two full wolves. They began to howl a deep mournful howl that spread up the hill to the whole Refuge. They all were grieving the loss of Trinity. Trinity's passing left a hole in the Refuge that can never be filled. She left a very large paw print on all our hearts. Thousands of people will remember her as the face of the Refuge. We were very fortunate to have known her.


Orley  (2018):

We lost Orley in March due to issues associated with Canine Lupus. He was one of our longtime pack members and was at least 10 years old.

Orley came to the Refuge in 2009. His story is typical of many animals that Wolfwood takes in. He was a stray that was found by the Southern Ute Tribe Animal Control organization. At the time, it was estimated he was 2 years old, but since he was a stray, his background and exact age aren't known.

What quickly became apparent is that Orley had been abused. He did not like to be touched in any way.  But he was a strong boy and he was physically healthy. Volunteers let him be and made sure he was well fed and had plenty of water.  Over the ensuing years, Orley calmed down and he joined Siku as a lifelong penmate. He still didn't like to be touched by anyone but having a companion slowly changed Orley. The years went by and Orley eventually let volunteers approach him and even pet him.

In the last few years, Orley developed Canine Lupus. This attacks various organs and is not curable. Orley was on steroids to help him but the final result was inevitable.

Orley embodied the reason the Refuge exists. Unwanted animals are taken in and given the chance to live in an environment that understands their unique needs. Orley came in damaged and slowly learned to trust and have a peaceful existence. He wasn't seen by many visitors other than Refuge volunteers, but that is the way he liked it. We wish him well in his journey.


Kohl  (2018):

For 12 years he has been the first animal people met at the Refuge. He was the guardian and the gatekeeper who would alert volunteers and pack members alike of someone entering the Refuge. He was introduced as "That's Kohl, he's just a dog."

Kohl left us in February. His heart was strong but his body was tired. He was 12.

Kohl occupied a special place at the Refuge. With all our wolves and wolf/dogs, it was Kohl, a big, black lab mix that had the job as the gatekeeper. Anyone who visits the Refuge knows that wolves make terrible "watchdogs."  Kohl embraced that role. But once he knew you, you were welcomed with lots of Kohl-fur and Kohl-slobber.

Kohl joined the Refuge in 2006 as a puppy. Like several of our dogs, his initial role was that as a companion to one of our wolves, Tonka. Tonka had lost her brother and was inconsolable. Kohl came from the local animal shelter and joined Tonka. Tonka's maternal instincts took over and she raised Kohl. Of course, we now had a wolf trying to teach a dog and the combination had some funny consequences. Wolves communicate in ways that Kohl couldn't respond to sometimes. Wolf ears are short and can move in different directions. Kohl had big floppy ears that just did what they did which was to lie down on top of his head. So when Tonka sent Kohl a message using her ear movements, Kohl couldn't respond. Kohl had big facial jowls so he couldn't respond to Tonka facial movement either. Tonka would get a bit confused but Kohl didn't mind at all. Despite these differences, they got along wonderfully until Tonka's passing in 2012.

With Tonka gone, several attempts were made to put different animals with Kohl to keep him company. But he had no patience for any of them, especially the younger ones. He quickly made it clear that he wanted to be in his own pen and his own space. Neighbors surrounded him but his bachelor pad was his own.

Kohl had been showing serious signs of age. He would lose his footing and trip, he wasn't eating, and he had growths removed that tested positive for malignant bone cancer. He took his medicine like a trooper and endured his wrappings and the cone. But one look at his face told you it was time.

As he crosses the rainbow bridge you can imagine his reply when he is asked what he did in life. His reply would be, "I was a dog. But I guarded wolves."


Rukai  (2017):

We lost the 2nd half of our energizer bunny pair suddenly in December when Rukai left us. He was 12. Rukai had been running and playing earlier in the day when he suddenly went down. He had been showing the signs of age and was starting to have back problems. He left quickly.

Rukai joined the Refuge November of 2007 as a young 2-year old mix. He had been in several different homes in California but was not happy. When Rukai arrived he immediately joined Ghost and the fun and happy times started immediately. For almost 10 years Ghost and Rukai were the best of friends and the ultimate pair of energetic animals to visit. You had to stand firm and be prepared for LOTS of playing when you went into their enclosure. You were not allowed to rest if you wanted to stay with them. Their leaping ability, strength, and boundless energy were unmatched anywhere at the Refuge.

When Ghost passed earlier in the year, Rukai was heart-broken. He had lost his playmate of almost 10 years. However, his resiliency shone through and he recovered as he was showered with attention. He also gained a new, young playmate as Valkyrie joined him.

Rukai left on his own terms. He was running and playing. His back issues had not yet advanced to the point where he was in pain. He was the happiest animal on the planet until the very end.

Ghost and Rukai are together again. We hope that anyone who visits them across the Rainbow Bridge is ready for the ultimate in playtime.


Rowan  (2017):

We lost Rowan in late August. He had no known health issues, other than ACL surgery a few years back, so this was unexpected. Rowan was 9.

Rowen came to us a year after Trinity and Akayla, from Pueblo in 2010. He was their brother. His owner died and he was taken to the same shelter.  Despite being very large, he was lonely and skittish when he came, bonding to only a few people. We decided to see if the girls, Juno and Siren, liked him and they did! It was such a unique combination of sizes, percentages and personalities, yet they found a way to make it all work. Even though Rowan was the biggest one in his pen he let the youngest, and littlest, penmate (Siren) boss him around. Juno passed away a few years ago but Rowan and Siren stayed together.

Rowan was very shy with visitors and would choose to peek out at you from behind trees. However, once he decided that he liked you, he sat right on top of your feet and was extremely affectionate.

Rowan was one of the most frequent howlers at the Refuge. When Nova was in the enclosure across from him they seemed to have conversations using theirs howls. Of course, everyone else would join in. Rowan lost his howling partner when Nova passed away in 2014.

Since Rowan was so large, maybe 9 years of age isn't unusual. He was active and happy the whole time. But it is a shock to everyone at the Refuge. He was a volunteer favorite. We are glad he lived a life full of companions and visitors. We will miss his howls. 


Sawyer  (2017):

Sawyer left us in August due to liver disease. He was 11.

Sawyer was a dog who came to the Refuge in 2006, along with his siblings, from the Ute reservation at 8 weeks old. All found homes except Sawyer. We took him to the Humane Society so he could get adopted. Sawyer however, decided he didn't want to live at the humane society or a home and tossed a fit. He tried three different places but was not happy anywhere. He was returned to the Refuge and was happy again as he lived in the same pen he was in as a puppy. He loved his volunteers but not strangers.

Sawyer lived alone for the last 5 years as that is the way he wanted it. He always had neighbors on bordering fence lines but was content to be by himself.



Mojo  (2017):

Mojo succumbed to a rare form of lung cancer at the age of 14 in August. He was a runaway who came from the Durango shelter in 2008 as a 5-year old adult. At first glance, he appeared to be a low percentage animal. However, on closer examination, it was clear he was a mid to high percentage wolfie.

Mojo was an escape artist. When he first came to Wolfwood, his enclosure was specially built to keep him from escaping. Instead, he climbed over the high fences into adjoining enclosures. Finally, he climbed into an enclosure that contained Aspen and Avalanche and there he stayed. They were a happy 3-pack for many years.

Mojo was very social with other animals and was a great penmate. When it came to people, Mojo loved Joel. With others, he would be shy initially. He would walk around the back of his shelter but eventually come up to say hello.

Ghost  (2017):

The Refuge lost one of the original "energizer bunnies" as Ghost left us in April due to neurological issues. For many years, Ghost and his long-time buddy, Rukai, were the powerhouse pen-mates of Wolfwood. They had so much energy, along with their large frames, that volunteers had to steady themselves for an onslaught of jumps and rubs from these two big boys.

Ghost was used as a warehouse guard during his early years before coming to the Refuge. He was raised to not like people and warehouse staff taunted him, while on his chain, so he would not let people approach him. A worker took Ghost from the warehouse, restrained him, and brought him to Wolfwood in July of 2006. Ghost was 5 years old. At the time, he was aggressive and couldn't be touched.

It took 9 months for Ghost to allow anyone to touch him as he slowly learned that he could trust the volunteers. Later in 2007, Rukai joined him and the fun started. Their leaping ability was unparalleled and they would run and jump all day. For the volunteers, this was the pen to visit for pure fun. They were two very happy canines. The only "request" that Ghost made was that his enclosure had to be behind Paula's house. If he was put anywhere else he refused to stop crying.

Ghost maintained his strength and personality through his latter years. But he had lost control of his limbs and at 16 years old, it was time. He left with his family by his side. Rukai would not let him be removed from the pen and had to be convinced to let him go. It is a great loss to every member of the Refuge but it was 11 years of fun and joy for Ghost and everyone who knew him.

Pan  (2017):

In January, the Refuge lost one of its most visited pack members as Pan was taken from the pack suddenly by Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (rotation of the stomach). This condition cuts off the circulation of the blood to the body. He was 9 years old.

Pan was part of a long time 3-pack that included his sister Echo along with Storm. This was a favorite stop for slightly older children as a visit with the 3-pack would be filled with kisses, nuzzles, licks, and general silliness. Visitors had to be prepared for an enthusiastic reception, especially from Pan and Echo. Pan was also a good example of a wolf/dog since he had blue eyes. Every volunteer knows that adult wolves never have blue eyes.

Pan and Echo joined the Refuge in January of 2009. They came from the Larimer Shelter. Their owner had to move back east due to a family illness and couldn't take them with him. Being they were wolf/dogs, their chance of being adopted was zero. They were scheduled to be put down on the day Wolfwood contacted the shelter. So began their energetic life at the Refuge. Early on in their residency they were ambassador animals. But all 3 enjoyed the freedom of their large enclosure above all.

Kewa (2016):

Kewa was a high-percentage wolf/dog who arrived at WolfWood in 2004, with his mother and brother. They were at Best Friends in Kanab, Utah. The owner had died and left them with nothing. Best Friends brought them to Wolfwood and helped pay for their enclosure at the very top of our hill. For years they were one of the pens visitors loved to go in. Kewa was always one of our most handsome boys and was very dedicated to his mom. After his Mom died in 2014 he went to live in an enclosure with Sammy due to failing eyesight. Sammy's enclosure was flat with no boulders that Kewa would trip over. Kewa was very happy here, but at 16 his health was rapidly deteriorating. Blindness and lameness caused him to have great difficulty getting around. He also seemed to be in pain, despite his daily medication. In an act of love and respect for Kewa, we decided to let him go in December before Christmas.



Piper (2016):

Piper was a dog that came to us from the Cortez Shelter. She was elderly, starved and very sick when we got her in July 2014. She made a dramatic recovery while living with Trucker. She was our smallest animal but also one of our loudest. Our joke was to say "Piper, pipe down!" She passed away in December from old age and we were honored to provide her with a great life for her final few years.





Phaedra (2016):

Phaedra left the pack early September. She 16 1/2 and was our last arctic wolf.

Phaedra was a high percentage wolf/dog that came to Wolfwood, with Atlas, in the summer of 2004 from Gunnison, Co. They were found starving when they were caught by animal control. She was born in 2000 and lived with Atlas until his death in 2012. Phaedra and Atlas were both large animals and they lived in the largest enclosure at the top of the hill.
Phaedra was always a bit shy and protective of her food. However, once you became her friend she was happy to give you a friendly wolf rub that would push you over if you were not expecting it.

She was living with Bo before he passed and with Archie the past 2 1/2 years. She had a strong heart but her body succumbed to the effects of age. Phaedra was a beautiful, regal member of the pack.


Avalanche (2016):

We lost Avalanche in January. She was 10.

Avalanche was one of our low percentage wolf/dogs and was a mix of Malamute and wolf (mostly Malamute). She was a good example of a key difference between wolves and dogs. Avalanche's tail was always high and curled, the exact opposite of a wolf's.

Avalanche came to the Refuge as a puppy in 2005. Because of her low wolf percentage she was adopted out to a good home. She grew up to be a very sociable and friendly adult. However, in 2009 her owner went through a divorce and couldn't keep her any longer. As per the adoption agreement, her owner brought her back to the Refuge where she eventually joined up with Mojo and Aspen to form a very active 3-pack. This was always a fun enclosure for the volunteers to visit.  Avalanche ended up being the dominant animal and became the boss of the 3-pack. When meat was given out she made sure she had first choice of the food although she would share once she has made her selection.

In the last year or so Avalanche started slowing down noticeably. She was not as active and it was clear her time was approaching. She succumbed to the complications of latter years.  Avalanche had a good life. Caring companions, human and canine, always surrounded her. She was never alone and never abused. Travel well.

Sita (2015):

2015 left the Refuge on a very sad note as we lost Sita, one of the Alaska 9 wolves. She was 4. Due to her young age and apparent healthy condition we had an autopsy done. Nothing wrong was found on autopsy and since we know that her half-brother Torq has a seizure condition, it was concluded that Sita died from a massive seizure. The Alaska 9 came from a bad-breeder and there are lots of family traits shared throughout the 9. Torq has had small seizures since he was a puppy and is on medication for that. Sita had never had a seizure before. It is believed that bad breeding resulted in neurological problems.

Sita joined the Refuge in 2011 as a weeks old puppy with the rest of the Alaska 9 pack. She came from Alaska after a breeder was shutdown and arrested. Sita was one of the smaller puppies but she quickly grew and caught up in size to the larger pack members. She lived and played with the pack until they reached maturity. At that point, the Alaska 9 split themselves into two packs. Sita, her sister Ginger and her brother Billy became one pack and the other 6 wolves became the second pack. Sita's 3-pack had a new enclosure built for them and its large size and abundant brush and trees made it perfect cover for the shy 3-pack.

Sita was always one of the shier wolves of the pack. She was a perfect example of how a wolf would do things in the wild. She would cautiously approach a very patient Refuge volunteer and then sniff. Sometimes a lucky visitor would be able to catch a glimpse of her through the vegetation. But she did not like to be petted and would scamper away if you raised your arm to pet her. However, if you didn't, she would start to go after the shoelaces on your boots. You had to be careful because she was very good at getting enough of the shoelace off to steal your boot. She would run around the enclosure with it waiting for you to run after her (without a boot). She clearly had the advantage. You quickly learned that chasing her was futile. It was better to just wait until she got bored with your boot. 

As with humans, we can lose loved ones for no apparent reason. Wolves are no different. In this case, we have lost one of our children. One who we fed and cared for as a baby, had the adventure of going through the challenges of the "terrible twos", played with as a "teen" and watched grow into a beautiful, young, female wolf. We lost her too early.

Life will go on at the Refuge, as it needs to do. Ginger and Billy are still watching for Sita but they will adjust, as we all must do. The Alaska 9 pack will still remain the "Alaska 9." But, things will always seem a bit different at the lower part of the hill. There is a big, strong, young wolf watching over her pack members now. She leaves a hole in our hearts and we will miss her profoundly.

Cinder (2015):

Cinder left the pack in December. She had a growth and was scheduled to go to the Vet. But, when Paula and Joel went to get her, she had already passed. They found her in her house with her pen-mate Sam by her side. She was 12.

Cinder was not a wolf, or a wolf/dog; She was a dog. She filled a very special role at the Refuge, that of a hospice companion and a caregiver to some of our most needy pack members.  She joined Wolfwood in 2008. She had her foot crushed in a coyote trap and was at the La Plata County Humane Society for almost a year. Because of her foot, no one would adopt her. The shelter did not want to put her down so they called Wolfwood to see if we could take her. Cinder had the right type of fur for the outdoor life our wolves have at the Refuge and she could take the cold winter temperatures. She joined the pack.

Cinder became a "hospice" companion to Mac, one of our older animals with cancer. She brought him presents and he gave her kisses. After 2 years, he passed and Cinder got another older animal, Coco, to take care of. She became his friend to the end. Cinder then moved in with Tacoma. He was a large, shy wolf/dog with a bit of a temper. Cinder became his protector and made sure no one would approach Tacoma's gate or enter his pen without her permission. Tacoma calmed down and his fence fighting stopped. The little dog had calmed the big wolf/dog. Her last charge was Sam, an exceptionally shy, isolated animal. Cinder made sure Sam got his food and ate it. She again guarded the gate and made Sam feel safe. Sam eventually started coming out of his shell.

Cinder was unique. She took her roles seriously and was the ultimate canine caregiver. She liked people and liked to be petted but made sure everyone knew her most important role was the protection and caring of her pen-mates. Those of us at the Refuge knew and appreciated the vital role she held.  The pack and the volunteers thank you Cinder and wish you well on your journey. We will miss your nurturing instincts.

Juno (2015):

Juno left us in October. We believe she was about 15 years old.  She was the elder member of the unlikely group that included Rowan and Siren. She came to the Refuge in 2008 from the Farmington animal shelter. She had been found running loose with her mate, Jasper, and both had been identified as wolfdogs. We picked them up the day before they were scheduled to be put down.

Juno was exceptionally stressed and had given birth to a litter of puppies some time before we brought her to the Refuge. The puppies didn't come to the Refuge and were already adopted out to families. Juno and Jasper quickly adjusted to regular meals and stress-free lives. However, Juno's days as a mother were not over.  Since the Refuge doesn't breed animals, Juno was spayed as soon as practical when she joined the Refuge pack. But, shortly thereafter, the Refuge got a call for a rescue of a group of "Mexican Red Wolf" puppies. Of course the group did not have an ounce of wolf in them, but we agreed to take them out of their bad situation and brought them home for Juno to foster. She was a great mom and we found homes for all the puppies with the help of the La Plata Humane Society, except Siren, who we kept to be Juno's pen mate.

Juno was the quietest of her 3-pack. Rowan is a champion howler and Siren is a barker. Juno wasn't shy but she seemed satisfied to let the two younger members of the group get all the attention and make all the noise while she watched.  Juno was happy and healthy during her 7 years at the Refuge. She always seemed content and we believe her passing was quiet and peaceful.

Rufio (2015):

Rufio was our eldest and longest reigning member of the pack when he left us in August. He was 17. Rufio was a huge Malamute/wolf mix and was the last of the animals that came from the original location of the Refuge in Pagosa.

Rufio is a true success story for Wolfwood. He came to us from the Jicarilla-Apache Reservation in October of 2001 at the request of the Pagosa Springs Humane Society. He was rescued after being starved for several days and was found lying down in a small kennel with no water or food next to a dead dog. This understandably put him in a very bad mood and we had to use a bite suit and 5 hours of effort to transfer him into the truck and into his pen.

For the first 6 months at the Refuge, Rufio wouldn't let anyone touch him. It took a while, and a lot of patience, but Rufio grew strong and healthy. He eventually learned to trust the volunteers and relish in the rubs he would get. He liked his pen and refused to move to larger pens or live with anyone else. While he loved his human visitors, he could be shy around men he didn't know. He was a big love-muffin to the volunteers but didn't see visitors very often.

Rufio was one of our best diggers and dug one of his dens at least five feet deep. However, last year we had to fill in the den as Rufio would climb down into it and couldn't get back out. He slowed down with age and his large frame moved slowly. He welcomed the rubs from the volunteers but you could sense that the time was coming. For such a large animal, his longevity was remarkable.  He left us with his big, beautiful, red head on Paula's lap.

Rufio's story is one of the more dramatic ones for the Refuge. He went from a starved, abused animal that didn't trust anyone to one that led a long, healthy life with lots and lots of loving. He was happy and content for many years. We will miss him and wish him well on his journey. It was wonderful to have known him.

Ria (2015):

We lost one of our elder members of the Refuge as Ria left us in May. She had been suffering from seizures and despite the efforts of the wonderful team at Bayfield Animal Hospital, she succumbed to the complications the seizures caused. She was 14 years old.

Ria was born in 2001 and came to Wolfwood in 2004. Her previous owners were involved in a divorce dispute and abandoned her in Pahrump, NV. She was found but was about to be put down when an email was sent to Wolfwood describing her plight. Craig went to get her and she found a new home at the Refuge. She was a beautiful animal and was very shy. Ria would not approach you but would not run to hide from you either. She lived with Big Timber until his passing in 2013. She then moved into Ranger's large pen and lived with him until his passing in 2015. Her time with Ranger changed Ranger's personality and he became much more outgoing as he assumed the role of protector for Ria.

However, after Ranger's passing, Ria started having seizures. She was moved to a small, protected enclosure next to Paula. Medication and treatment were started but the seizures continued.

Ria enjoyed a long, full life at the Refuge with lots of companionship, food and space. She was a strong, healthy and beautiful wolfie. She can now roam freely.

Ranger (2015):

We lost Ranger in February. He was at least 14 years old.

Ranger and Willow were found together in August of 2004. They had been running loose in the mountain passes near Longmont, CO.  Ranger had been hit by a car and was seriously injured. Willow refused to leave his side.  With Ranger's injuries and Willow's insistence to stay with him, Animal Control was able to rescue both of them.  Wolfwood was contacted and their story at the Refuge began.

Ranger's injuries were healed, both were treated for their ailments and the two of them were reunited in the enclosure where Ranger became famous for his rock climbing.

Ranger was a large, athletic, strong animal.  However, with Willow as a mate, Ranger tended to be shy as Willow was the more outgoing of the two.  But, with enough patience, he would approach you. It was considered a great honor for Ranger to come up to a visitor.  With the passing of Willow in March of 2013, Ria joined Ranger. Ria was shier than Ranger and Ranger became more outgoing.  It was an interesting change to observe.

In his later years, Ranger suffered from a nerve ailment that made it difficult for him to maintain his stance.  He wasn't in any pain but his mobility became limited.  Many of you knew him and loved Ranger. He was a big part of WolfWood's history and our lives.  We take comfort in the belief that he will be reunited with Willow, the love of his life.  He was, most definitely, the King of the Hill.

Minnie (2015):

Minnie passed away in January. We believe she was 11 years old, but aren't sure. She was a sweet and quiet Refuge pack member.

When Minnie came to the Refuge in 2005, from a private party in Utah, she was small and thin. That's why we named her Minnie. Lots of exercise and a proper diet allowed her to grow to full size.

Minnie was exceptionally shy and was the most elusive wolfie at the Refuge. She was rarely seen by visitors and only seen by a few volunteers even though she had been at the Refuge for over 9 years. During feedings she would always retreat to a far area of her enclosure. The volunteers respected her wishes and did what they needed to do (feed, water, pen cleanup) and let her be. She did not like to be petted at all and wouldn't approach people.

She lived with Little Timber and later on with Justice. Justice had become very attached to her and she was the first animal that he wanted to be paired with. Minnie was a wonderful companion to her pen mates and we will miss her.

Topaz (2014):

We had to let Topaz leave us in early December.  He was 17 and was the eldest member of the Wolfwood pack.

Topaz was unable to get up and move around. With winter rapidly approaching, the tough decision had to be made; it was time. Our vet, Dr. Wagner, was there along with Paula, LaVonne, Ben, Joel and Pam. Topaz's wolf neighbors also realized what was happening and stayed by their fences and talked to him. He went quietly in Joel's arms.

Topaz was captured in northern Colorado and came to us in late 2000 through Table Mountain Rescue. He was a high percentage wolf and was very shy around people although he enjoyed the company of quite a few of our pack members over the years. Topaz and Rufio were the last of the wolfies that moved to the current Refuge location from Pagosa.

Topaz was one of our most beautiful and gentle wolves. We enjoyed his presence and company for many years. All the members of the Wolfwood pack, both human and canine, wish him well on his journey. His was a life well lived.

Athena (2014):

Athena left the pack in late November. She was 11.

Athena joined Wolfwood in April 2011 from the Aztec Animal Shelter. The shelter could not adopt her so we helped them out and saved her. She was a small malamute mix with an endearing personality.

Athena became a regular member of touring events for a couple of seasons and then remained one of the most popular visitor stops at the Refuge, especially for the younger children. She was playful, gentle and gave countless kisses and endless fur to her visitors. The lines to visit her were always long and she never tired of it. However, she had been slowing down recently as age set in.

Her time at Wolfwood was well spent. She had plenty of room to roam, lots of food and more face-to-face visitors than just about any other animal at the Refuge other than Trinity. Rest easy, girl.

Skyla (2014):

We lost Skyla to lung cancer in June. She was 15.

Skyla and her son, Kewa, came to Wolfwood during September of 2004 from the Best Friends Animal Society in Utah. Their owner had died suddenly and they were left alone. They stayed at Best Friends for several months and then were brought to Wolfwood thanks to funding for their enclosure and the dedication of Best Friends.

Skyla and Kewa always lived together at the Refuge. Skyla was the more outgoing of the two with Kewa staying more in the background. Skyla's personality made her extremely popular for Wolfwood visitors who wanted to interact with a wolfdog as she would bathe visitors in kisses. But, being a Mom, when she decided visiting time was over, it was over. She would join Kewa in another part of the enclosure and the Wolfwood volunteers would know to move on.

Skyla didn't appear to have any issues until one day, at feeding time, the volunteers noticed she wasn't her usual bouncy self and she wouldn't get up. A visit to the vet confirmed the worst.

We mourn the sudden loss of Skyla. We know she didn't suffer and we can't question the wisdom of how things come about in nature. She had a long, wonderful life at the Refuge surrounded by family, friends and many visitors of all ages. For that we are thankful.


Nova (2014):

We lost our beautiful Nova in early May to a sudden and massive stroke. We rushed her to the vet where everyone fought valiantly to save her but the damage was too great and she passed away in Paula's arms. She wasn't aware of much but she knew Paula's voice and heard her talking until the every end. She has left those of us who loved her to run with Nokomo on the other side.

Nova was 8 years old and was our resident Diva. She came to us, at the age of 2 in August of 2008, from a local owner who could not keep her. She was loved, but her situation was no longer tolerable.

In 2009 she was paired with Nokomo, who had recently lost his father and packmate. Nokomo and Nova were large, powerful, dominant animals and we expected this attempt to be especially difficult. As usual, the wolves had their own ideas about how things should go. Nova was strong, smart, beautiful and willful. In other words, Nokomo met his match! With very little drama, Nova and Nokomo became a happy couple and lived together for 4 years until Nokomo's passing in early 2014.

A trip up to the top of the Refuge would often be met with the beautiful howls of Nova. Sometimes it seemed Nova and Rowan, who was in a nearby enclosure, would be having a conversation with their howls.  Visiting Nova was an experience. She was a large, confident animal who loved to be petted and would reward you with her wonderful howls.

Nova thrilled us with her howls and loved us with her companionship.  She is sorely missed.



Adama  (2014):

Adama left us peacefully in May. He was 15.

Adama was a long time resident of the Refuge and came to Wolfwood during February of 2005. When he arrived, he was very thin and "shell-shocked" from his previous experiences. We believe he was born around 1999 but, since he was a stray, we aren't sure. He was named after the volunteer who found him in Englewood, Co. and brought him to the Refuge.

Adama was very sweet and would let you pet him all day until you gave him his food; then he preferred to just eat to his heart's content. He lived with Misty until her passing in 2013. After that, age and time seemed to catch up with Adama. He slowed down and even turned down pets when he was tired. That changed with the arrival of Stella in September of 2013. Adama seemed like a changed wolfie. He was lively (relatively), he was excited, he was happy and he wanted to be petted. The volunteers noticed the change immediately. You might even speculate that it was Stella's company that helped Adama make it through the winter.

But time moves on and aging doesn't stop. Events are expected although the timing is always unsure. Stella helped make Adama happy and content the last 6 months. He enjoyed visitors again and wasn't in any pain. Paula and Ben were with him when he left.
We will miss his big, furry presence and his gentle manner.


Little Timber (2014):


We lost one of our elder pack members in April with the passing of Little Timber. He was one of the last three remaining wolves that we moved to our current location from Pagosa. Rufio and Topaz are the remaining two wolves and both are advanced in age. Little Timber was 14.

Little Timber came to the Pagosa location of Wolfwood in 2001 from a private party in Virginia. He was a dominant animal that got along well with Craig and Paula but did not approach strangers. He lived with Minnie, whose shyness was a good match for him. They lived in an out-of-the-way section of the Refuge due to their shyness and would retreat to the back of their enclosure when volunteers came to visit or feed them.

Little Timber had a long, peaceful and healthy life at the Refuge. He continues on his journey with the departed members of the pack.



Nokomo (2014):

Nokomo left us in March due to kidney failure. He was 13.

He came to us with his father, Shilo, in 2003. His ex-owner had 6 wolves and used some of them in movie work. The owner went to jail and left the animals with no one to take care of them. After a couple of weeks the wolves finally broke out of their pen. Unfortunately, 4 of them were shot, but Nokomo and his father were captured and flown into Durango airport in a Cessna, where we picked them up. Nokomo was food aggressive because he starved for so long.

Nokomo's father died in 2009, at the age of fifteen, and Nokomo became depressed. He was alone and unhappy, which is why we decided to try to put him in with Nova.

Mixing adult wolves that don't know each other is one of the hardest things we do at WolfWood. In the wolf world, if you are not family you are automatically considered to be dangerous. Because we get many of our animals as adults and because most of them have been abused, pairing them up can be very tricky. We have a set protocol we go through when attempting to put new animals in with each other. But, because we could not leash Nokomo, and because both he and Nova were large, powerful, dominant animals, we expected this attempt to be especially difficult. As usual, the wolves had their own ideas about how things should go. Nova is strong, smart, beautiful and willful. In other words, Nokomo met his match! With very little drama, Nova and Nokomo became a happy couple and lived together for 4 years.

Nokomo is a testament to the resiliency that these amazing animals are capable of. We will miss his rough and tumble style.


Lakota (2014):

We lost one of our longtime residents in early February as Lakota passed away in his sleep. He was 15.

Lakota came to Wolfwood as a young 3-year-old in November of 2002 from the Table Mountain Animal Shelter in Golden, CO.

He started off a little shy around people but hated to be by himself. He would try to get attention from people by gently nipping them on their butts. He wasn't really biting them; he was looking for attention.

In 2007, Lakota had a sudden medical emergency when his stomach flipped. This is usually a fatal condition but it was caught quickly and surgery saved him. Lakota was healing the same time we received Tavi who was equally under the weather. They healed together and became best friends. Lakota had found his partner. With Tavi around, Lakota became much more social with people. He would still walk up behind volunteers and poke them with his nose, but he was no longer afraid to be petted afterwards.

He was a sweet wolf who passed on in the same gentle manner he lived. Tavi and the Wolfwood family will miss him.


Bo (2013):

We lost Bo in December.  It was unexpected, as Bo appeared to be in good health. He was 8.

Bo came to Wolfwood as a 7-year-old during April of 2012. He came from Sedona, AZ and had lived with the same family his whole life. His owners loved him, but could not care for him when they had to move. They could not build Bo an escape-proof fence and he had been running loose for almost a year. He hung around his family, but eventually got in trouble and had to come to WolfWood. They had been connected to WolfWood for a number of years, so we made a home for Bo at Wolfwood.

Bo was always shy and preferred to avoid people in his 1 1/2 years at the Refuge. This is not unusual for many Wolfwood pack members. He had recently been warming up to his penmate, Phedra, and seemed to be engaging just a bit socially.

He was an interesting character and we are happy that we were able to keep him safe, secure and well fed the time he was at the Refuge.


Tacoma (2013):

Nature made the decision to take Tacoma in late November as he passed one night, quietly in his enclosure. He was 13.

Tacoma came to us in June of 2003 from a private party in Farmington, NM. He tended to be very shy around people he was unfamiliar with. It was always fun to watch him as you approached his pen at the corner of the hill. Cinder, his penmate, who was much smaller than Tacoma, would bark up a storm at strangers. In the meantime, Tacoma, who was quite large, would stay in the back away from the unfamiliar people. It always seemed like Cinder was showing off for Tacoma.

Tacoma used to be somewhat territorial around the shared fence areas. However, Zion was his neighbor over the recent times and they got along just fine. That corner of the Refuge has lost two gentle souls.



Zion (2013):


Our long time resident and ambassador, Zion, left us in November.  He was 13.

Zion came to Wolfwood March 2004 at the age of 4. He had been confiscated from a party in Illinois because wolfdogs were illegal and Zion was running loose.    

He was rescued from the kill shelter by a couple who nursed him back to health after his bout with heart-worm.  A dedicated group of people worked very hard to keep him alive and get him to Wolfwood.  The heart-worm did do some permanent damage and thus he was not the most active wolf.  He was a bit shy and quiet but loved children.

He became an ambassador for Wolfwood and served for many years. After he retired, he still greeted visitors to the Refuge and relished in the attention of the children.  They loved him and he returned their love.

Zion was a favorite among all of us and loved everyone, especially kids. He will leave a large empty place here at the refuge.



Inepae (2013):

We lost Inepae suddenly and unexpectedly due to cardiac issues in July. He was 12.

Inepae was always considered one of the happiest animals at the Refuge due to his facial expression and personality. He was always happy to see people and give them lots of loving.

He came to Wolfwood in 2005 as a German Shepard mix. He had been a family pet who had been on a chain his whole life. He was a strong and energetic animal, but he came with a bad habit of nipping people to get attention.  He also was almost blind, and so would bark if he didn't know you.  It took quite a long time, but he finally learned to settle down and not use his mouth for attention.  He loved to be petted and lean into his friends.  Inepae lived with Anis these past few years, until she passed away. He then lived with Ipo but her puppy energy was a bit too much for him so he lived the last few months as a contented bachelor protecting the corner of the hill. 

He left us at the Refuge in the environment he loved and enjoyed for many years. He was a joy and it was a pleasure to have known him, pet him and played with him.

Johnny (2013):

The pack lost one of its elder residents in May as Johnny passed on. He was 14.

Johnny was one of the animals who came from the original location of Wolfwood in Pagosa. He came to us in February of 2001, along with his brother Essa, from animal control in Idaho. They were a mix of Husky and wolf. When Johnny came to Wolfwood he was not socialized and he retained those characteristics his whole life. He barked a lot and, generally, avoided contact with people.

After Essa passed away, Johnny lived with Ateira until she passed in 2012. It was a good match as her dominate personality could handle Johnny's barking.

Johnny has now joined his former penmates.


Noche (2013):

Noche was 15 and was one of our elder residents. He came to Wolfwood in December of 2001 via W.O.L.F as a 3 year-old. He was in the Table Mt. Shelter and W.O.L.F. did not have room for him. Noche was strong and curious, but shy. He sometimes would approach the fence to check you out but then move away and watch you. Once in a while, he would even let out a bark. If you went into his enclosure, he would move to the opposite side and avoid you. Noche had a very thick coat and since he was a low-percentage animal he always seems to be shedding. He lived with Dodi until she passed in 2010 and was a bachelor since then.

Noche was a big teddy bear of an animal. But, he was in pain and had difficulty moving around due to cancer. It was time for his spirit to be released.



Misty (2013):

Misty was 17 when she departed the pack. She was the last remaining member of the Oakland 6 pack that came to the Refuge in 2002. Due to the abuse the pack endured before coming to the Refuge, Misty was especially cautious around men but warmed up to the female volunteers. Misty lived with Rosie for many years. When Rosie passed away, Misty became very shy and a bit standoffish. She eventually moved in with her neighbor, Adamma. She became Adamma's girlfriend and they were our elderly, crotchety couple. She survived the winter but got too weak to get up and move around. She was a sweet old girl and a special friend to some of the volunteers. She can now rest in peace with the other members of the Oakland 6 pack.





Big Timber (2013):

Big Timber died of natural causes at the age of 13. He had lived at the refuge since 2002 and was part of the Oakland 6 pack that was rescued along with Misty and Cassidy. The Oakland pack was a group of 6 wolves that were used to protect a meth-house in Oakland, CA. Six animals were chained to each other, neck to neck. The captives were thrown unopened cans of refried beans to eat and were malnourished and emaciated. They were brought to Wolfwood where the long road of rehabilitation began.

Big Timber was a high-percentage animal. He was handsome, strong, smart and athletic. Those features made him a bit of an escape artist and special precautions had to be taken to keep him from having adventures beyond his enclosure. He was somewhat shy but quietly welcomed those he knew well. He was a favorite of Paula. Ria was his pen mate and she was very attached to him. As with Cassidy
& Misty, Big Timber is a glowing testament to the reason for the existence of Wolfwood.




Willow (2013):

Click on the picture to get a full screen high-resolution picture of Willow On March 8th, 2013, we lost one of the true gentle souls of Wolfwood. Willow did not survive surgery performed to remove large tumors. She was 12 years old.

You cannot tell the story of Willow without also including Ranger. The two were inseparable and if there ever was a "Love Story" movie based on animals, Willow and Ranger would star in it.  Willow and Ranger were probably born around 2000. Both are medium percentage animals. Willow was a Malamute/Wolf mix and consequently, was a very large animal. Nothing is known about their time together prior to 2004 when they were found starving, infested with parasites and running loose in the mountain passes near Longmont, CO. However, it was clear that they were a pair that cared deeply about each other.

In August of 2004, Ranger had been hit by a car and was seriously injured. Willow refused to leave his side. 
With Ranger's injuries and Willow's insistence to stay with him, Animal Control was able to rescue both of them. Wolfwood was contacted and their story at the Refuge began. Ranger's injuries were healed, both were treated for their ailments and the two of them were reunited in the enclosure where Ranger became famous for his rock climbing.

They were a perfect match; Both were large, confident, athletic, strong animals, with Willow being the much less shy of the two. Willow
's size and temperament made her a favorite Ambassador for Wolfwood. She would visit schools and other events where children and adults alike would wait their turn to hug and pet the big "love muffin.
In return, Willow would shower them with kisses, rubs and lots of fur. She was tireless in support of the Refuge. At the Refuge, she would sit in your lap and enjoy being petted for as long as you wanted. This was quite a feat for the volunteers since Willow weighed well over 100 pounds. But, no one seemed to mind.

In the summer of 2012, Willow retired as a traveling Ambassador after the Lake City event. But that didn
't mean she was done getting attention. She still loved having visitors of all ages and welcomed people at the Refuge, especially children. While Ranger would avoid the hubbub of the attention, Willow relished in it. If she grew tired during the large visits, she would simply walk away to join Ranger in the far part of the enclosure. She was magnificent to watch whether surrounded by people or simply enjoying Ranger's company.

The circle of life continues at the Refuge. It is inevitable, it is natural and it must be accepted. But, that doesn
t mean it is easy. This is one of those times. Our thoughts are with Paula, Craig, Ranger and all the Wolfwood volunteers. Many people had the privilege of knowing Willow well. For that, we are thankful and blessed.

Kia (2013):

We lost our beautiful singer, Kia, in early February. She was 14. Kia went to the vet to have a growth removed from her neck. She came through the operation fine, but died unexpectedly during the night. It was discovered she had lung cancer.

Kia was a very sweet and affectionate girl who loved people. Her pen mate, Casey, had just recently passed away. Even though she had lost her voice, she would still throw her head back and try to sing for all the children who came to visit Wolfwood.

Kia joined the Wolfwood family September 2002 from Berkeley CA and was famous for her howl. She loved to show off for people and was one of the few animals that would, sometimes, howl on command. However, a stroke in 2012 affected her vocal cords and ability to howl. She still enjoyed trying to howl, though, and the pets and rubs she received as thanks made her extremely happy. She had a "teddy bear" appearance that made her seem much younger than she was. She did not like to be brushed even though she loved to be petted. But, after the muddy season her coat had be shaved off in the summer months to get rid of the matting the season produced. This left her with a unique look among the members of the Wolfwood family. She loved company and would hurry to meet new visitors whenever they came up the hill. She lived with Casey until his death early in 2013.

Going to the top of the hill won't be the same without seeing Kia's smile. She led a long and joyful life at the Refuge. Sing on Kia.

Casey (2013):


We lost Casey during a severe cold spell in January as he was unable to get up and move. He was almost 15. Paula and Serena took him to the vet and did what needed to be done. Paula talked to him and petted him and he went very quietly, as was his nature. He was ready.

Casey and his 3 siblings were born at the refuge in 1998 after we took in their elderly, pregnant mother. Shortly after giving birth she passed away. Most of the litter was affected with
dwarfism and Casey was the last of his family, outliving his sister Heidi by 2 years. He was always shy, but a teddy bear of an animal with distinctive coloring. Kia, his penmate, is missing him, as are we.




Ateria (2012):


Ateria was one of the senior, long-time members of the Wolfwood family and was 16 years old.  She came to Wolfwood in March of 2002 from a shelter in N.M. when employees called us instead of putting her down. She was shy and would not come up to people but would watch warily from a distance. She loved to dig dens and lived with Saber and then Johnny and was dominate with both.  We will miss her sweet face.





Atlas (2012):

Atlas came to us with Phaedra, in 2004 from Gunnison, Co.  They were starving when they were caught by animal control and brought to Wolfwood. They got their names because the Greek Olympics were going on at the time.  Atlas was very friendly and loved everyone.  He was an active and strong animal but loud noises scared him and he hid under his doghouse if scared.  His penmate, Phaedra, guarded him if she thought there was danger.  He was 12 this year and developed inoperable cancer. When he lost all his hair and was very uncomfortable we decided he had been strong enough. Phaedra misses his happy personality and she will get a new friend in a few weeks.



Bruno (2012):


Bruno was a gentle giant and a favorite here at the refuge. He was a big, strong affectionate animal who loved everybody and looked forward to children coming to visit him even at the end when he was hurting. Bruno was 13 and already had one operation to help his cancer. He had lived with many different animals since he came to the refuge in March of 2002 and most recently Trucker. His smile and heart will be missed.





Dominoe (2012):


Domino was the last of our original 9 pack that came to the refuge in 1997 and was 16 years old. He lived with Trinity at the end of his life and was stressed to be separated from her because of her hip surgery.  He was submissive to his pack members but would always defend Trinity.  He would bark at strangers and did not like to be petted unless you gained his trust and he knew you well.  We mourn his loss and the loss of the last animal of the beginning of it all.






Heidi (2012):


Heidi was born at the Refuge when we were in Pagosa. Her mother came in pregnant at a very old age and died before Heidi was a year old. Two of her siblings have already died from complications of dwarfism. She and her brother Casey lived together their whole lives and never really liked to be touched by people. Heidi died on a winter evening. Her brother, Casey, now lives with Kia.




Isis (2012):


Isis was our oldest animal at almost 17 and came to the refuge with two other animals in the summer of 2005. Her owners were getting divorced and didn't want the three animals anymore.  She was the last of her original pack to be still with us.  Isis was extremely shy and one of the more elusive members of the Wolfwood family.  She lived happily with Smokey, Topaz and Chica but was still the boss even at her advanced age. She died in her sleep one night. Her family will miss her.





Nomad (2012):

Nomad was 13 and came to the Refuge during November of 2004 from the Aztec shelter as a 5-year-old adult. Before he came to the Refuge, he had been catch-poled on two sides and was dragged until he bled. He had been on a chain his whole life and was in shock and extremely disoriented when he arrived.  But, with time and patience he adapted to his new home and finally warmed up to people. Nomad was a big, strong, handsome animal and was protective of his food. He would sometimes come up to visitors at the fence, but, if he let you pet him, he would be very particular about where you pet him. He did not mind being petted along the lower part of his back but he did not like to be touched towards his neck. Nomad lived with Tika.  He had a bad heart condition and Dr Wagner said it would be a kindness to let him go. He was a rough and tumble guy and left us enjoying a big juicy bone until the very end.



Red Dog (2012):


Red Dog was a sweet, goofy guy who always had a big grin on his face. He came from the Ignacio area. Someone bought him on the Internet for $800 because he was a "red wolf". Red Dog was a big, fat Husky, without an ounce of wolf in him, but we all loved him anyway. He wanted belly rubs and food! He developed severe arthritis. On the night he died there was an amazing red sunset, a final farewell from our friend.





Simone (2012):

Simone was very shy and did not like to be touched.  She lived in California with another animal named Mozart.  In 2000, Mozart was flown to Wolfwood but Simone was flown to a person in Philadelphia.  However, her new owner had a heart attack shortly after Simone arrived so she was flown to Denver where we picked her up.  

Simone was 16 and had cancer.  Eventually she had great difficulty getting up and moving and she would have frozen to the ground in that condition as the winter set in.  She was ready for her passing, even if we weren't.






Tonka (2012):
Tonka was the eldest member of the Wolfwood family.  Tonka and her brother, Buddy, were our first official rescue in 1998 when we got them from another refuge in Chino AZ where they were not doing well. They were very thin and had not been touched in 6 months. Tonka was an alpha female who loved everyone and was friendly and outgoing.  Her brother, Buddy, was very shy.  Tonka was our first ever ambassador animal. When Buddy died in 2006, Tonka was inconsolable, howling most of the day. We could not pair her with another of our adult animals due to her alpha personality. Ultimately, we got Kohl, a dog puppy, from the humane society. Since his arrival, Tonka had been much happier although she was sometimes confused by his doggie ways. Tonka succumbed to the effects of age and cancer.

Few animals have touched as many lives as she has.  More then anyone else, she helped make WolfWood into the special refuge that it is.  She shaped and shared our dream.  Tonka, you are loved and missed.  Rest and run with your brother.

(Read more of the story of Tonka and Buddy in our July 2012 newsletter which can be found here.)



Zia (2012):


Zia was part of a coordinated rescue between the Ute Tribe, La Plata Humane Society and WolfWood in 1999. She was one of the 30 animals taken over two years from an extremely bad situation here in the Durango area. She had Parvo as a puppy, and had some residual damage because of that. She lived to be 14. She was Silver's pen mate who passed late last year. She was the last of the "Shannon" group. While never an animal that would let you close, she had a long life here at WolfWood.






Anis (2011):


Anis came to us from Farmington NM. She was in a very bad situation there. She was always shy and submissive. After her sister died, Anis went to live with Inepee. She was very happy with him until she passed away at the age of 10. Her sweet face will be missed.






Bronte (2011):
Bronte's death was an especially hard one for all of us at WolfWood.  Many of you have met Bronte at one of our events.  He was one of our most beloved ambassador animals.  Known as the "gentle giant," he loved nothing better then to be surrounded by children. Bronte made a difference in the lives of hundreds of people, young and old alike.  Diagnosed with kidney failure almost two years ago, Bronte improved with a special diet, IV's of fluid and great care by Dr. Wagner of Bayfield Animal Hospital.  Still, we noticed a difference after losing the love of his life, Cassidy. 

Bronte came to us after he was picked up by the Pueblo Humane Society when he was found running loose. He was, by far, the largest member of the Wolfwood family.  However, that size ended up taking a toll on his kidneys as he got older.

Bronte became an Ambassador for Wolfwood almost immediately.  He loved children and loved the attention associated with being the center of an event.

While Bronte was a very large animal, he had some interesting tendencies.  He did not like cowboy hats and would back away when he saw someone wearing one.  This may have been due to his handling before he came to Wolfwood.

Bronte also had his particular likes and dislikes while traveling in his Ambassador role.  When staying somewhere away from Wolfwood, Bronte had to have a clear line of sight to wherever Craig and Paula were staying.  He didn't need to actually see them but he had to see the door of the place where they were staying.  On one trip it wasn't physically possible for Bronte to see the door of the house even though Craig and Paula could see Bronte through a window.  Bronte howled and howled until Craig came out to assure him that they were still there.  Bronte wasn't satisfied, and when Craig went back inside, he began to howl again because he couldn't see the door.  Craig came out and slept in the truck with Bronte so he would feel better.

We were fortunate to have several weeks with Bronte to say our goodbyes. Lavonne sat with him, and he was surrounded by friends as he passed. We miss his beautiful spirit, but take comfort in knowing he is with Cassidy again.


Navarre (2011):
(From Paula) Navarre's death was one of the most difficult for me personally, and also one of those special transcendent moments that shape who we are.  I was there when Navarre was born, on a dark and cold winter solstice night, 15 years ago.  He was one of my original nine pack, and the start of my work in rescue.  I was chosen as his special person right from the beginning, and Navarre went almost everywhere with me until he took over the alpha position in the pack after Winslow, my first ever wolf/dog, died.  Navarre went down one night and couldn't get back up.  I laid next to him in his large, A-frame dog house, under a sky filled with brilliant stars.  I talked to him, sang to him, and rubbed his majestic head.  In the end, I just held his big paw in my hand.  Navarre knew I was there, and I believe it gave him comfort with his last breath, just as it did with his first.  We had a special bond throughout his whole life, and it will stay with me throughout the rest of mine.

Navarre was one of the original 9 members of the Wolfwood pack.  His father, Winslow, was the undisputed alpha of the pack.

Navarre was one of the first Ambassadors for Wolfwood and enjoyed his role for many years.  As he got older, Navarre turned over the reins to other animals and enjoyed spending his time with Dominoe (of the original pack) and Trinity, a new addition.

Navarre inherited some characteristics from his father regarding leadership within the pack.  While his father was alive, Navarre always made sure that the younger members of the pack were allowed their fair share of the food.  However, he wasn't a push-over for these youngsters.  He had no problem letting a younger member know when they were out-of-line regarding their behavior around the older pack members.

As Navarre's father aged, some wolves tried to take the alpha role, especially after his father had a stroke.  However, Navarre did not let this happen.  Navarre would not allow any other wolf to eat before his father, even though his father could not physically hold the alpha role.  If another animal tried to eat first, there were severe consequences from Navarre.  Needless to say, the other pack members quickly learned who the next alpha was and who they would listen to.  Navarre made sure his father got the respect he deserved until the day his father died.

But Navarre also had patience that would surprise people.  At one event at a Humane Society, a small dog got loose and started biting Navarre on his backside.  The Wolfwood volunteer had Navarre on a leash but if he wanted to go after the small dog, it would have been an issue.  Navarre just looked at Paula with an expression that said "Is this little dog kidding me?"  Fortunately, the little dog was put back on a leash and taken away.  Navarre went on his way with his continued role as Ambassador for Wolfwood at the event.

His leadership qualities, confidence and personality will be missed.


Saber (2011):


Saber died at 13. He came to us from Utah. Knowing there were safe places for animals like Saber, animal control officers did not want to put him down. After contacting us and getting the go ahead, Best Friends offered to transport him here. He flew in a Piper Cherokee into Durango airport. He lived happily at Wolfwood, with his friend Atirea, for 10 years. Saber was an active and strong animal even after his surgery, but eventually he succumbed to cancer.








Silver (2011):

Silver was part of a coordinated rescue between the Ute tribe, La Plata Humane Society and WolfWood. He was one of the 30 animals taken over two years from an extremely bad situation here in the Durango area. He had parvo (a contagious canine virus) as a puppy, and had some residual damage because of that. He lived to 12. Silver never socialized well, although we tried. Liz Morris spent many hours with him when he was younger. He lived with his sister Zia, who is the last of the "Shannon" group. While never an animal that would let you close, Silver was a brave example of survival against the odds.



Cassidy (2010):
Many of you had met Cassidy, either in Estes Park or at one of our other events.  She had been a premier ambassador animal for years and had literally been petted and photographed by thousands of people.

Cassidy came out of a meth house in CA. She and five other animals weren't just chained; they were all chained to each other and fed only unopened cans of beans. Officers went in, guns drawn, shut down the drug house and confiscated the animals. An organization in the area raised money from local citizens to help get the pack to us. We had to bolt cut their chains off. Cassidy could not even lift her head, her neck muscles had atrophied and she was completely emaciated. Our first job was to physically rehabilitate the pack. This took months, but soon they were all living happily in their large enclosure, able to move freely for the first time. After a few years the alpha male, Cassidy's brother, died of bone cancer contracted where he had been repeatedly kicked. The pack fell apart and had to be separated. Cassidy lived next to two former pack members but was by herself until Bronte came. Cassidy suffered from seizures which were under control with medications for a long time. She finally had a seizure she could not recover from. Even though we rushed her to the vet and tried our best, we could not save her. Cassidy was very special, and there are no words to describe the breadth of our love or the depth of our sorrow over Cassidy no longer being part of our lives.  Bronte was with her till the end. We hold her memory in our hearts and miss her every day.
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