UPDATED: Together, we're changing the lives of a group of wolf dogs for the better
An update on the wolves and wolf-dogs from their home at the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center (LARC):
UPDATE 3.30.12 - An update on the wolves and wolf-dogs from their home at the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center (LARC):
"The wolfdogs rescued from Palmer, Alaska in December 2011 have had a wonderful transition in our Center. The day they arrived it was snowing lightly helping in their adjustment and now three months later the recent snowstorm has them leaping with delight. Having overcome some foot sorenesss from the newfound freedom of walking up and down various terrains, the wolfdogs are digging snow dens and running through the snow drifts playing like puppies. It is so pleasing to see them finally touching each other after being kept chained sometimes only a few feet from outstretched nose to outstreched nose while in Alaska. Now they are settled into their own packs, mostly one male and one female (the ones who were chained closest to each other) and some three member packs with two males and a female (usually a senior and juvenile male with an alpha female). Most surprisingly, and impressive, is that these animals have been so forgiving of humans and have opened up their hearts to all of us here at LARC. It is so gratifying to get their wolf love, and when they roll over for belly rubs we know we have gained their trust and are part of their pack. We have so much to learn from their undying love for their families and we hope that as ambassadors some of these wolfdogs will help towards ending the practice of breeding wolf-dogs for their use as pets and ending the hunting of wolves in the wild forever." Dr. Lorin Lindner, LARC President and Co-founder.
UPDATE: 12.12.11 - The wolves and wolf dogs have made it to their new home around 2:30am this morning. The trip went well and they have been released into their new enclosures. They have been fed and watered are adapting well already!
Lockwood Animal Rescue Center is located on 20 acres in the Los Padres National Forest at an elevation of around 5,000 feet so there are no worries that they will have to acclimate to a different climate. As a matter of fact, the wolves arrived home amidst a new snowfall which probably helped them to feel right at home.
I have a correction concerning my last blog: Alaska Airlines did not donate their services for the move but worked cooperatively with Pacific Pet Transport to ensure the animals had a smooth ride home.
Stay tuned for photos of the animals in their brand new enclosures!
ORIGINAL POST: 12.10.11 - Snow is falling here in Alaska. The morning is quiet as we pull into Wolf Dog USA, a roadside exhibit about an hour outside of Anchorage. In the back of the building are 29 wolves and wolf dogs that must be rescued before January 1st or face euthanasia.
Nobody is barking as we approach; wolves don’t bark to alert or to get attention like dogs do. Instead they are circling around and around on their 8 foot chains watching us with that wolf-like intensity. If only we could somehow let them know they were on their way to a wonderful new home.
In Alaska, owning wolves and wolf dogs is not allowed without special permits, which the owner didn’t possess. Lockwood Animal Rescue Center (LARC) in California worked with the Alaska State Special Prosecutor to take possession of the animals living with inadequate veterinary care, food, water and socialization.
But before the rescue could take place, enclosures had to be built and finding the money to build these proved difficult. The International Fund for Animal Welfare stepped in and provided the funds to build 28 “super-sized” enclosures so the animals would have plenty of space to run and play.
And so here we are today.
It’s heartbreaking to see these beautiful animals separated from each other on short chains and no food or water in sight. There’s nothing for them to do all day but circle around the posts the chains are attached to.
Each wolf or wolf dog’s area looks like a lunar landscape with holes they’d dug from boredom. It is time to get to work. Special reinforced crates are unloaded, along with various equipment and drugs to tranquilize if necessary.
Wolves are shy by nature and will try to get away rather than aggressively come at you, although a couple of the males give us a few tense moments. The handlers are excellent and none of the animals have to be “darted” with a tranquilizer to get them into crates.
Finally all are loaded into the truck – on their way to the Alaska SPCA to be examined and sterilized. All the wolf dogs will be spayed or neutered by volunteer vets before they leave on a cargo plane tomorrow.
When they are finally in their new home at LARC they will be evaluated and slowly introduced to each other. It will be wonderful for them to have friends to play with and to do wolf-like normal behaviors and a large area to do that in.
I’m tired, hungry, wet and cold after this long day, but also very satisfied with the worthwhile work we accomplished. I love it when everyone comes together to make a rescue work and this is a great example of collaboration.
LARC staff, volunteers and vets traveled a couple thousand miles to rescue and then provide the animals with lifetime proper care. The International Fund for Animal Welfare provided them with large enclosures to live in. Alaskan SPCA donated their spay/neuter clinic and medical/surgical supplies and the vets worked well into the night to treat and sterilize these animals.
Alaska Airlines graciously provided the cargo plane, fuel and pilots free of charge to get these animals to Seattle where a LARC truck will meet them for their last leg home. And best of all, our donors want these gorgeous wolf dogs out of the terrible conditions they were forced to live in. They provide us with the means to do so. Thank you all so much. Together we can and do truly make change.