I wasn't *exactly* sure what to expect in real life, but I can assure you that the entire experience was wonderful, and did not disappoint in any way!
The Wolf Sanctuary is a huge area, which currently houses 48 wolves. There is one pack ("The Big Pack") made up of some of the wolves from the original group at the Sanctuary. They had formerly bred wolves, but then realized that it would mean they would very quickly run out of room for other wolves that needed a place to be. So all the wolves that are there now, and that come in the future, have been spayed or neutered, to control the population and assure room for any wolves that need their help down the road.
We have both always been attracted to wolves, and there used to be a woman in our neighborhood who had a wolf/dog hybrid (who was incredibly shy), but other than that, have never had much of a chance to be around the animals otherwise. It was really interesting to hear all about the history of the Sanctuary, as well as learn details about wolf behaviors. But of course, the actual wolves were the stars of the day.
The Original Pack includes Lincoln, Levi, Sarge, Chomp, Trinity (Alpha Female), Frodo (Alpha Male), and Lucas. They were very interested in us, though would have been more interested if we had brought lunch for them!
Lucas and Frodo
The Whole Pack
Below, please meet Thor. He is the oldest wolf at the Sanctuary, having turned 18 on February 15th of this year.
Thor is blind, but was still very alert when the tour guide was talking to him.
This is Jake. She is a relative newcomer to the Sanctuary, and is in the enclosure next to Thor. They are hoping that the two of them will form a pack. She was very friendly, but then decided she was lonely and started to howl.
And, just like when one dog in the neighborhood starts barking and then all the others start, the same thing happened here. Everyone else started howling too. It was amazing.
Here is a little video that The Tim took of her howling, I hope it works here.
Next up, we met Cheyenne. She is particularly friendly, having been someone's pet. She was so excited to see us and the tour guide! Here's a video of her coming to see him. (Again, I hope it works.)
Then we met Spirit and Mika, who are both white wolves. Mika was extremely shy, but Spirit was ready for some attention and wanted to play! Spirit is a former pet, who one day escaped from her yard when everyone at her house was out and she got bored. She ended up at the playground of an elementary school, where the kids at recess loved playing with her, and she loved the attention! Only when they called to say a lost dog was there, did they find her, take her to animal control, and learn that she was a wolf mix! She was more than happy to get some attention, and clearly loves our tour guide, Denny.
The animals were all clearly quite content in their enclosures, and it was clear that the people working there were not only familiar with them, but that they love them all, and take excellent care of them.
This is a cow skull, which is the only part of a cow that they are not interested in eating completely. They use this to "play hunt," as they did with an opossum that [foolishly] wandered into an enclosure.
Happy wolves all around. This place is amazing and the people so clearly care about the animals and caring for them and rescuing them, it was a wonderful thing to see. I can't wait to go back - our guide told us that the nighttime tours include a bonfire, which would be really something to experience.
I would definitely recommend a visit to this place if you like wolves and are interested in animal rescue. There is even a B&B on the property where you can stay! But it's well worth the day trip too.
As we were coming home, we realized it's not that far from the Stoudt's Brewery, which has a tour of their facilities and a pub too. So you could make a day of it and probably get a yummy meal as well.
Which is surely on the agenda for a future trip ...
I hope you enjoyed these pictures and videos, and seeing the wolves. I have a ton more photos, but what I have shared here surely gives you the idea of the place. Let me know if you visit, I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Off to enjoy the rest of my snow day, courtesy of the most recent nor'easter. Have a good one!