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Nov 20



July 2010


WolfWood Refuge

PO Box 312

Ignacio CO 81137





Welcome to our eleventh newsletter!

Wolfwood is experiencing technical difficulties, and for that I apologize. Our laptop is old and several things on it are not working. It is hard to e-mail pictures; we have no fax and our desktop computer syncs up with almost nothing. We have no phone lines, and the cell phone has been dropped, chewed on, lost, underwater and generally abused. One website is down and we are working on the other one, but it is a slow process. WolfWood has a Facebook page I have not seen. I have a Facebook page I got accidentally (yes it's possible to do) with friends on there I can't get to. I broke my last printer and my hand, so this is being typed by the hunt and peck method, which in all honesty is my usual level of typing. I don't twitter and the only tweets I understand come from the treetops outside.

So if you are trying to get hold of us, or if you are waiting for information or a task involving communication by any sort of machine, please have patience. We are not ignoring you. We are feeding the wolves, cleaning pens, going to the vet, grieving for our recent animal friends that have passed on, socializing our traumatized new arrivals, building enclosures, and educating people about wolves. In other words, we are busy holding a special place on a remote mountainside that is a refuge for all who come here. We do it with love and support from all of you. We do it wholeheartedly. We do it in hard times and in good times. We do it sometimes to the exclusion of administrative details. And for that, I do not apologize. 



We are grateful for all you have done for the animals this past year.

WolfWood wishes you peace, joy and happiness this holiday season!


WolfWood currently has a small, but extremely dedicated group of volunteers.  Our volunteers are the heart of this organization and help take care of and save lives every day. Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor even MUD keeps them from their duties.



                                    Molly and Peter, new volunteers                                                      La Vonne and Barb, long time volunteers.



Mollie Mclam and Peter Schmidt: Our two newest volunteers are also our youngest and oldest volunteers. Mollie is a sophomore at Ft. Lewis and is majoring in Adventure Education. She grew up in a small town in Idaho. Peter is originally from New York City and retired here from Maine. We are so glad to have them here at WolfWood.



We finally have fantastic calendars for 2011. They have great pictures of some of your favorites here at WolfWood. They make excellent Christmas presents, cost $20 and all the proceeds go for the wolves. To order email me at wolfwood1995@hotmail.com, or send a check to PO box 312, Ignacio Co 81137.

We passed our state inspection with flying colors! You can all be proud in your part of this long standing and respected facility.

Thanks to Tonya, we can now e-mail you our newsletter, in color. If you would like to receive the newsletter in electronic form instead of in the regular mail, please contact us at wolfwoodnewsletter@gmail.com.





                              Part of the volunteer group at Estes Park                                                                               Zion and Ashley



Meet our Wolves

In each newsletter we feature some of our wolves.




                  NOVA AND NOKOMO


Nova and Nokomo are a pair of wolves that we recently put together. 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 most 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, and because we cannot leash Nokomo, and because they are both 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, and with very little drama, Nova and Nokomo are now a happy couple.


Nokomo came to us with his father in 2003. His ex owner had 6 wolves and used some of them in movie work. He 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 has always been food aggressive because he starved for so long. His father, Shilo, died last year at the age of fifteen and Nokomo has been very depressed ever since. He was alone and unhappy, which is why we decided to try to put him in with Nova.


Nova is 4, which makes her 6 years younger then Nokomo. She is strong and smart, beautiful and willful. In other words, Nokomo met his match! She came to us from a local owner who could not keep her. She was loved, but her situation was no longer tolerable. She arrived 2 years ago and has been waiting for just the right male to be her friend. The fact that Nova and Nokomo are happily living together is a testament to the patience and dedication of the people at Wolfwood. Even more then that, it is a testament to the resiliency and ability for recovery that these amazing animals are capable of.




                  Bronte surrounded by new friends                                                                                        Bronte, Kadyn and Sophia at Nature Camp




Hailey, Jenna and Amanda earn their Bronze Award                                                                          Keith, Paula and Rukai at Navaho State Park



                                      Salida                                                                                                                                               Lake City



                                        Estes Park Elk Fest                                                                                                           Estes Park Elk Fest




Going to our weekend events, especially those that are far away, is a big undertaking for the animals and volunteers. I want to say thank you to all the people who make these trips special and go out of their way to take good care of us. We stay in people's homes, motels give us rooms, we are fed, looked after and given the red carpet treatment. The animal's needs are always taken into consideration and it is an honor to share the wolves and our outreach programs at these venues.


SCHOOL ASSEMBLIES AND FIELD TRIPS: When school started the wolves were on their way to see the kids. We once again visited St.Columba School. The Mosaic Academy came to visit and the children will be doing a fundraiser for their favorite animals. We had field trips from preschools to Ft Lewis College. The wolves even went to camp this summer at Durango Nature Studies Center. The entire Cortez Christian School came to WolfWood for the first time.



Lake City: For the first time we went to Lake City. The entire town came out to see us and we got an incredible reception. We stayed at the Backcountry BaseCamp where Ben took care of all our needs.We plan on going back next year.


Five Branches: Once again Jan, Bob and the staff at Five Branches campground put on a great event and fundraiser for the wolves. This is one of our local events and we appreciate their continued help.


Salida:  We have developed a great support base in Salida. Our event this year was well attended and it was great to see some of our favorites. Nicole and her family worked hard and then came to WolfWood for a weekend of more work! Roy and Donna were wonderful hosts, serving the best popcorn in Colorado!


Navaho State Park: It has been several years since we went to Navaho Lake, but we were asked to come back by Carolyn. It took persistence on her part to get it arranged, but the turnout was good and the mosquitoes weren't bad. I am glad we included this event again this year.


Center for Southwest Studies: We were part of the first Common Earth Series. The topic was Predators and Prey and we were part of this interesting and informative four week event. It culminated with us bringing the wolves to DNS for the public to get an up close look at one of nature's keystone predators. It was a good learning experience for all.


Elk Fest: Always our biggest event, Laurie and her staff do an amazing job of taking care of everything when we come rolling in. Both talks were standing room only and it is such a joy to see all of our great supporters in the Estes Park area. We also get to see old volunteers and friends, along with the thousands of people who come to see the wolves. The Mason family, who donated our visitor center, was there, along with Cricket and her beautiful new baby. Don and Jeanette open their home and their hearts to us and the animals every year. We are so blessed with all the kindness we get from the people in this part of Colorado.


WolfWood Open House: We held our first Open House for people who are connected to the refuge, but don't get to come or have never been. Dr. Wagner and much of the staff from Bayfield Animal Hospital came. Chris and the staff from the La Plata Humane Society also came for tours and BBQ. About 40 people came to share the day and we were so pleased they did.


Bark and Wine: I know I have mentioned this before, but WolfWood is very lucky to live in an area with such a great Humane Society. The spirit of cooperation and mutual networking are unsurpassed.

We were asked to participate in their annual fundraiser and all proceeds from a beautiful painting in the silent auction went to WolfWood. We really admire and respect the hard work all the people at our Humane Society do.


Troop 154: Jenna, Amanda and Hailey from Girl Scout Troop 154, chose WolfWood to be their project to earn their Bronze Awards. These girls made great posters about wolves and kids and sat outside City Market on Labor Day weekend to sign people up to use their City Market cards for WolfWood. They took in donations and sold calendars. They did an excellent job. When they came to present me their results, I was surprised at how much they had done. They really made a difference and helped the animals. Good Work Girls!


We are very proud of our outreach programs and the difference the wolves are making in the lives of so many people. Thank you to everyone who works so hard to make it all possible.




It is always hard to express our gratitude for all that is done for the refuge by the wonderful people who care. Our anonymous donor bought us a much-needed second trailer. We are working with them to get a new travel enclosure for the ambassador wolves. The Dunns, as always, have been there for us, providing everything from toys for the wolves to funds so we could pick up 18 pallets of donated dog food. Dale donated the materials and time to build a roof between our storage containers to put the food under. He also finds us culverts and does our roadwork. At Hermit Park we met the Dalzells, a wonderful couple, who not only came to refuge to work for a day, but also donated enough money to gravel our whole road before winter. Keith continues to be our rock, going to all the events, working on our much-abused WolfWood vehicles and building our fence panels. We want to thank all the people who contribute food to us, including Purina in Denver, who donated for the first time in 8 years. Rhonda from Bloomfield NM took on a fundraiser event entirely on her own to help the wolves. So many individuals work so hard and give so much. Every time I go to the mailbox there is a surprise, sometimes small, sometimes large, but always wonderful. You are all wolf angels!



I was asked to provide some examples of specific needs that were important now, instead of a general list. Here are some things we are struggling with at this time:

VET BILLS: One of our premier ambassador animals, Bronte, is struggling with kidney failure. Many of you have met this amazing animal and we are doing all we can to get him better. His bills alone are over $1500. This on top of Cassidy's expenses, and the regular care of all our animals, has put the bill over $3000. The vets let us make payments, but we are having a hard time catching up.

FENCING: Keith and Tanya are set up to manufacture panels for us. It can be built during the winter and ready for spring and new arrivals.  Much of our fencing is old and needs to be replaced.

VISITOR CENTER: This will be a huge project. We are so blessed to have a building donated for this purpose. We still have to build a foundation so it can be brought down and put in. This would help to educate all our visitors, provide a central office for us and give us a room for guests. Because of the size of this project, we have not been able to get started except for clearing the land, but if we do not get it in soon we may loose our new building.

AHBRS: We affectionately call Ra and Tala "the heathens." Ra's favorite trick when he gets mad is to rip his water bucket off the fence. This happened so often and made such a mess, that Keith invented the "anti-heathen bucket retention system."  It really works and we would like to have several more to put in the pens where the animals pull on their buckets. They cost about $150 each. It saves us so much time, water and buckets, they are well worth it



 The AHBRS also make a handy stand                                                      The new 2011 WolfWood Calender



 Craig cooking for open house                                Keith, Dale and Joel working on roof                               Putting Tessha to work 




   Our educational programs reached thousands of people this year                                             Great food donations of meat




                                                   Our new trailer



                      Jeanette and Tonka                                                        Tala                                             Looking at the wolves







SMOKEY: Smokey came to us from a shelter in northern Colorado. His owner got him as a puppy and was told he was a German Shepard. As Smokey grew it was apparent that he was a wolf/dog and a good escape artist. When she took him to the shelter she brought him in and then ran out the door! We had no information on him at all. He is a young neutered male, and is extremely fearful. He lives in a pen with Isis and Topaz. He has room to run and canine friends. It remains to be seen whether he will ever warm up to his caretakers. In the meantime he is safe and sound.



ANUBUS: Anubus was a fourteen year old wolf/dog mix. He arrived at WolfWood in 2005 with Loki, who passed away earlier this year, and Isis. He was a sweet animal who loved to stick his head in the food bucket. He never wanted to show his age and was strong to the end.

COCO: Coco was a favorite "old guy" of many of the volunteers. Sweet and affectionate, he was rescued by Susan Wolf of Allenspark, and she brought him to us in 2002.He was a happy animal who got along with everyone. He passed on his own at 15. We miss his gentle ways.

TUNDRA: Tundra was a pretty female wolf/dog who died at the age of 15 from cancer. She came to WolfWood in 1999. She was adopted by a wonderful couple and lived happily with them until her owner died unexpectedly. She came back to us and lived out the rest of her life here amongst her friends who loved her and gave her lots of belly rubs.

BEAR: Bear came to WolfWood from Southern Ute Animal Control. He lived here several years until a young college kid named Talbet came and volunteered. Bear and Talbet fell in love with each other and as soon as he could, Talbet bought a home and adopted Bear. They were inseparable, and we would see Bear and Talbet at least once a year. There was never a happier animal or better friend than Bear.

DIEGO: Diego came to us from the animal shelter in Cortez in 2000. He was a young and rowdy guy. He loved to play with his friend Cherokee, and was an athletic male who liked to bark, but never meant it. He developed a large, inoperable tumor on his side, and had it for at least 2 years before he finally passed away from complications.  He was a brave animal.

CASSIDY: Cassidy was our featured wolf last newsletter, so most of you know her story and many of you have met Cassidy, either in Estes Park or at one of our other events. 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 is doing ok, but is lonely. He was with her till the end. We hold her memory in our hearts and miss her every day.



                              Anubus                                                                                                 CoCo                                                                                          Tundra



                                                                                           Bear                                                                                                          Diego





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